Students Gather at STAB for Hack-a-Thon

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"Spark! Regional Teen Hack-a-Thon" at Charlottesville "Spark! Regional Teen Hack-a-Thon" at Charlottesville
Leela Ghaemmaghami, junior at STAB Leela Ghaemmaghami, junior at STAB
Zach Minster, “Hack-a-Thon” coordinator Zach Minster, “Hack-a-Thon” coordinator
Drew Meyer, project mentor Drew Meyer, project mentor

When you hear the word hacking, you probably think of a deviant sitting behind a computer stealing people's personal information.

That's not what's happening in central Virginia. Instead, students gathered at Saint Anne’s Belfield School (STAB) and used their hacking skills to solve real world problems.

Organizers of the “Spark! Regional Teen Hack-a-Thon” said there aren't many opportunities like this. It was a chance for central Virginia high schoolers to experience intense and immersive collaboration and engineering.

Leela Ghaemmaghami, a junior at STAB, and her team are creating an app that will actually remind people when they're due to take medication.

"So it will send them a notification, it’s 9 a.m., have you taken this pill yet? and then they can click yes, I’ve taken it, or no, let me come back in 5 minutes,” Ghaemmaghami explains.

.Students spent the last two days at the "Hack-a-Thon" learning about programming, project management, and design. They then taking those skills and transforming them into tangible solutions.

"Students were able to sort of separate out in to which problems they were interested in solving and within those problems they formed teams that are now all around us working on those problems,” said Zach Minster, “Hack-a-Thon” coordinator.

Students worked side by side with industry professionals and were confronted with challenges people in the real-world face daily.

"Every day we go through this same process where we're working with clients on mobile applications, figuring each board and each individual screen, how it needs to function for the user, what makes the experience positive and easy to use for the user,” said Drew Meyer, project mentor.

The idea is to devise a tool that's functional and user-friendly but also has the power to change the status quo.

Ghaemmaghami says the weekend's “Hack-a-Thon” served as a catalyst.

“I’ve started on a great project that I think I’m going to continue even after today,” Ghaemmaghami stated.

Students are encouraged to stay in touch with their mentor and to continue to develop their ideas even beyond this weekend's “Hack-a-Thon.”

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