FRANKFORT — Four students from the Kentucky State University (KSU) computer science program recently earned first-place overall at the IBM HBCU Watson Hackathon in Atlanta.

“This is exceptional news,” KSU President M. Christopher Brown II said. “I am so proud and pleased. I have a strong respect for the importance of hackathon competitions.”

Gigi Barnett, Cory May, Brandon Rogers and Derek Roberts are the members of the KSU team, one of 25 from around the country, who participated in the annual competition.

According to Dr. Frank A. Richardson, assistant professor of computer science at KSU, this was the first time Kentucky State sent a team to compete.

“The teams were presented with a programming challenge and were given 30 hours to complete a solution,” Richardson said. “Solutions were evaluated on elegance, practicality and value.”


Kentucky State University, building on its legacy of achievement as a historically black, liberal arts, and 1890 Land Grant University affords access to and prepares a diverse population of traditional and non-traditional students through high-quality undergraduate and select graduate programs. Located in Kentucky, KSU offers associate (two-year) degrees in two disciplines, baccalaureate (four-year) degrees in 24 disciplines, master’s degrees in eight disciplines, and one advanced practice doctorate in nursing. KSU has 129 full-time instructional faculty members and more than 2,000 students.