Students from Barnard, Mount Holyoke, Smith, Wellesley, and Vassar Colleges returned to Bryn Mawr last month for the second-ever SisterHacks Hackathon, the only hackathon organized by and for students from each of the Seven Sisters Colleges. This year’s weekend-long extravaganza of alumni panels, tech workshops, and programming challenges more than quadrupled last year's attendance, attracting students from each of the Seven Sisters, alumni from JP Morgan, Vanguard, Comcast, and Estee Lauder, and prizes sponsored by Facebook and Google.
More than half of the students who attended had never been to a hackathon before. Newcomers and old-timers alike were able to attend a number of workshops on project design, GitHub, web development, data science, and 3D printing, and could also compete in teams to complete major programming projects over the course of the weekend. Some of the winning projects included an online job hub for Seven Sisters students and alums, a digital privacy tool for web browsers, and a digital version of a vintage board game.
Jocelyn Dunkley '20 and Kellie Dinh '19, co-founders and organizers of SisterHacks, were excited to see so much new talent at this year’s event, which they have been planning since last August.
“A lot of hackathons, if you want to get the most out of it, it seems like you have to be coding since you were 3,” Jocelyn said. “We wanted to make SisterHacks good for advanced programmers and total beginners, and we achieved that this year. Most of our participants were beginners who had never been to a hackathon before or done much coding in general. I think that’s because our events foster a supportive environment where it's okay to learn new stuff and make mistakes.”
“We wanted to have it open to anyone,” Kellie added. “Because Hackathons shouldn't be open to only CS majors.”
“We wanted to create an environment where you can learn what you don't know, and share what you do,” Jocelyn agreed. “Every year we want people to come out of SisterHacks with new skills that they can apply to anything.”
Jocelyn and Kellie will continue to plan the annual hackathon, with the next SisterHacks scheduled for Spring 2020. You can keep up with the SisterHacks team at their monthly brunches, on Twitter @sisterhacks, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.