We didn’t want the week to end without acknowledging the cool work that OSU Cascades CS Instructor Yong Bakos and his band of creative-thinking CS students did last weekend. Yong organized a hackathon Saturday aimed at finding a way to help the nonprofit Guardian Group more efficiently fight online sex trafficking.

If you’re not familiar with the Guardian Group, take some time to learn about their work. The Bend-based organization is “made up of former special operations military, law enforcement and intelligence community professionals, all working to end sex trafficking in the United States.”

The Bulletin covered the event, noting that:

The Guardian Group searches the websites looking for ads and information. Team members then manually use publicly available search engines and programs online to connect information on the victims and send reports to law enforcement. On Saturday, the students worked to make the process less time consuming by compiling all the different search engines and programs into one location.

Yong told StartupBend that for the Guardian Group, “this daily triaging of new information can be labor-intensive, and I noticed some straightforward opportunities to save the Guardian Group analysts some time.”

The hackathon participants built and released a Google Chrome extension designed to automate a small, but cumbersome and time-consuming step in the workflow of Guardian Group analysts. Yong says that the nonprofit is already using the extension, and that his students have even more ideas for facilitating that workflow.

OSU CS students volunteering their skills to help fight human trafficking.

The event was sponsored by Shape Integrated Software and TEKSystems, which provided food for the students. And beer was donated by Yong’s mother-in-law. Because that’s what community looks like people!

Yong called the hackathon a dry run for future hackathons here in Central Oregon. “We’re already looking forward to working with TAO to hold an official Hack-for-a-Cause event as early as April 2018,” he says.

Kelly Kearsley

Kelly Kearsley

Kelly Kearsley, the co-founder of StartupBend.com, is passionate about startups, entrepreneurship and Bend. In addition to writing this blog, she creates content and manages content projects for global financial companies, tech firms and startups. She began her career as a newspaper journalist and later worked as a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in WSJ.com, Money Magazine, CNNMoney, MSNBC and Runner's World. See her work at kellykearsley.contently.com or kellykearsley.com.

You can reach Kelly by email at [email protected].
Kelly Kearsley