Hacking the Youth Divide

Hacking the Youth Divide

Interested in joining the hackathon movement or introducing young programming enthusiasts to the world of hackathons? Hear from five of the most active young hackathon organizers as they talk about their experiences working with youth, computer science, and non-profit organizations across the Northeast.

Sharon Lin - Stuyvesant High School (StuyHacks)


Arpita Abrol - Stuyvesant High School (StuyHacks)

Arpita is a senior at Stuyvesant High School, located in downtown Manhattan. She is a technology enthusiast, and enjoys both programming and volunteering in her community. She has sought to make a difference in her community by teaching others how to program and interact with technology. She has taught youth in her community how to program, and currently coaches three elementary school robotics team, and assists with three others. Arpita is also one of the head organizers of StuyHacks, a hackathon for middle school and high school students. She is also an Executive Council member on her high school robotics team, which has been internationally recognized for its success in both robotics and spreading STEM in their local and global community. In her spare time, Arpita can be found tinkering away at personal projects or curled up with a book.

Adam McNeilly - Oakland University (GrizzHacks)

Adam is a mobile applications developer for HelloWorld in Southfield, Michigan. He graduated from Oakland University where he organized GrizzHacks, OU’s first ever hackathon. Inspiration for GrizzHacks came after Adam and two of his close friends attended their first hackathon, SpartaHack, at Michigan State University. Ever since that first exposure to the hackathon community, Adam has continued to be a part of the community as a hacker, mentor, and also serves as a student ambassador for Namecheap.

Vincent Occhiogrosso - General Douglas MacArthur High School (Back to School Code-a-thon)

Vincent is a rising senior at General Douglas MacArthur High School on Long Island, not far from New York City. He has a strong passion for technology and has been working tirelessly to learn new concepts and expand his knowledge. Vincent had his start working in the tech industry as an intern for a non-for-profit called We Connect The Dots, since late 2014. Through his efforts he has had several extraordinary opportunities such as attending the ceremonial opening of the Nasdaq Stock Market with Microsoft as well as attending the opening of Microsoft’s flagship store in New York City with VIP access. In his spare time, Vincent travels to hackathons to build and develop products and services to make a positive impact on the community. His goal is to build and develop his own software and he hopes to encourage other youth to follow their passion(s).

Claire Sun - Brandeis University (Printathon)

Claire is currently a junior at Brandeis University double majoring in Neuroscience and Computer Science. Starting later than most, Claire became interested in software development and technology after being exposed to emerging tech at her university makerspace. She then went on to become part of the executive board for the 3D Printing Club, planned two university hack events, and winning Best in Show alongside her peers at the World’s Maker Faire in 2015. She enjoys programming for the feeling of endless possibility and satisfaction. She is a large STEAM advocate for youth and women and believes that presenting technology in an interesting and fun light leads people to become curious and want to learn for themselves.

Alisha Ukani - Harvard University (HackHarvard)

Alisha Ukani is a freshman at Harvard University pursuing a joint concentration in Computer Science and Government. In high school she co-organized CodeDay Boston, a 24-hour hackathon for high school students. There, she mentored students, led introductory coding workshops, and found the event\'s first sponsors. Now, she\'s an Executive Board Member and Organizer of HackHarvard, a collegiate hackathon that will be held in late October. She has received her Girl Scout Gold Award for organizing CodHer Camp, a two-day event where she taught web development to women from ages 13 to 70, increasing coding familiarity from 40% to 100%. She is also a two-time NCWIT Aspirations in Computing MA Winner and National Runner-Up, a 2015 ESA LOFT Video Game Innovation Fellow, and Bausch + Lomb Honorary Science Award Recipient. When she\'s not coding, she can be found writing articles for the Harvard Political Review, representing her class as a Women in Computer Science Freshman Representative, and making open-data policy recommendations through the Harvard Institute of Politics. She is active in the civic technology movement as a member of Code for Boston, and plans to work as a software engineer in the government to help make services more accessible.

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