Building Community at HackHealth

HackHealth, a one day, health themed hackathon was held on February 3, 2018 and hosted by Stony Brook’s own Women in Computer Science (WiCS). A diverse and beginner friendly event, HackHealth aims to provide a comfortable environment for the participants to develop their ideas and skills.

With multiple big name sponsors such as Google, Facebook, Softheon, and Netsmart, HackHealth promised to be an interesting event and it delivered.

After spending some time observing the teams at work which consisted of at least 10 teams with about 5-6 members per team, the president of WiCS, Kitty Liu, explained the nature of the problems the teams were tackling. With the theme of the event being health based, each team was tasked with creating and coding a piece of “health tech” ranging from topics such as mental health, nutrition, heart health, and pediatrics.

To start hackers off on the right foot, the day began with industry sponsors joining the students for breakfast, with the actual hacking starting at 11am. With a minor interruption for lunch, they continued on until 7pm with the judging and awards lasting through 10pm. A joyful event, 60+ students diligently tackled problems presented by the members of WiCS while music played. Midway through the event, there were no signs at all of exhaustion setting in.

Hacking continued as the members of WiCS members lightened the mood by playing music and holding a flip cup mixer to get to know one another. By the time the teams stopped hacking at 8pm they had been going at it for nearly ten hours, an impressive feat by any standard.

Women in Computer Science (WiCS) at Stony Brook seeks to foster understanding between men and women in computer science, and to encourage and support both graduate and undergraduate students.

-Juan Tamayo

-Gary Haireti, photo credit