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Engineering student takes top prize in Microsoft challenge

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Mechanical engineering senior Mike Danoski was named co-winner of Microsoft’s Imagine Cup software design competition in the initial local round held Feb. 7.

With teammate Ryan Heskamp, a junior at Loyola-Chicago, Danoski created a project called “/help” (“slash help”) designed to “revolutionize the way people volunteer in their community and around the world through today’s technology,” he said.

The two, who competed against teams from several local universities, were mentored by Praveen Gupta, a lecturer in mechanical and industrial engineering.

They added a team member from Northern Illinois University as they prepare for round two of the local competition March 14.

Winners go to the national finals April 8-11 in Redmond, Wash. The world finals take place July 8-13 in New York.

Danoski said his win came as a surprise.

“There was a lot of good competition,” he said. “It was exciting to pitch our idea to Microsoft employees and other industry people and get valuable feedback.”

Danoski plans to graduate this term. While his career focus is aerospace, he’s also considering renewable energy.

Microsoft’s first Imagine Cup competition was first held in 2003 with 1,000 students from 25 countries competing. Last year’s competition attracted some 325,000 students from more than 100 countries.


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