Two weeks ago, Emerging Digital Academy hosted its fourth annual Fargo Hackathon. This year, because of COVID-19, it was held virtually for the first time and had participants from around the U.S. 


In a special collaboration with Fargo Cass Public Health, the theme this year was how household income impacts health outcomes in Cass County. The goal with all the projects was to create technological solutions to address public health problems. 


“Fargo Cass Public Health was so appreciative to be a part of this great event and we’re thankful to the participants and teams that worked so hard to make such creative projects,” said Justin Bohrer, Public Health Analyst for FCPH. “The creativity and perspectives of the participants was evident in their projects. I hope the participants will use this year’s theme to continue to keep public health in mind as their careers go on and they build and create. I wish them the best of fortune in the future.”


Of the seven teams who were distributed across North Dakota, Minnesota, and even California, five different teams presented their projects on Sunday. These projects ranged from mapping of public health data to interactive games encouraging participation with public health resources.


Sebastian Silvernagel, a senior at Brookings High School in Brookings, South Dakota, won first place for his project creating an educational game revolving around healthy activities and health services and how it can positively impact the community. It was specifically targeted for a younger audience.


While the point of 24-hour Hackathons is to create a minimum viable product, Silvernagel had big dreams for his game if he had a little more time to work on the project. 


“With a bit more time, I would have added some more objectives and made the gameplay more engaging, like adding the ability to construct buildings like farmer’s markets and also multi language localization,” he said. 


Jaryd Krishnan, a senior software engineer at Harvest Profit, Inc., won second place with his project on mapping public health data. Luke Johnson, a graduate of Emerging Digital Academy, won third place for his project using U.S Census data and displaying that on a custom map. 


“Using the different information available, Public Health officials can look for trends to help them make more informed decisions,” Johnson said when asked how his project can help public health officials. 


Fourth place went to Anel Drocic for creating an app that was designed to solve the issue of mental health by allowing users to find and host covid-safe events. Fifth place went to Jake Schaffer, Kent Worthington, Ian Johnson and Levi Carlson for creating an interactive game. 


“This year was an interesting year and the event was strengthened with our partnership with Fargo Cass Public Health,” said Blaine Booher, Program Director for Emerging Digital Academy and host of the Hackathon. “The virtual platform was a bit different, but overall it enabled a wider group of participants to engage with the event.”


Emerging Digital Academy’s 2020 Hackathon was made possible with support from AT&T and 702 Communications


Learn more about Emerging Digital Academy at

Andrew Parsons

Andrew is the Digital Marketing Coordinator at Emerging Prairie. He has a heavy focus on social media, email marketing, and content creation.