On Saturday 25th January, I was selected to attend the Hackathon organized by the Rotary Club of Mayfair, in collaboration with Generating Genius, for the Alumni Genius cohort & affiliates at UCL Institute of Education. 

I have been on Generating Genius programmes since Year 9 and had some great opportunities. When I heard about this Hackathon from the GG team, I was looking forward to another exciting opportunity. I was planning on attending a hackathon during the summer of 2019 but I did not have the confidence to do it. Following the first term of university and doing a module on C Language, I decided to give this one a go. 

The day began with a welcome talk from Raj Gupta, president of the Rotary Club of Mayfair, where we found out more about the Club and their STEM mission; which was then followed by a networking session with members of the Club. They were all from a variety of different industries. The members were welcoming and keen to know more about me and my aspirations. My desire of working in the automotive industry drove the conversations I had with Dr. Mario Carandente, a principal engineer at McLaren Automotive. It was very intriguing and insightful to find information about the industry and hear about his journey to his current position.

Mariatu's First Hackathon!!

We then moved into the hackathon for the next six hours which involved occasional pizza and snack breaks. The Rotary Club and Generating Genius had already put us into groups. My group did a theme on energy where we had to tackle issues related to renewable energy sources, sorting through some data and then analyzing the trends that we picked up using python, MatLab and Excel. I loved working with my team because we were all doing different STEM degree subjects (Computing, Physics and Mechanical engineering), which allowed us to bring in different skill sets and do a good presentation that was clear and concise. Each team also had a technical mentor, ours was Rebecca Pandolph; her support helped us with our success and it was insightful and motivating to have a female mentor. 

Mariatu's First Hackathon!!

The final part of the event consisted of a presentation by each group regarding their work and findings. It was great to hear more about the other challenges completed by other teams. The event ended with a closing ceremony. After the hard work and no shock, my team was awarded first place which came with amazing prizes such as Amazon vouchers for each team member, a Mclaren tour and a 1-week Insight Internship Interview at McLaren and fast track internship interview for BP and BMO. 

Mariatu's First Hackathon!!

The event was a win-win for everyone, the other teams also were each awarded amazon vouchers of different value depending on where their team placed.

As they say, “Expect the unexpected in a Hackathon”, I surely saw some ‘never-thought of’ ideas come to life, I enjoyed working in fast-paced environments and I plan on attending many more in the future. Again, a big thank you to Generating genius and Rotary Mayfair for organizing this event. I cannot wait for the next Hackathon!!

Check out YouTube channel to view the full video about this amazing event!!