October 14, 2020

Attending my First Female Hack-a-Thon

Attending my First Female Hack-a-Thon


It was scary..

My name is Sahari and I’m currently in grade nine. About three weeks ago, I attended my very first hackathon, ElleHacks, an all female hackathon sponsored by York University. Before SV Robotics, I would have never known what a hack-a-thon was and with only a few months of robotics experience, I already had my first opportunity to showcase my skills. To be entering a completely new place where I’d be surrounded by people with a lot more experience and knowledge frightened me—the very thought of participating in a hack-a-thon was extremely nerve-wracking.

I was surprised when I was accepted and I had mixed feelings about the whole thing—I was both excited and nervous for this new experience. Sometimes, I can be very shy so entering a hack-a-thon overnight was terrifying to me. I didn’t know what to expect or how to prepare but I was lucky to find a group who was nice and were open to share their university experiences with me.

The hack-a-thon began on the Friday night with the sponsors introducing challenges like “sleep deprivation” and “gift for a family member” for groups to pick from and solve with an invention. Then on Sunday, we would pitch our idea to the judges. For the rest of the night until 4 a.m. on Saturday, we took part in various workshops which was a great way for beginners like me to learn about JavaScript, web development, and design thinking.

The weekend.

The hack-a-thon began on the Friday night with the sponsors introducing challenges like “sleep deprivation” and “gift for a family member” for groups to pick from and solve with an invention. Then on Sunday, we would pitch our idea to the judges. For the rest of the night until 4 a.m. on Saturday, we took part in various workshops which was a great way for beginners like me to learn about JavaScript, web development, and design thinking.
Canadian Armed Forces (Engineers) talking to students about their careers!

What stood out.

What really stood out to me throughout this incredible weekend was listening to the stories of remarkable women in technology. Whether they were in the military or working in business (or even winning Miss Universe Canada like Lauren Howe, an avid tech enthusiast!), their stories truly inspired me and ignited my passion. I even got to learn about what companies were looking for when hiring, giving me an advantage in my future career because I didn’t even know what I wanted to do just yet.


Although I got no sleep, I learned a ton from the people I met and the challenges I faced, transforming my view on technology. At first, I was very hesitant on going to a hack-a-thon but now looking back, I’m so happy I went! It didn’t matter that I didn’t win anything because I had the chance to participate in a hack-a-thon and now I’ll be more prepared for the next time. And it’s all thanks to the encouragement I got from by family and my awesome teachers at SV Robotics!

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