San Marcos,
21
October
2015

Young Female Hackers Gather for CSUSM Hackathon Oct. 24

Media Advisory by Margaret Chantung

Over 100 female high school and college students from San Diego, Riverside and Los Angeles Counties will gather at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) this Saturday, Oct. 24 for the institution’s fourth semi-annual Women’s Hackathon. This 12-hour event, which challenges teams of students to work collaboratively to design a website, game or mobile app that addresses one of two selected real-world challenges, will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the University Student Union Ballroom.

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that by 2020 there will be more than 1.4 million computing-related job openings. Yet, at current rates, only 29 percent of those positions will be filled by women. The CSUSM Women’s Hackathon seeks to inspire female students to pursue computer and information science degrees and careers.

“A hackathon exclusively for young women provides a safe environment for them to share their creativity, collaborate with each other and build friendships,” said Professor of Computer Science Youwen Ouyang, the event organizer. “We know that the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce is crucial to America’s innovative capacity and global competitiveness, yet women are vastly underrepresented in these fields. We simply must do more to expose young women to the opportunities in computer science and STEM.”

Students, who are coming from as far as Sweetwater Union High School District in Chula Vista to Occidental College in Pasadena, are not required to have previous computer programming experience. However, prior to the event teams can plan, storyboard and determine what they want to do. About 20 mentors will be on hand to offer support to them during the hackathon, as they seek to solve one of the two event challenges.

The first challenge, sponsored by the ACE Scholars Services program at CSUSM, asks hackers to better inform and prepare foster youth for college. The second challenge, sponsored by the Consumer Advocates for RCFE Reform, challenges them to make compliance data for California’s 8,000 assisted living facilities more easily available, understandable and comparable for families within their selected geographic area. Winning teams will receive prizes and have a chance to have their application and pitch video published on the Microsoft Research website.

CSUSM thanks Platinum-level sponsors Pivot 3, The Gormally Family and CompTIA. Gold-level sponsors include Cylance and Panasonic. Sony is hosting a post-event career dinner for all participants.

Who: Over 100 female high school and college students from San Diego, Riverside and Los Angeles Counties, and approximately 20 mentors and volunteers.

What: The fourth semi-annual CSUSM Women’s Hackathon

When: Saturday, Oct. 24 from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Where: California State University San Marcos, 333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Rd., San Marcos

Why: To expose female students to academic and career opportunities in computer and information science and the STEM fields.

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Margaret Chantung
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Christine Vaughan
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