This past weekend saw our Fall 2017 hackathon, hackNY’s 16th hackathon, return to Columbia University. For 24 hours from Saturday into Sunday, over 240 hackers from nearly 50 different colleges built apps to help you fight procrastination, hacked hardware to help save energy, made memes more accessible, and questioned the correct pronunciation of “gif” (it’s definitely with a hard G). Over 40 enthusiastic teams presented their 90 second demos to the judges and audiences and showed just how creative, determined and innovative they could be.
We started the weekend off with technology presentations from NYC companies Clarifai, Giphy, ProPublica, NYTimes, Foursquare, Buzzfeed, Twilio during opening ceremonies. Once hackers got started, we invited them to workshops such as Jessica Garson’s “APIs 101”, Anthony Johnson’s “Deep Learning Based Search Engine”, and Natarajan Krishnaswami’s “Tour of US Census Data”.
During a super successful Ladies Storm Hackathons Meetup, our very own Hanne Paine (h’14) helped our women hackers savor their accomplishments with brownies and an “I can” poster they all contributed to!
Our fall 2017 student hackathon is a week away and we’re excited to announce the judges who will be evaluating this fall’s hacks! Check out our Devpost for more information on the hackathon!
Becky Case VP of Engineering @ Birchbox
About hackNY: “HackNY will always have a special place in my heart for the work they do – not only in creating an amazing program for interns, but also in their support for female engineers. Plus my favorite interns from the past five years have come from HackNY!”
Becky is the VP of Engineering, overseeing global technology, at Birchbox, a leading beauty and grooming retailer best known for its monthly subscription of personalized samples. She is a musician-turned-computer-scientist who specializes in architecting large-scale systems in the e-commerce space. Prior to joining Birchbox in January 2012, she worked at a variety of early-stage startups, including OpenSky, as well as the multi-million-dollar-per-day Zappos.com (and has a shoe collection that proves it!).
Courteney Ervin Software Developer @ the NYPL
About hackNY: “I love seeing what people create when they care passionately about the problems they’re solving.”
Courteney Ervin works in the space where open source meets social good. She’s a developer at the New York Public Library, where she supports accessible literacy in the city and beyond.
Deborah Estrin Professor of Computer Science @ Cornell Tech
Deborah Estrin is a Professor of Computer Science at Cornell Tech in New York City. She is founder of the Health Tech Hub in the Jacobs Institute and directs the Small Data Lab at Cornell Tech. She holds The Robert V. Tishman Founder’s Chair and has recently taken on a leadership role as Associate Dean. Her current research focus is on mobile health and small data, leveraging the pervasiveness of mobile devices and digital interactions for health and life management (TEDMED). Estrin co-founded the non-profit startup, Open mHealth and sits on several scientific advisory boards for early stage mobile health startups.
Previously, Estrin was on the UCLA faculty where she was the Founding Director of the NSF Center for Embedded Networked Sensing (CENS), pioneering the development of mobile and wireless systems to collect and analyze real time data about the physical world. Her honors include: ACM Athena Lecture (2006), Anita Borg Institute’s Women of Vision Award for Innovation (2007), The American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2007), The National Academy of Engineering (2009), The IEEE Internet Award (2017).
Jacqueline Garavente Investment Team @ Union Square Ventures
About hackNY: “Hackathons serve as a reminder that many of the great projects in this sector are conceived without millions of dollars and hundreds of people. I’m looking forward to seeing what your brilliant ideas and coding skills will bring!”
Jacqueline Garavente joined Union Square Ventures in August 2016. She began her career in Artificial Intelligence at IBM Watson before moving to the NYC based startup, Dataminr. Her past areas of research include machine learning, application of open source data and the intersection of technology and economic development . She has been happily based in NYC with brief stints in Africa and LatAm. She graduated from New York University in 2013.
Shani Offen Machine Learning Chapter Lead @ Spotify
About hackNY: “What struck me about my first hackathon was that it created a very intense community in a very short amount of time. It was fun and inspiring and I don’t use those two words together in many contexts. It changed me in some way. It made me feel hopeful and excited about tech, and that feeling has helped me face the many things that are seriously messed up about the tech world, especially as a woman. I also loved the experience of getting so much done so quickly. It gave me a very gut-level understanding of what constitutes an mvp (minimum viable product), and how to build and iterate quickly, which has served me well ever since.”
Shani got her PhD in neuroscience from NYU in 2008, with a focus on computational vision. She has recently joined Spotify, where she leads a machine learning team in the quest to design a new era of awesome interactive audio ads. Before that, she served as director of data science at the online publisher About.com, where her team looked at data generated by O(10^9) sessions by O(10^8) visitors to O(10^6) articles on O(10^3) topics from O(10^2) countries over O(10^1) years. Her favorite algorithm is division, she is amused by superstitious pigeons, and she recommends fiction as a good way to expand your priors.
Stephanie Yang Staff Data Scientist @ Foursquare
Stephanie is a mathematician and software developer with a passion for big data. She works on core location intelligence at Foursquare which connects mobile user experiences to the places people go. She joined Foursquare in 2014 after four years of quantitative finance where she wrote automated algorithms that traded futures contracts.
