SBC ‘hackers’ debut skills at Technica

Posted on November 11, 2015 by Staff Writer

From left: Erica Stepel, Ashton Reid, Stacey Sickels Locke, Des'rae Davis and Alicia Wooten From left: Erica Stepel, Ashton Reid, Stacey Sickels Locke, Des’rae Davis and Alicia Wooten

Four Sweet Briar students traveled to the University of Maryland this past weekend to participate in Technica, the school’s first all-women’s hackathon, which drew more than 400 students from across the country.

It was also the first hackathon for Sweet Briar. The College was represented by juniors Alicia Wooten, Erika Stepel, Des’rae Davis and Ashton Reid.

As SBC alumna Stacey Sickels Locke — who works at UMD and checked in with the Vixens during the event — explains in her blog post, a hackathon has nothing to do with cyber crime.

“‘Hack’ refers to the old-fashioned use of the term to create, break something down, a project,” she writes. “‘Thon’ refers to an extended collective effort, just like a ‘dance-a-thon.’”

Hackathons, she adds, are often described as “tomorrow’s classroom, career fair and even the rebirth of America’s economy.”

According to its website, Technica offers students the opportunity to “be immersed in everything tech” so that they can “explore, learn, and create awesome projects. Mentors and sponsors will be hacking alongside students to build stronger connections between the amazing ladies of our tech world.”

The event included various workshops and career sessions, as well as an optional showcase at the end.

Many participants didn’t finish the entire weekend, or complete a project, says Locke. But the Vixen team did both. By the end of the hackathon, they had created an app for prospective students, which they’ll continue to update.

Click here for more about Technica and the Sweet Briar team, including their brief radio interview with WTOP.