The University of Maryland’s all-women hackathon, Technica, is set to take place this weekend. Huw Ball, UMD Student Government Association Director of Student Groups tells us more. 

When and where is it on?

November 4-5th, 2017 at the Reckord Armory, University of Maryland.

How many years has it been going?

This will be the third year.

What was the inspiration to start it?

In 2015, Technica was founded by Amritha Jayanti, a Computer Science student at the University of Maryland. By attending hackathons, she discovered that the classroom environment may not be the best place for someone to get a strong foothold in the world of computer science. There are certain limitations and inherent biases in the classroom that often make it hard for minority groups to take full advantage of the learning experience. Similarly, at hackathons, women are not widely represented – usually less than 20%. In an effort to minimize this learning gap, she created an experience to empower women by forming an all-women hackathon.

What exciting things can people look forward to for the 2017 version?

Participants can look forward to an array of workshops to teach them all the basics of coding. There will also be fun mini-events throughout Technica to keep participants lively, like our midnight waffle party. At the opening of the event participants will be shown a video from Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, that she made exclusively for Technica 2017.

What opportunities are on offer for those attending?

Aside from the great exposure to the tech world throughout the event, attendees will have the opportunity to network with sponsors like Amazon, JP Morgan, Bloomberg, Microsoft, Capital One, Facebook, Oculus, and more. Some companies will even be having on-site interviews.

Who will be speaking?

Pooja Sankar, founder & CEO of Piazza, will give the keynote address. She created Piazza to connect classmates and instructors in an efficient and intuitive manner, providing an online forum to discuss the sticky points of course assignments. Sankar’s own experiences as an undergraduate at the Indian Institute of Technology spurred the firm’s creation in 2009. She received her master’s degree in computer science from UMD in 2004.

Carey Anne Nadeau, founder and CEO of Open Data Nation, will address the participants during the closing ceremony. Open Data Nation is a social benefit company that transforms open data into reliable predictions that mitigate risks to public health and safety.

What tips would you give to people attending to get the most out of it?

Come with an open mind, ready to learn something new, utilize the availability of the corporate sponsors, and be ready to meet some new friends from across the country.

How can people book tickets / when does it usually sell out?

At participants can register. We will keep registration open until we hit our building capacity limit, but it’s looking like that won’t be an issue for us.

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