Women hacking their way to positive change through IT

May 14 / 136

Students formed teams of four to compete with IT peers from around the world.
Students formed teams of four to compete with IT peers from around the world.

Female students from the University have participated in the Second International Women's Hackathon, following the success of the first event last year.

The Hackathon is an annual event organised by Microsoft Research to create a fun and safe environment for women to make a positive impact on the world through computing.

This year the International Women's Hackathon 2014 was held across 85 University campuses worldwide, with more than 2,000 female students from 13 countries participating.

The University of Melbourne event was organised by the Women in ICT society together with the help of the IEEE Women in Engineering student affinity group, led by Master of Science (Computer Science) student Nitika Mathur.

The event was sponsored by the Melbourne Accelerator Program (MAP) and Computing and Information System (CIS) department at the University.

The participants included students from the US, Canada, Brazil, Belgium, Palestine, India, Kenya, Pakistan, Bolivia, Nepal, Korea, Sri Lanka and Australia.

The hackathon included creating solutions for one of two projects provided by Microsoft.

The first project involved developing an app or website  to attract more females into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields, and the second project involved developing a way to increase teenagers’ awareness of the dangers of distracted driving.

In this event, eight Melbourne students formed  two teams to compete with their peers from all over the world.

The first team, led by University PhD student Ida Asadi Someh, developed a website which facilitated a mentorship program for girls interested in STEM.

The mentorship program included sourcing mentors from the global network of supportive organisations and matching them to mentees, who require guidance to develop their careers in STEM fields.

The second team led by Qiong Cai, Master of Information technology student, developed an iPhone game which challenges teenagers on their ability to drive a car and text at the same time. The game proved that it would be impossible to drive while texting.

The teams will submit their final solutions and pitches to Microsoft headquarters to be judged globally.

Last year, the Melbourne team led by Master of Science (Computer Science) student Mahtab Mirmomeni designed a website against child-trafficking on the internet, earning an honourable mention from Microsoft.

This event was judged by Head of the Department of Computing and Information Systems Professor Justin Zobel and Associate Professor Karin Verspoor.

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