Senior industrial engineering major Benjamin Grossman was one of six MSOE students to attend the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) Conference this fall. The conference and gala was a three-day event held in Washington D.C., bringing together students from across the country to network, hear from influential speakers and share their experiences.

Another component of the conference was a hackathon. Teams were randomized to include students from different universities. With only 24 hours, teams worked quickly to get to know one another and solve the prompt.

“Our challenge for the hackathon was no small feat—we were tasked with devising a solution to achieve a net-zero carbon footprint by the year 2050,” said Grossman. “The beauty of this challenge lay in its openness; participants had the flexibility to craft a large-scale movement, a compact prototype or even an entirely new organization to address this monumental goal.”

Throughout the 24-hour period, teams collaborated around the clock to work towards their devised solution. Grossman and his three teammates, from Louisiana State University, Cornell University and the University of California-Davis, instantly clicked and found success as they worked together. Their final product was a functioning mobile application that analyzed emissions in U.S. cities, pinpointing local environmental challenges.

“As the third-place winner was announced, our team remained confident knowing we had produced a solid project. The exhilaration surged when our team's name was called as the second-place winner! The room erupted with applause and as we walked across the stage—holding our trophies and oversized checks—an overwhelming sense of accomplishment washed over us.”

The second-place finish may have been the highlight for Grossman, but the NACME Conference was an overall great experience for him as well as his fellow MSOE classmates.

“This conference not only offered a chance to compete but also served as a valuable resource hub for gaining insights into various industries and establishing connections that could potentially lead to internships or job opportunities.”