AMHERST, Mass. — The second annual HackHer413 Hackathon will take place Feb. 8-9 at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass Amherst) in the Integrated Learning Center on campus. The free, 24-hour event has received an increase in applicants since its launch last year.
“We had 700 applications this year which was 100 more than last year. We accepted 600, and right now we have 440 RSVPs,” said Disha Srivastava, director of HackHer413 and current sophomore at UMass Amherst.
She said the increase from last year’s attendance of approximately 300 attendees is sending their team into overdrive in the final weeks of preparation to make sure they can accommodate the increased interest.
In 2016, HackHolyoke was the first women’s collegiate hackathon and the first hackathon to achieve an equal ratio of male-to-female hackers. However, HackHer413’s focus has a different focus for women and is the first all-women (cis and trans) and non-binary students’ hackathon in western Massachusetts.
“When you come to HackHer413, there are people of all walks of life, all backgrounds, and all genders there. We have a lot of males who want to support our event so we have them come as volunteers, mentors, sponsors, recruiters — all of that. But, our attendees who actually hack and submit for a prize are all women and non-binary people,” Srivastava said.
Attendees can expect to meet new people, enjoy food and to receive lots of free items — Srivastava recommends bringing a bag to carry it all — all while learning and hacking the entire time.
“All of our sponsor companies teach workshops at the hackathon, so those workshops can be related to some technology they use in their everyday work or it can be teaching the technology that their company makes,” Srivastava said.
She said she foresees HackHer413 as an annual event for many years to come. “There will always be a need to empower minorities and bring diversity into such a big field, so we hope to see HackHer go a long way.”