Agnes Scott College Students Compete in Hack Holyoke

hackholyoke.jpgOn November 8, Agnes Scott College students made the trek to Mount Holyoke for the first-ever women’s college hack-a-thon. The 24-hour event joined students from several different colleges for a code-fest where student programmers teamed up to develop or improve software programs. From the moment the competition started, the teams were charged to develop prototypes, code them and make a pitch for their product. Two teams from Agnes Scott participated in the challenge

Team HackMatch which includes Agnes Scott students, Sasha Prakash ’23, Dawn Redd ’23 and two other students from different schools, developed a tinder-like app for students to be matched with other people looking to participate in hack-a-thons.  “HackMatch is the idea that I came up with when Dawn and I were having a conversation about how we could not find other team members for HackHolyoke. The Facebook group for the event was not effective in finding us a match and I said, ‘why isn’t there a tinder or something for hack-a-thons?’ After I said that, Dawn high-fived me and we knew that was going to be our project,” said Sasha Prakash of the HackMatch team.

Sierra Adams ’22 and Gabby Wilson ’22 in team TraumaBond developed an app to raise awareness on sex trafficking and abuse. “Inspiration for our product came from the current and ongoing issue of sex trafficking happening in Atlanta and other areas nearby. The same weekend I attended the hack-a-thon, I followed the story of Alexis Crawford, a student of Clark Atlanta University who was killed by her roommate and her roommate’s boyfriend, very closely. I wanted to find a solution or at least come close to one to lessen or prevent similar problems of Alexis Crawford’s,” said TraumaBond creator Sierra Adams.

Throughout the competition, both teams encountered challenges. After the first day of the challenge, team TraumaBond had difficulty coding while team HackMatch lost one of its team members unexpectedly in the middle of the night. Despite the difficulties facing them, both teams persevered to finish the challenge. By the end of the 24-hours, team HackMatch emerged as the victors winning the entire competition.

Although team TraumaBond didn't win, Adams was grateful for the experience, “I learned that no one product or innovation is better than the next. Comparing what we can do to another person or team can pose as a setback. We were all there for a reason and each of our products was innovated for a special cause that was close to our own individual hearts. I also learned that believing in what you can do (as far as skills) is really important. You do not have to be a master coder/ programmer who builds robots on a daily basis. You come as you are and with what you have and make the best of it, then reflect on your skills and decide which direction you want to take next.”  For team TraumaBond, next looks like completing the app and eventually introducing it as a safe zone for students and the community at large.

As for the winners of the first-ever women's college hack-a-thon, team HackMatch is very proud of their accomplishment.  “We went in knowing that we had something to prove about liberal arts students and women, proving that we can accomplish things in STEM,” said Prakash. The team hopes to make more history by being the first to organize a hack-a-thon on Agnes Scott’s campus.

Agnes Scott College educates women to think deeply, live honorably and engage the intellectual and social challenges of their times. Students are drawn to Agnes Scott by its excellent academic reputation, exceptional faculty and metropolitan Atlanta location—offering myriad social, cultural and experiential learning opportunities. This highly selective liberal arts college is known for its diverse and dynamic intellectual community. Through SUMMIT, it provides every student, regardless of major, with an individualized course of study and co-curricular experiences that develop leadership abilities and understanding of complex global dynamics.