SACKVILLE, N.B. – Think It. Learn It. Build It.
Words to live by and the tagline for MtA Hacks, Mount Allison University’s first Hackathon taking place on campus Saturday, Feb. 2.
Organized by Mount Allison students, faculty, and staff, the conference aims to build a computer science community and inspire technological innovation by encouraging high school and university students across the Maritimes to learn, build, and pitch projects. The 2019 event will focus on tech for environmental sustainability, and will feature workshops, industry booths, and social events.
Third-year computer science and commerce student Graeme Zinck is leading the organizing team. He says he was inspired to bring a hackathon to campus after attending Hack the North, Canada’s biggest hackathon, held at the Ontario’s University of Waterloo in September.
“It was an incredible experience to be at Hack the North and we’ve talked about having a hackathon event at Mount A in the past,” says Zinck. “After that weekend, I thought, hey we can do this.”
Working with computer science faculty advisor Laurie Ricker, Zinck and a team of Mount Allison computer science students are hoping to have 75 participants, both post-secondary and high school students, on campus for the inaugural event. Participants will work in groups over the course of either 12- or 16-hour streams, and will have opportunities to participate in workshops, attend presentations, and meet with industry and university representatives on site.
“MtA Hacks is aimed at both beginner programmers and those with more experience,” says Zinck. “While participants should have a basic understanding of programming and have access to their own laptop, we will have two streams of programming for different skill levels. Project ideas for the day are open-ended, but many will focus on environmental sustainability topics, thanks to the assistance and input of Mount Allison environmental science students.”
The conference will also welcome several Mount Allison University alumni as judges of the event, including: Chris MacKay (Tantramar Interactive); Olivier Bourgeois (Dell Canada); Finn Lidbetter (RideCo) and Will Fiset and Micah Stairs, who both work for Google. Bourgeois, Lidbetter, Fiset, and Stairs all competed in programming competitions as students at Mount Allison, placing nationally and internationally.
MtA Hacks is supported by the Mount Allison University President’s Office, the Department of Student Affairs, the Department of Experiential Learning and Career Development, and the Campbell-Verduyn Fund.
Participants can either register as a team or join one onsite. Registration is free and open until Jan. 20. Find more information, including a registration link and complete conference schedule, at: http://www.mtahacks.ca/