SPARK! Teen Hackathon Seeks Mentors, Sponsors, Volunteers
SPARK! Teen Hackathon Seeks Mentors, Sponsors, Volunteers

St. Anne's-Belfield School's fourth annual SPARK! high school hackathon will take place on Jan. 26 & 27, 2019, with projected participation of up to 80 regional teen computer scientists. In order to effectively staff the event, organizers are seeking community mentors, partners, and sponsors to participate in learning and making throughout the weekend.

"The hackathon is just one way for area teenagers to connect with a vast network of technology professionals," noted Zach Minster, event co-coordinator and instructor of co-coordinator of the School's computer science program. "Our participants can get involved with tech during the weekend, and strategize with others to use technology to solve real-world problems."

In addition to providing a day of learning with tech industry experts serving as workshop leaders and mentors, the SPARK! Hackathon presents students with real-world problems to solve in teams. The problems are presented by sponsors, and in the past have covered topics like how to track warning signs of a diabetic hypoglycemic attack, protect the Open Web, and fulfill a community need. Deliverables routinely include prototypes of wearable tech, live websites, app interfaces, and more.

"The whole thing was one of the coolest things I've ever done," said a past participant giving anonymous feedback. "What stood out to me the most was the fact that I could literally take an idea and make it into something real over a very short period of time."

As well as financial sponsors, the hackathon requires a full complement of workshop leaders, group mentors, and other volunteers able to devote the weekend to interacting with a variety of high school students. All volunteers will be required to pass a background check.

To find out more about the fourth annual SPARK! hackathon or submit a student application, visit spark.stab.org or contact spark@stab.org. Applicants must currently attend high school, but no prior experience is required. Student applications to the hackathon will be accepted through Dec. 21. Applications received after that date will be placed on the waitlist. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis starting the first week in January.

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