Despite a significant snowstorm, organizers of an ATLAS student-run hackathon, T9Hacks, once again reached their goals of increasing participants and attracting a majority of women to the creative coding marathon.
Led by ATLAS doctoral student Brittany Kos, this year's T9Hacks drew more than 130 participants, 70 percent of them female and non-binary, with 65 percent of the participants first-time hackers. In 2017, 110 people attended, with 60 percent of participants women/nonbinary.
The 24-hour event, which began Feb. 10, is geared toward college students and recent college grads, especially women, non-binary and transgender students—the “T9” stands for “Title IX,” a U.S. amendment that prohibits gender-based discrimination in educational settings. In general, Hackathons—marathon creative coding and making events—are mostly attended by men, with female-to-male ratios often as low as 1 to 15.
For some, T9Hacks was an opportunity to attend their first hackathon, for others, it was a chance to venture out and try new technology for the first time. Teams of participants completed projects in three areas; cybersecurity, creative tech and tech for social impact. Workshops were available for beginners and mentors were available throughout to consult and support participants.
Working in teams, participants programmed and built creative software projects ranging from Happy Ivy, an app that encourages people with bipolar disorder to finish their tasks, to PeekPeak, an app that helps users save money by reducing utility usage during peak periods.
This year's winners and project descriptions can be found on Devpost, with special recognition from T9Hack's organizers for these projects: Autonoponics, by Tatiana Blanco and Vi Nguyen, an autonomous aquaponics system which allows users to grow food with a minimum amount of effort and cost; Boulder Crime Explorer, by Carl Cortright and Shubha Swamy, a data visualization tool that maps crime locations within Boulder; and EFI Emergency WIFI, by Cassandra Goodby and Ryan Craig, an emergency WIFI system that can be set up quickly and easily.
In addition to lead sponsorship from ATLAS, the event received major support from Workday, Zayo Group, Google, SketchUp and MD5. Circadence, Major League Hacking, CU Boulder's College of Engineering and Applied Science, TechChange and the National Center for Women & Information Technology also provided sponsorship.
For those who missed T9Hacks and those attendees who didn't get enough, don't despair; T9Hacks happens again next fall. Those interested in joining the planning team should visit the T9Hacks website.