A Weekend at PennApps

This past weekend I had the incredible opportunity to participate in PennApps, the largest student hackathon in the country, at Penn State University.  It was AWESOME.

To those of you who don’t know what a hackathon is, basically you’re given a certain amount of time to make something.  In our case, we had Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to build a working software application using technologies from companies like Venmo, Google, Twilio, Microsoft, Apple, SoundCloud, Dropbox, and more.

My team consisted of all Iowa State students; we were the first Iowa State team to ever be accepted and attend the hackathon! We flew out early on Friday to their campus, and navigated our way with signs like these:
PennApps

Once we got on campus, we registered and got assigned tables for the weekend. There were tons of companies there who had technical mentors nearby for us to ask questions, and one company even took over a classroom and built a whole lounge for us to hang out on breaks! And then, CODING. Throughout the weekend we were fed and worked from way before dawn til way past dusk. One thing about weekend hackathons: you usually don’t get your normal sleep hours (I’m definitely still recovering). 😉

My team made a universal uploader for SoundCloud, you can check out our demo here! I made the user interface (the look and feel of the application), and my genius team members built out the backend for us to be able to upload to SoundCloud from SkyDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, and more!

After hours upon hours of grueling, but fun work, we demoed in the gigantic gym on campus (funnily enough I slept on that gym floor for a couple hours Friday night…):
pennapps

Our team was among 200 talented teams (over 1000 students) who had made everything from new texting apps to bitcoin exchangers to games to gyroscope extensions. It was awesome to see all the creativity flowing and the fast-paced energy around us.

All in all, we didn’t win, which is totally okay. We made an application I’m proud of, I got to see a lot of old friends from previous internships and events, we networked with companies, and we learned a ton!! I loved representing Iowa State there, it was fun hearing all the different places people had come from.

Now, time for a shameless plug: Iowa State is going to start hosting hackathons! We’re starting small (only Iowa State students and not for a whole weekend), and the club Digital Women will be hosting it in October. I’m helping plan it, and it’ll be so fun! If you’re at all interested in something like I’ve just said, don’t worry about how experienced you are or anything. You’ll be great!

And now, I’m going to catch some zzz’s…:)

PeAcE oUt GiRl ScOuT

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