Femmehacks


Last Saturday, Clara, Aditya, and I mentored at Femmehacks, an all-women hackathon held on UPenn’s campus. We were super excited because Picwell was the leading sponsor for the event and we came bearing swag. I wish I had a picture of said swag, but all of it has been given away!

Here is, instead, a picture of us in the awesome Femmehacks photo booth:

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Ok, let’s go through the day. In the wee hours of the morning (8:30 AM) the opening ceremony of Femmehacks commenced. Ani was there too! He gave a pump up speech about how thrilled Picwell was to be there.

Afterwards, Clara gave an excellent and super relevant tech talk on how to scale down a hackathon project. The talk was called “Unblocking Your Hackathon.” We have probably all experienced runaway scope: in a 12 hour hackathon, tight scoping is all the more important. To illustrate a doable project in the alloted time frame, we built a Chrome extension which highlights names on a webpage based on gender, making extensive use of existing work, in true hackathon style. Naturally, our live demo didn’t work because this is the law of live demos. Here is a screenshot of the extension in action:

Aditya and I were watching Modern Family while writing the Chrome extension, so we did all testing on the Julie Bowen Wiki page. Thanks, Julie.

After the talk, we retreated to the Picwell booth and all of the students got started hacking!

The rest of the day mostly consisted of us sitting and eating, with dabblings of mentoring. Being a mentor at a hackathon is much more relaxing than being a participant. The food was amazing. I really commend the organizers on this. There were donuts from Federal Donuts, sandwiches from Cosi, popsicles from Lil Pop Shop Snack, hummus from Hummus, and macaroons from Sugar Philly at the end of the night to top it all off.

During lunch time, Clara was on the Women in Tech panel:

We had some interesting conversations with students and the other mentors throughout the day and before we knew it, it was time for judging!

We had our own prize sponsored by Picwell for the best health and/or owl-related hack. It was a $200 Amazon gift card. There were 15 teams who submitted projects for judging and each of them gave presentations. The winning team in our category made a funny webpage with owl poems, haikus, and pictures. Here is them presenting their project:

All in all, it was a great day and hopefully, we will go back next year!