Nestle SHIELD Hackathon Creates Innovative Ideas in Skin Health


This semester we held one of our biggest hackathons yet! On Friday, October 6th, over 50 City College students competed in a hackathon hosted by Nestlé Skin Health SHIELD to create new innovations in skin health. Challenge topics included optimizing outcomes in skin health, quantifying skin wellness, creating medical devices for skin health, and skin health literacy. Although many hackathons require that students create an app or tech product, this hackathon was more open-ended. Students worked in multidisciplinary teams, and were inspired to create not only tech solutions and hardware devices, but educational marketing campaigns and nonprofit organizations as well.

Because of the nature of this exciting hackathon, it brought together students and faculty from different undergraduate and graduate departments from across City College – including the School of Medicine and the departments of Branding and Integrated Communications, Computer Science, Business and Economics, Electronic Design and Multimedia, and Translational Medicine – to collaboratively dream up solutions to some of the biggest challenges in skin health. Faculty members from these various disciplines joined students at the SHIELD headquarters to help them refine their ideas and pitch decks.

We were also fortunate to work with Nestlé SHIELD, a team of innovators eager to share their expertise with the next generation of leaders. Nestlé SHIELD’s staff and broader community came together to offer mentor hours throughout the day, and coach students on topics ranging from branding to coding and finance. For Lindsay Siegel, our Executive Director, the opportunity to collaborate with SHIELD’s Medical Director and Head of Medical Innovation, Dr. Warren Winkelman, himself a City College graduate, was a tremendous inspiration. We believe his dedication to his alma mater inspired some of the great ideas that came out of the hackathon, because the greatest gift is having someone believe in you.

The ideas presented at the Hackathon did not disappoint. Out of the 13 teams that presented, judges chose two second place winners–one, a sunblock that develops creative ways to tell you it’s time to reapply; and two, environmentally friendly packaging for medications to be sent to natural disaster victims. They won $1,000 collectively. The first place team, who will receive $3,000 and a chance to collaborate with SHIELD to advance and develop their concept, developed an app that allows consumers to better understand what’s in their skincare products.

All thirteen teams that competed in the hackathon will receive “fast-track” status in our upcoming Startup Competition, meaning that if they apply, their applications will go straight to the judging round. We’re excited to see if some of these teams pursue the competition so that we can keep you updated on their progress! For information about the application, visit