Before moving to New York, Stephanie earned her Ph.D in mathematics at Harvard and was a NSF Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Michigan. She worked for several years at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and she taught several classes in both English and Swedish.
Stephanie spends her free time as a technical scuba diver and telemark skier.
Thank you again to all our wonderful judges. We’re excited to see you all next weekend!
The Speaker Series is a core tenet of the hackNY fellowship, and it wouldn’t be possible without the individuals listed below. We’d like to take a minute to thank all of the leaders in the NYC tech community who spoke to the 2017 hackNY Fellows this past summer.
This past weekend, hackNY held its 15th hackathon! During our Spring 2017 hackathon, we welcomed 275 hackers at the NYU Courant Institute. They built apps that help you check your workout pose – before you wreck your pose, crowdsourced a solution to the dearth of feminine hygiene products in homeless shelters, created extensions to help detect email phishing scams, and much more!
After mentors from MongoDB, Twilio, Clarifai, JW Player, and the NY Times demoed their APIs during opening ceremonies, Sam Agnew lead a workshop on getting started with APIs and web development in Python, which was followed by Lesley Cordero’s Intro to Geospatial Analysis. To unwind, hackers could join the MLH Werewolf game, and women could attend the traditional Ladies Storm Hackathons meetup to enjoy cupcakes and some Quiplash.
We had the pleasure of welcoming photographer Doug Menuez over the weekend. Doug was onsite the whole weekend documenting hackers for an upcoming project. See more photos from the weekend and follow him on Instagram for more of his work!
With our spring 2017 student hackathon only a week away, we’re excited to announce the judges who will dole out prizes to the best hacks! Check out the full list of prizes on Devpost!
Anne Bauer Senior Data Scientist at The New York Times
About hackNY: “I am excited to see what problems the HackNY hackers will attack, and how they will create new solutions!”
Anne is a senior data scientist at the New York Times, where she builds models and data products to interpret and act on the company’s data with a variety of groups including marketing, print circulation, and the newsroom.
Before becoming a data scientist she was an astrophysics and cosmology postdoc in Barcelona and Munich, and received her Ph.D. in physics from Yale. She enjoys building systems to turn intractable amounts of data into usable insights.
Jenn Schiffer Community Glitch Engineer at Fog Creek
About hackNY: “I’m always excited about tech communities that recognize a need in the overall industry and turn their focus to it–in the case of HackNY that’s civic tech. It’s time for technologists to help others more and be celebrated for it, and I look forward to witnessing that first-hand.”
Jenn works on Fog Creeks latest product, Glitch, an in-browser IDE with a focus on inclusive community, ethical tech, and creativity. Along with making art and jokes and apps, she runs the meetup JerseyScript in Jersey City and co-emcees/organizes Brooklyn JS. She has never swum across an entire river but she could probably do it easily.
Robyn Burgess Conversion Director at BounceX Founder & Editor-in-Chief at Runaway Apricot
About hackNY: “I love how resourceful hackathons force participants to become. The skills to overcome the time crunch and manage clashing personalities on a team are as invaluable to life in business as the creative problem solving inherent in hackathon challenges.”
As a Conversion Director at Bounce Exchange, Robyn turns website visitors into customers for a portfolio of clients by tailoring websites to user behavior. Previously Robyn was a Client Relationship Manager at Experian Marketing Services, where she developed strategic cross-channel marketing solutions across the entire spectrum of the customer life cycle.
Robyn’s growing expertise in all facets of digital marketing is joined with a lifelong passion to explore the question: Why do we eat the way we do? As an Anthropology major at Columbia University, Robyn founded Runaway Apricot, a food blog committed to teaching people the skills to be better cooks and the resources to be more enlightened consumers. Her essays and recipes for local, seasonal and healthy cooking from scratch now reach over a million readers per year.
Runa Sandvik Director of Information Security, Newsroom at the New York Times
About hackNY: “Hackathons are a great place to experiment, be creative, learn new things, and meet people who are passionate about what they do.”
Runa is a privacy and security researcher, working at the intersection of technology, law and policy. When she is not hacking rifles or writing articles for Forbes, she teaches digital security to journalists and helps media organizations improve their security posture.
About hackNY: “I love that hackathons are all about the ethos of creativity and creation with code; can’t wait to see what people build!”
Tracy is co-founder and CTO of Elucd, a new startup that measures and quantifies community sentiment to enable data-driven management of public sector institutions. She is also a co-founder of the Arena Summit and Project Include.
Previously, Tracy has been a tech lead and software engineer at Pinterest, Quora, and the U.S. Digital Service. Tracy is most well-known for her work pushing for diversity in tech; she was named to the Forbes Tech 30 under 30 list in 2014 and has been profiled in Vogue, WIRED, The Atlantic, and other outlets for her advocacy. She holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and M.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University.
Thank you again to all our wonderful judges. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone (and their hacks!) next weekend!