TAMUhack Hosts Sixth Annual Hackathon
The student-run organization TAMUhack recently held its sixth annual hackathon in conjunction with the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University. During the two-day invention marathon last month, student programmers, called hackers, were tasked with developing innovative software and hardware solutions to solve real-world problems faced by industry today.
While the main goal of many other similar competitions is to win the top prize, what sets TAMUhack apart from other hackathons is that its main focus is to provide a creative space for students to connect with other hackers, learn new skills and network with industry experts. More than 240 teams representing over 40 schools across the nation participated this year, making it the most successful hackathon the organization has hosted to date.
For organization members Sophia Lee, who is the current president, and Humza Jaffri, TAMUhack gave them a home. Being surrounded by people who have the same interests and ambitions as them gave them a sense of belonging and showed them that they could take on the world. They said hope they’ve succeeded in creating the same environment for other students to use as a stepping stone to do much bigger things.
During the hackathon, students had the opportunity to work on a variety of challenges presented by several company sponsors, including American Airlines, who challenged them to create a product that would help elevate the customer travel experience, boost operational efficiencies and employee performance, or enhance American’s brand image.
Global financial services firm JPMorgan Chase & Co. challenged students to develop a web or mobile application that would help to encourage people to provide more structured information on accessible spaces.
For the student organizers, working to put together an event the size of TAMUhack is a huge undertaking, but witnessing the participants make lasting connections and realizing their full potential over the course of the event makes all of the hard work worth it.
“One of the greatest takeaways that I hope students get from TAMUhack is seeing that the world is so much bigger than just the classroom setting,” Jaffri said. “I like to think about hackathons as a proof of concept that you are capable of developing anything as long as you put your mind to it. I hope they can see their potential and that they are capable of learning and creating incredible things given the right resources and environment.”