Announcing the Class of 2015 hackNY Fellows!

Meet the Class of 2015: This Fellowship of 34 students comes from 24 universities, spread over 4 countries and 3 continents! Our Fellows are interning at 22 New York City startups this summer and learning everything they can about New York’s tech scene. They are an impressive, diverse group, with great tech skills and strong ideas about the future of our industry. Thanks to the generosity of a diverse community of supporters, the Fellows program includes community-style housing in Union Square as well as a series of pedagogical lectures introducing the hackNY Fellows to founders, investors, journalists, technologists, and all-around leaders from the NYC startup community. They are also sharing their unique skills with the group by hosting workshops – from Android development and configuration management systems to beatboxing, bread baking and notebook organization. We are so excited the Class of 2015 is joining our community!

Announcing Demo Night 2015: An evening of demos and celebration will take place Friday, July 31st. This event commemorates the end of the summer and is a chance for the Fellows to show off the summer projects they worked on, both professionally and personally. Demo Night is open to the tech community, and registration and more information will be coming soon.


Abhi Agarwal

New York University



Abril Vela

University of Michigan



Amrit Ayalur

University of California Berkeley



Brian Chuk

New York University



Charles Lai

Cornell University



Christopher Wan

Yale University



Cristopher Bello

CUNY Kingsborough



Dan Cadden

Temple University



Emily Pakulski

Columbia University



Emily Pries

Columbia University



Faiq Raza

Rutgers University



Harrison Liddiard

University of California LA



Janita Chalam

Amherst College



Jared Wright

Drexel University



Keeyon Ebrahimi

New York University



Kevin Yeh

University of Texas at Austin



Kimberly Leon

Mass. Institute of Technology



Matt McNaughton

Williams College



Merry Mou

Mass. Institute of Technology



Michelle Chandra

New York University



Nancy Wong

University of Pennsylvania



Niko Lazaris

University of Texas at Austin



Oluwatosin Afolabi

University of Nottingham



Rafael Palefsky-Smith

Stanford University



Ren Delos Reyes

Smith College



Richard Chu

Princeton University



Rohan Mathur

University of Illinois



Ross Goodwin

New York University



Shashank Bhargava

University of California Berkeley



Shehmeer Jiwani

Georgia Institute of Technology



Shloka Kini

Columbia University



Simon Ayzman

Hunter College



Valentin Perez

Brown University



Yoni Nachmany

University of Pennsylvania


Where Are They Now: Ian Jennings Jablonowski Will Soon Hack at Facebook

In this installment of our “Where Are They Now?” profiles, we talk to 2010 hackNY Fellow Ian Jennings Jablonowski, who is continuing to build out his project from the 2011 hackNY Spring Student Hackathon. Ian will be interning with Facebook this summer.

Ian, what are you up to these days?

I’m going to school working on products I did before the summer, and working on my major. Recently I’ve been working on b00st, the site I started after the Spring Hackathon. It’s a social news site like Reddit, but in real time. As votes come in, the numbers go up on new comments in real time. I want to move news into that area.

Can you tell us more about it?

I want to grow a large realtime community and see what possible features to introduce. It’s a newer idea of community and the forum is like modern forum. PHPbb is old school and you can’t really tell the difference between one forum and another. 4chan is similar to other image boards. Reddit and Digg look similar, too. I want to push the envelope a little bit, to innovate on that.

What are you studying at Rutgers?

I’m an information technology major. I’m more interested in how people use computers rather than how computers serve people.

I’m also into info visualization, making data look like art. I’m working on a cool project in one of my classes related to bus transit. It’s called NextBus and lets you see when the next bus is coming on campus. It shows you where they are and what the next stops are. The script runs every minute and shows how long it really takes for the bus to get there, as well as the average wait for each bus on campus by day.

I’m also minoring in digital communications. One of my most interesting classes for that this semester was on strategic presentation. We learn how to make videos go viral, creating projects for non-profits. I’m helping a non-profit radio station. We’re making videos and trying to get word out and find volunteers for them.

What have you been up to outside of classes?

Since last year I took up drums. I’m doing pretty good and have a kit in my room . I’m not in a band yet, but I’m pretty comfortable on them and am able to play a few songs. It’s only been a few months, so I don’t expect too much of myself.

I’ve also been working on Rutgers Reddit, which has exploded recently.

