On January 12-14, over 875 students participated in Hack Arizona at the Science-Engineering Library. This free, annual event brings students together to build software and hardware projects in 36 hours. Hack Arizona, the largest student-run hackathon in the Southwest, is open to all majors and levels of programming experience and is on track to become one of the top five largest hackathons in the country.
Quanisha Lindsey from Hack Arizona explained that the event lets students experience creative problem solving outside the classroom. They also gain experience working as a team and develop hard technical skills. They also benefit from attending workshops and talking to the tech companies that sponsor the event.
More than 100 prototypes and inventions were submitted to categories such as Best Beginners Hack, Sustainability, Social Impact, and AR/VR. One of the teams designed an Intelligent Bulletproof Vest, which provides police officers with real-time updates on office locations and whether they are in danger.
Another team programmed a Virtual Hiring Assistant, an Amazon Alexa skill that allows students to upload their résumé into a portal. Alexa can then “interview” the student by asking questions based on the student’s interests and experience.
Lindsey said: “In the end, attending the event can only benefit you. [You] will grow as a programmer, engineer, designer, entrepreneur, or as an overall person. It’s a perfect first step to getting involved in the tech field and building something that you are proud of.”