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Winning a Hackathon

News Story

Brittany Benjamin ’22 was among the talented coders who won a top prize at Pace’s first-ever Sunflower Hack event, and she recounted the ups and downs of that unique experience in a new Seidenberg blog post.

In Spring 2020, the student-run Pace Women in Tech (WIT) organization hosted the first-ever Sunflower Hack! It was a hackathon hosted on the NYC Campus with an incredible turnout: 50 coders and 20 organizers participated in 12+ hours. Coders competed for prizes in five categories: Best Beginner’s Hack, Best Entrepreneurial Hack, Best Theme Hack, Best Technical Hack, and Best Design Hack. Brittany Benjamin ’22—along with her teammates Nia Davis ’22, Abbi Keppler, and Muirrin O’Connell ’22—was among those hard-working students who were awarded the top prize. And she recently detailed that experience in a recent Seidenberg blog post, too! Except it didn’t exactly start out how she’d anticipated.

“During the week of the hackathon, I was so occupied with school, work, and family that it wasn’t until I got there that I realized I forgot one major thing: a team,” Benjamin wrote. “While a majority of the participants were meeting up with their groups and strategizing, I was scanning the room for potential teammates. [...] Although initially daunting, the process was actually a lot easier than I thought. Within five minutes I found an amazing team and we jumped straight into business.”

Their big idea? An app called Cultivate, which would help to promote and encourage productivity. “We realized that in order to make ours unique, we needed to offer a noteworthy incentive for our users, something that we knew most people would enjoy,” Benjamin explained. They chose a clever reward system and set to work on developing all the necessary features that would make their app successful—and, of course, to impress the judges as well.

When it came time for presentations, Benjamin said the true value of participating in the hackathon really became clear. “Seeing everyone’s ideas was probably one of my favorite parts about the hackathon because it highlighted the ingenuity of each individual group,” she said.

Don’t miss the recap Brianna Adkins ’21 wrote of the Sunflower Hack event, which details the full list of winning teams. Be sure to follow Seidenberg’s blog and their Instagram and Twitter accounts for more stories like this one!

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