Students, faculty, and alumni are invited to attend George Mason University’s first-ever hackathon – PatriotHacks this fall.
The event will be a programming marathon for aspiring developers to choose, design, and implement a unique software or hardware application. Specific themes and challenges will be presented to competitors. While doing their projects, participants will have snacks, network, attend workshops, and win awards.
PatriotHacks is the vision of information systems and operations management student Jonathon Vega and computer engineering student Afnan Ali who wanted to organize Mason’s first-ever hackathon.
When Vega and Ali pitched their idea to Vice President of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Sean Mallon and Mason Engineering’s Executive Director of STEM Outreach Kammy Sanghera, the engineering students described a first-of-its-kind hackathon open to students of all disciplines from colleges and universities in Northern Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., as well as Northern Virginia Community College.
The students hope the hackathon will present an opportunity to make new friends and learn from each other.
“The best ideas often come from people who think differently from each other and who have a different perspective to share,” Mallon says. “We hope PatriotHacks can bring people from around Mason and the D.C.-metro area together.
Dean of the Volgenau School of Engineering Ken Ball was impressed with the inter-disciplinary nature of the hackathon. “Our engineering students often work in teams with each other for their courses and in their student organizations. They have developed apps that detect fender-benders and built bridges on the Appalachian Trail. PatriotHacks will give them a chance to collaborate with their peers at Mason and beyond.”
The hackathon isn’t until October, but the organizers are already busy. Vega and Ali spend their free time recruiting students outside the Johnson Center, sharing their prior experience with hackathons.
The organizers expect 250 participants this first year and are also looking for faculty members to offer workshops in hardware design, mobile app development, data science, and website development and design.
PatriotHacks is free to participants. The organizers are reaching out to several industry partners. Accenture has already committed its support.
Visit PatriotHacks.org to register and learn more.
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