ATLAS students will host the fourth annual T9Hacks the weekend of Feb. 9–10, promoting interest in creative technologies, coding, design and making among college women and non-binary individuals, who often make up less than 25 percent of participants at mainstream hackathons. Student organizers emphasize that no coding or other technical skills are required to participate in the 24-hour invention marathon.
Cassandra Goodby, a TAM alumna and ATLAS graduate student, takes over the reins this year from ATLAS PhD student Brittany Kos, who established the event in 2016 and has organized it for the last three years. “T9” is a reference to “Title IX,” an amendment to the Civil Rights Act prohibiting gender-based discrimination in education.
In the interview that follows, Goodby discusses her involvement in the event.
ATLAS: What was your first experience like with T9Hacks?
CG: As a transfer undergraduate student to ATLAS in spring 2016, T9Hacks was one of the first events I attended at ATLAS, and it was my very first hackathon. I went in with limited coding experience and came away having created a website with my group. These days I often write code and I love it. T9Hacks helped me realize that it’s just language. We all use language!
ATLAS: You're a busy graduate student. Why did you decide to organize the 2019 T9Hacks?
CG: T9Hacks combines my love of hackathons, ATLAS and underrepresented groups in STEM. Creating a safe and inclusive space for underrepresented individuals is important, and the excitement when groups create amazing projects in such a short amount of time is inspiring. I am excited to expand on the work that Brittany began.
ATLAS: What's new this year?
CG: We’ll start off by offering nine workshops, including Intro to Android Development, iOS Development and User Interface Rapid Prototyping, as well as Intro to Web. These will give newcomers to coding a good foundation and the tools they need to make their ideas reality.
ATLAS: What are your hopes for this year?
CG: Last year's event was T9Hacks' largest yet, with 135 hackers and more than 70 percent women and non-binary. Nearly 65 percent were first-time hackers. We hope to continue and even exceed these numbers.
For more information, including a detailed schedule, visit the T9Hacks website.