International Women’s Hackathon 2014

April 25–27, 2014 | Worldwide on university campuses and live at the USA Science & Engineering Festival, Washington DC

International Women's HackathonThe International Women’s Hackathon is a crowdsourcing event to empower young women leaders in computer science. By providing a fun and safe environment in which to explore computing, the hackathon encourages and supports university women around the world to become producers of future innovations in technology and help solve challenges in the world today. After much success last year and many requests to hold the event again this year, we are pleased to announce that the next event is planned for the weekend of April 25 to 27, 2014, on university campuses all over the world. We will connect via Skype from our live event at the USA Science & Engineering Festival with all worldwide sites during the hackathon.

We want to ensure that the 2014 hackathon meets the needs of university women. To that end, we enlisted the help of a group of NCWIT (National Center for Women & Information Technology ) Aspiration in Computing Winners to help us organize the upcoming hackathon and challenges, and re-examine the rules and regulations and the toolkit. Thank you to the leads and planning committee members:

Leads:

  • Halie Murray-Davis, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
  • Jinisha Patel, New Jersey Institute of Technology
  • Safia Abdalla, Northside College Preparatory High School

Team members:

  • Ashika Ganesh, West Windsor Plainsboro High School North
  • Aishwarya Borkar, San Jose State University
  • Diem-Nhi Tran, University of Texas at Dallas
  • Heather Huynh, University of Georgia
  • Kylie Moden, Trinity University
  • Nishtha Oberai, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Veronica Wharton, Rochester Institute of Technology

We are excited that the following nonprofit organizations are sponsoring this year’s challenges: UN Women, Hindsight Group, Boys & Girls Clubs of Calgary, and Teens Against Distracted Driving. This year, there will be a challenge focused on increasing more women in STEM fields and a challenge to stop people from texting while driving.

The event is supported by Microsoft Research, National Center for Women & Information Technology, Association for Computing Machinery Committee on Women, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Women in Engineering, UN Women, Hindsight Group, Boys and Girls Club of Calgary, Teens Against Distracted Driving, Million Women Mentors, Microsoft Bing for Schools, Microsoft Learning Experience, Microsoft Citizenship-Youth Spark, and Microsoft Skype.

Women's Hackathon planning

Young women in computer science, electrical engineering, and informatics—as well as women student groups on universities campuses around the world—are encouraged to host local hackathons. Last year, we had 14 events in 7 countries with more than 600 young women hacking computing solutions to help human trafficking victims. Many of them contacted local hacker spaces, computing communities, developers, and women organizations for support of their local event. The event was open to women of all skill levels—from those who haven’t programmed at all to the best women programmers out there. The individual worldwide hackathons helped inspire women to learn, invent, and create the future.

To help hosts plan their hackathon, we assembled the International Women's Hackathon Kit, which provides useful information for event hosts like checklists, suggested schedule, sample menu, activities, the challenge projects, and judging guidelines. It also includes a customizable poster and email message that organizers can use to promote individual events to local university women. Event organizers may also choose to invite high school women.

We learned from last year that many young women want to start early, so we have included training materials and will give local hackathon organizers the option to have teams formed starting as soon as this month. Teams can plan, storyboard, and determine what they want to do and how they will go about building their solution. The only caveat is that no programming is allowed until the day of the event. Teams will judge winners locally and the winner of each challenge will have their application and pitch video published on the Microsoft Research website and the US Science and Engineering Festival website. We will provide a small gift for every participant. The winning teams receive Skype gift cards.

We look forward to the possibility of hundreds of events around the world as the future women innovators help us solve some big challenges! If you have any questions, feel free to contact Microsoft Research diversity.