Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

HoyaHacks Gathers Students Nationwide for 36-Hour Coding Challenge

The hackathon brought over 270 students from high schools and colleges across the country to Georgetown on Jan. 26.

Over 270 students crowded into the Healey Family Student Center (HFSC) Jan. 26 to code projects for the annual HoyaHacks coding competition.

HoyaHacks, which Georgetown University has hosted since 2015, is a 36-hour hackathon inviting students to code projects solving real-world problems. This year, over 270 high school and college students from across the country gathered for the chance to win prizes and recognition.

Joshua Meredith, the senior project manager and staff chair of HoyaHacks, enjoys the fast pace of the event.

“I love the chaos, the energy, the just madness of when we start a hackathon,” Meredith told The Hoya. “There’s no other way to describe it, you’re just moving a million miles an hour.” 

This year’s HoyaHacks featured four thematic tracks: a Cloudforce-Microsoft AI track which Cloudforce, which makes custom cloud solutions for businesses, sponsored; an environmental track that Engie, which provides customers with carbon-neutral strategies, sponsored; a simulation hack which Collins Aerospace, which supplies aerospace and defense products, sponsored; and a digital forensics hack which Cipher Tech Solutions, which creates production tools supporting digital forensics, sponsored. Prizes included free tablets and company swag, a feature in a national press release and a technical panel interview for a full-time software engineering position.

Douglas Little, Georgetown’s interim chief information officer, said that HoyaHacks represents the intersection of computer science and social good.

“This is an opportunity to think about the greater context of how we live and how we can help our fellow humans because in reality, we are all in this together,” Little said during the event’s opening ceremony.

HoyaHacks, which has hosted over 3000 students in its history, is a hackathon registered as part of Major League Hacking, a global community with over 500,000 hackers.

Brady Souma, a junior at Howard University, explained how HoyaHacks brought together both first-time and veteran hackathon participants.

“It’s my first hackathon too, so it was good to be around people who have been doing this for a minute and see the difference,” Souma told The Hoya.

Representatives from Cloudflare, Microsoft, HP Federal and Major League Hacking also presented at the opening ceremony.

Georgetown University | High school and college students across the country gathered at Georgetown University Jan. 26 to code projects for social good as part of HoyaHacks, an annual hackathon organized by Georgetown students and faculty.

Beyond coding, students had the opportunity to attend professional workshops, connect with companies and seek help from mentors and fellow peers, building their professional skill set. HoyaHacks also provided free food and energy drinks to help students power through night and day.

Zoey Hall, a freshman at Howard University, said she and her team were able to progress throughout HoyaHacks through collaboration and making most of the resources available.

“At first, I just signed up. I was like, ‘I don’t know what I’m getting myself into, I’m just excited,’” Hall told The Hoya. “But now, I’m really proud of our team and what we were able to create in just two days.”

Hall said how HoyaHacks’ open-ended nature, which allowed students to code and create original solutions, attracted a variety of different students to participate and encourages people who may be hesitant of joining a hackathon to try it out.

“Not everyone is a CS major – there’s psychology, there’s finance, marketing, so just take this year to dive into new opportunities and new fields and you may find something new that may be your future career,” Hall said.

Planning and organizing for this year’s HoyaHacks started in mid-February of last year, and required the effort of Georgetown students, faculty, sponsors and the technology community.

HoyaHacks hosts both high school and college students, which Meredith said allows the local technology community to give back to students. 

“One of the things that make hackathons like ours really great is the local hack community and the local tech community,” Meredith said. “It’s giving back even at the high school level. There’s a lot of hackathons that don’t let them come; I want them here.”

Reed Uhlik (CAS ’25), one of the winners of HoyaHacks, shared how his team plans to continue developing their project, an AI chatbot that aims to answer prospective students’ questions about Georgetown, to help the university.

“We’re currently setting up a meeting with Georgetown’s chief information officer to discuss implementing our solution as part of Georgetown’s official website,” Uhlik wrote to The Hoya. “Overall, it was an amazing experience and we are super happy to represent Georgetown!”

Meredith hopes HoyaHacks can continue to grow and impact as many people as possible.

“The largest hackathons are in arenas and we want to be in an arena, too, someday,” Meredith said.

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