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Young women hackers tackle complex issues at Microsoft’s Alpharetta office


Atlanta, GA, October 10, 2019: The Microsoft office in Alpharetta buzzed with activity as 110 female participants and youth organizers came together for Women In Code: MetroHacks W, Atlanta, MetroHacks’s third 12 hour hackathon on September 21, 2019. The free 12-hour event brought together female high school students, aged 13-18, who learnt about new technology in various workshops, collaborated and created projects with each other, and competed for prizes.

Hackers were offered technical workshops ranging from website building to cloud computing earlier in the day as potential tools to use while designing solutions. The task at hand was to build a solution specific to one of three topics, Environmental, Health, or Social. With their prior knowledge and the skills acquired in the workshop(s), students chose to form teams or compete individually.

Enthusiastic hackers chose to tackle complex issues including poverty, carbon emission, and food allergen recognition. Following over 6 hours of hacking, each team had 3 minutes to present their solution to a panel of judges; prizes were awarded to the top 3 teams for each topic, in addition to a grand prize winner.

A prototype for a mobile app which provides the ability for a user to identify food allergens without reading a label, was the winning presentation. The app required the user to input all of his/her food allergies in a profile and when the user needed to check a food label for potential allergens they would simply take a picture of the label using the app. Based upon the user profile and the ingredient label photo, the app would trigger and alert to warn of allergens or indicate the food was allergen free.

“Though the winning solution was exceptional, each participant displayed an interest in explaining an issue and used creativity and technology to design a solution,” commented parent of an organizer.

The Judging panel included Joey Brakefield – Senior Cloud Solution Architect, Microsoft, Sharmila Bristol, Director, Customer Success, Microsoft, Saurabh Parikh, Vice President of Innovation at CONA, Umar Raja, Data Scientist, CONA, Kelly Linz — Data Scientist, CONA, Jennifer Priestly, Associate Dean, KSU

“I’m impressed at the level of engagement and passion demonstrated by the hackers at the event.  When the event concluded, I left the event feeling optimistic about the future of data science and analytics and inspired to continue to find innovative solutions within CONA”, said Linz.

MetroHacks-ATL Directors included high-school students Krushna Malapati, Vishruth Madhu, Tejas Veedhulur, Hansika Nanduri, Amit Balaji and Adhrija Anbu.


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