All Female Hackathon at Touro’s Lander College for Women Celebrates Women in STEM
Over 100 female hackers filled the gymnasium at Touro’s Lander College for Women (LCW) on Sunday, March 1st, for the 5th annual student-run hackathon, HackItTogether. The women shared a day of coding competition in a warm, collaborative environment.
“An all-women’s hackathon gives women—and especially Orthodox Jewish women—an opportunity to stand out outside the classroom,” said organizer and Touro LCW student Sarah Bracha Schuraytz. “It is a chance for women interested in tech to improve their programming skills, meet other women in STEM, and have fun.”
During the 12-hour day, teams worked on either a general challenge or a sponsor-created challenge. Sponsor Guardian Life, one of the largest mutual life insurance companies in the United States, asked Hack It Together participants to “come up with a unique technological innovation to promote financial literacy among college students.” IHS Markit asked the hackers to “create an innovative channel that would help IHS Markit build persistent and long-lasting relationships based on instantaneous support, trust in the application, and customer satisfaction.”
In addition to the Touro teams from Lander College for Women/The Anna Ruth and Mark Hasten School and Lander College of Arts & Sciences in Flatbush, there were teams from 26 other schools including NYU, Princeton, Stern College, City College of NY, Pace University, Grace Hopper Coding Bootcamp, Dominican Academy, SUNY New Paltz, Stevens Institute of Technology, and LaGuardia Community College..
“Being part of the planning enabled me to meet and network with representatives from various companies and learn about future career opportunities in the field,” said Touro student organizer Sarah Orlian.
The day ended with each team presenting a short demo of its hack. Judging was based on factors such as innovation, usability, problem solving, and technical achievement. The judges were Dr. Andrew Katz, a computer science professor at Touro’s LCW; Andrew Schwimmer of Disney Streaming Services; Sobhagya Kaushal, a software developer at JPMorgan Chase; and Vivian Schneck-Last, an alumna of Lander College for Women and former managing director at Goldman Sachs.
A team from Touro’s Lander College of Arts and Sciences in Brooklyn won the IHS Markit challenge. Students from Machon Ora High School in Passaic, New Jersey, won the Guardian Life challenge.
“The hackathon has become a great tradition at LCW that showcases the innovative work women are doing, and can do, in the fields of technology and engineering,” said Lander College for Women Dean Marian Stoltz-Loike. “Every year I am more and more impressed by the creative solutions these students are able to come up with in just one day.”
This year’s event was sponsored by Cross River Bank, IHS Markit, Guardian Life, and Balsamiq.