YU Hackathon 2019: Cracking Code in Collaboration

Four computer coders

YU Students Challenge One Another to Think Bigger and Better

Man sitting on floor wiring a computerIn the past few years, hackathons have been sweeping across college campuses, giving tech-focused students a chance to join forces in teams over an extended period of time around a problem or idea and then collaboratively code a unique solution from start to finish. The solutions can range from websites and mobile apps to robots.

Held on April 4 through April 5, 2019, at the University Heights Lounge on the Wilf Campus, YU Hackathon 2019 attracted more than 70 students from across Yeshiva University as well as students from Columbia University and New York University for 16 hours of caffeine-fueled brainstorming, teamwork and project building.

Two women coding on computersWhat distinguishes the YU Hackathon from others is its accessibility to shabbat observant Jews. Most hackathons run from Friday through Saturday night; the YU Hackathon was scheduled from early Thursday morning through Friday afternoon.

This year’s theme focused on computer-science based solutions to fintech (financial technology) challenges. One notable solution was a bot designed to educate the public about the national debt. “Being part of this year’s YU Hackathon definitely challenged me to learn things I’ve always wanted to learn. I was pushed to think on my feet and strengthen my technical muscles,” said Sarah Torgueman, a member of the 10-person YU team comprised of students from Yeshiva College, Stern College for Women, the Katz School of Science and Health and the Sy Syms School of Business, who helped organize the event.

In addition to offering workshops on a variety of technologies related to databases, web development and blockchain, this year’s event featured keynote speaker David Schwed, director of the cybersecurity program at the Katz School.

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