GrinTECH exhibition showcases student projects


Contributed by Nandika Jhunjhunwala

Michael Andrzejewski `23 presents his virtual reality project at the GrinTECH exhibition.

Jane Hoffman, Staff Writer

For the second year in a row, students wrapped around the perimeter of the Harris Center, sharing projects, ideas and portfolios with visitors during the annual GrinTECH exhibition.

GrinTECH, the only tech-centered student organization on Grinnell College’s campus, extended an open invitation to students to share a technology-aligned project, of any kind, in the exhibition held on Saturday, Oct. 29.

The event featured a wide range of projects where students showcased their talents in digital art, programming and presenting.

At Chloe Kelly’s `26 table, visitors could play “Stolen Reality: The Thieves’ Oasis,” a point-and-click video game based on a series of puzzles. Kelly began working on the project in January of 2022 and presented the first chapter of the game, replete with her own artwork, at the exhibition.

“Between the art and the puzzle building and the coding, I really can’t choose a favorite part of the process,” said Kelly.

Youssef Khalil `25 built a video game controller that contained a series of other consoles within it, allowing one to seamlessly switch between Nintendo, Atari, Gameboy and Sega Genesis systems while using just one controller. Khalil developed the project in the downtown Stew Makerspace, often working and experimenting with the tools in the space until closing time. “Sometimes it [the Makerspace monitor] gets angry at me and kicks me out,” said Khalil, laughing as he recalled how much time he had spent in the Makerspace during his time at Grinnell.

GrinTECH is open to all students regardless of major or previous experience with technology, according to Nandika Jhunjhunwala `24, one of the organization’s co-leaders. It also offers biweekly programming: organizing workshops, talks and crash courses in programming languages like Python.

Jemzy Alabi `24, the other co-leader of GrinTECH, stressed the organization’s interest in making tech accessible and applicable to students with various ranges of prior experience and interests. “Tech is not just for CS majors,” said Alabi.

“We don’t want people to be scared of technology or computer science, and we want everybody on campus to be comfortable with using the technical side of their skills,” said Jhunjhunwala, adding that familiarity with technology can inform research, daily work and exploration across every field of work.

At the culmination of the exhibition, three students received awards for their projects. Khalil and Kelly were both named as winners, alongside Mikey O’Connor `23, who designed a tap-and-point game using Unity code that visitors could play.