As spring quickly draws to a close, we’re excited to look back on a successful Hackathon season at Code Nation! This year was especially important for us because it was the first time since 2019 that all three of Code Nation’s regions – the Bay Area, New York, and Chicago – held IRL events, bringing together our communities of students, supporters, and volunteers.
But Hackathons do much more than bring our communities together. Hackathons give Code Nation students an opportunity to flex their skills, collaborate with their peers, and experience a day not unlike a sprint held in a tech office to solve a real-world problem. Together, students learn to communicate, iterate quickly, and even develop presentation skills as they show off their final projects to a panel of judges.
This year’s Hackathons were all centered around the same theme: Code Your Passion. This means that all of the final projects adhered to it, but it also gave students plenty of room to explore what they are passionate about and how they can use technology to share it with others. Volunteers worked closely alongside groups of students to help execute visions and guide students through making difficult decisions. In Chicago, the winning projects focused on climate change and combatting e-waste. In New York, students passionate about equitable housing developed a website full of resources to find affordable housing in the city. And in the Bay Area, one group of students won their competition with a website focused on adopting dogs in their community – Save A Dog! This is just a sample of the projects, but they represent the skills, talents, and most importantly – passions – of Code Nation students across the country.
Hackathons would not be possible without the incredible dedication of our staff, coordinating everything from the run of the show, to recruiting judges, to making sure students have plenty of snacks! Hackathons are generously supported by sponsors. This year, Code Nation Hackathons had a total of 18 sponsors across all three regions! Thank you to:
These companies are demonstrating their commitment to creating a more equitable tech industry by supporting Code Nation financially, recruiting their employees to join as technical and support volunteers, and spreading the word!
Ahmed Ali Bob, Head of Social Impact at Block told us that they “are proud to partner with an organization like Code Nation and share [our] passion for ensuring everyone has equitable access to coding education in our community.”
“Google is proud to partner with Code Nation year-round to provide more students with the opportunity to learn computer science—and ultimately, to access careers in tech,” said Jessica Holberg, Google Chicago’s Tech Education Outreach Lead. Steven Shaw, Community Engagement Director at Verizon, said. “Not only do students demonstrate the technical skills they learn throughout the year, they work in teams to design a solution and present it before an audience including a panel of judges; this is excellent workforce training.”
EY is excited to continue to partner with Code Nation. “We are excited to continue our work together to make the tech industry more equitable and accessible to all of Chicago’s young people, which is aligned to EY’s Bridging the Digital Divide mission,” Tim Liston, EY Corporate Responsibility Leader, said. Nisaini Rexach, Community Engagement Lead at Microsoft shared that they are “delighted to call Code Nation a grantee at Microsoft. Their commitment to create opportunities for students who are typically excluded from the digital economy is palpable.”
There’s also no way our Hackathons would be successful (or fun) without our volunteers! Thank you to everyone who took the time to spend the day with us and our students. Your mentorship and commitment to our mission is invaluable!
With more of our programs and events being held in person again, we’re already gearing up for Hackathons next year and brainstorming how we can make them even better. We’ll see you then!