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Can You Hack It?

BroncoHack competitors must combine business, technology and social justice.

BroncoHack competitors must combine business, technology and social justice.

The weekend of April 16-17, Lucas Hall will be ground zero for the third annual BroncoHack hackathon, where as many as 200 students from a half-dozen area colleges and universities will “code it out” over 24 hours to win prizes ranging from $750 for third prize to $1,250 for first place.

Teams of students – some pre-set, some assembled on the spot – will be given the challenge to create a project from start to finish in 24 hours, which meets a series of criteria, some typical of a hackathon, some unique to Santa Clara and its focus on social justice.

As in all hackathons, winning projects must be business-wise and tech feasible -- judged on factors like whether they are innovative, functional, user-friendly, and address a real business market. But at Broncohack, winners must also help address an important social need. Last year’s winning project was a privacy app called PrivaSee, aimed at helping prevent kids from revealing sensitive and personally identifiable information from school networks.

Judges will include Frank Harder, Vice President at Samsung Electronics in the Strategy and Innovation Center; Phil Mui, SVP of Engineering and Produce at Heartflow and member of the MS in Business Analytics board, and John Danner, co-founder and CEO of Zeal.

In between bleary-eyed coding sessions, students will also hear from a keynote speaker, Tim Tully, VP of Engineering at Yahoo, and board member for the MS in Business Analytics.

Event sponsors include the OMIS Student Network and Leavey School of Business, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, Associated Student Government at SCU, and companies Oracle and neherent.

Even students who don’t win get more out of the event than just a turbo-load of Red Bull and a bad case of hackathon jet lag.  Students say they get an adrenaline-fueled burst of energy and creativity, and a team experience that lifts everyone’s skills to a new level. As one of last year’s winners commented: “This event helped me realize that I am capable of much more than I expected.”

Information about last year’s winning BroncoHack project can be found at BroncoHack 2015. Information about this year’s event can be found at the registration page

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Students competing in the 2015 hackathon BroncoHack, which includes a social-justice component.