Recently I took part in and won a contest at Rutgers called Hat Chase where seven people in crazy hats walked around different parts of campus. Teams competed to broadcast the hats’ locations to as many people as possible and have those people broadcast the information to their networks. It was really about how people share things with their network, how to share information in real time about emergencies and how to report and organize. The project was part of CCICADA, a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence.

I started building a team by using Reddit and 2011 hackNY Fellow Abe Stanway stepped up to help lead the team. We used GroupMe as our main way to report information and had team members on each campus watching for the hats. I think we won because the goal was to see how information travels across social networks, and we had good documentation. The prize was $4,000, which we split between our team of 20.

Also I’ve been working as part of a research group for the past two years helping with code and data harvesting. One of the projects is a network for concerts to aggregate information like set lists and videos shot at the concerts and archive all of the new media that gets produced during the show.

Whatever happened to your Fall 2010 Hackathon winning project? launched and it’s free to use. It’s a fun thing to keep up and running. People like it and use it. I haven’t been trying to monetize it, but I enter it in contests every now and then. It’s not something I’ve actively working on anymore, but people say it’s useful and that it works for them everyday. The biggest complaint is that the rooster sound is annoying, but it’s kind of fun, I feel.

What else have you learned since being a hackNY Fellow last summer?

I’ve changed from being an all-around person to specializing more in the front end and user experience field from where I was year ago, just trying to do everything. Now I’m trying to focus my talents on front end stuff.

I knew I was going this way because of the hacks I was doing. Hacks are either very technical or visual/cool. Most either show you data or a pretty finished Twitter clone or something. I was always trying the cooler, impressive-looking kinds of things rather than focusing on data crunching and performance. That’s what I liked to do in my spare time. Also, when I applied to intern at Facebook, one of my professors said, “I’m gonna send you to the UX people.” I asked him why and he said, “That’s where you’ll fit in, that’s exactly what you should do.” He knows what I’m good at and what I’m bad at.

I always liked doing design and creating ideas more than the actual execution. I used to be a LAMP stack guy and now I’m into Nodejitsu and just Javascript. That’s what I’ve been learning and focusing on now.

How has being a hackNY Fellow helped you?

I now have 20 friends in New York I see all the time. It definitely puts you in the scene. There’s no way I could’ve met all those people if didn’t do that program. I’m able to email moot and ask his opinion on something, and it’s easy for me to arrange a meeting with Chris Dixon and stay connected.

The program gave me guidance on where I want to go, and showed me the process of having a startup and what it takes. It didn’t preach, just took us out there, showed us what startups are like and let us meet people.

It was a much more hands-on, personal experience than telling us “this is right and this is how much equity you should take.” It prepared me to work at startup or start my own.


hackNY 2010 Fellows: still rocking, looking forward to meeting class of 2011

We had a little reunion with many of the 2010 hackNY Fellows Tuesday night over hamburgers and shakes.

Ian, Clement and Tal

The grub was delicious and the company was even better — our Fellows continue to impress us! Here are some highlights of what they’re up to now:

  • At the 2010 hackNY Fall Hackathon Tal and Max launched Foursqwhere, which captures Foursquare checkins by university students to determine who is the mayor of each school.
  • Max recently launched Don’t Eat At, which alerts you via text when you check into a restaurant that’s in danger of being closed for health code violations. He’ll be presenting it during February’s New York Tech Meetup.
  • Tal is working as a HackStar helping the talented team of startups selected for the New York TechStars accelerator program.
  • Clement continues to work at Buzzfeed. He was hired on after his hackNY internship ended and continues to enjoy his work and team.
  • Stuart was accepted into grad school at Columbia and is excited to dive into his new coursework.
  • Nolan had a great time in London
  • Ian is building out the Twilio alarm clock tool he created during the Fall Hackathon.
  • Tengchao continues to work with Buzzd
Ian, Tal and Evan

It was great to catch up with the alumni, and this won’t be the last time we’ll be seeing them — they’re excited to stay involved to mentor this year’s class of hackNY Fellows and share their advice, expertise and insider’s perspectives. 2011 hackNY Fellows will be lucky to have last year’s alumni showing them the ropes of the NYC startup scene!

Chris, Andres and Clement
Tengchao, pointing to his awesome brain.
HackStar Tal

Thanks to Alex Qin for the photos!