A North Hollywood High School senior’s all-girl hackathon aimed to empower her peers – Daily News

on Jun18
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A North Hollywood High School student hit a trifecta this weekend. She brought together passions for empowering her female peers, computer science and the need to bridge the gender gap.

Emily Jin’s AIHacks Saturday and Sunday at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies brought students and scholars from all over the state for a weekend of problem-solving, coding, and collaboration — and, yes, some competition.

It was said to be the first ever all-female hackathon in Southern California.

They built websites, they sought solutions on how to improve mental health among teens, they looked for ways to monitor and identify endangered species, they churned out possibilities for how to bridge the education gap. And they discussed careers in tech in which even the social good — not just commerce — can be accomplished in computer science.

The event was led by Jin — a senior at North Hollywood — and a team of peers from around the country.

Participants worked in teams of two to four to tackle a problem that they were personally passionate about.

It was a 28-hour hackathon, with 100 participants among 26 teams — mostly from Southern California, but with some students from the Bay Area.

Here are the results, courtesy of the organizers:

Winning Project Descriptions

1st Place● Project Name: Alley Alert● Team members:○ Michelle Prasouvo (Del Norte High School, 11th grade)○ Nayana Vallamkondu (Del Norte High School, ninth grade)○ Sarika Pasumarthy (Del Norte High School, ninth grade)● Project description: A website that provides a network of credible user determined roads that are considered safe in order to give people, and especially women, a sense of security by being able to avoid dangerous roads when walking alone.● Inspiration for the project: “Our inspiration was based on our personal experience with feeling uneasy while walking anywhere alone. In our relatively safe and affluent community of 4S Ranch (in San Diego County), there was a recent incident where a fellow student was followed by a man driving a truck when she was walking home from school. He was only deterred after she had called her father and the police and had reached her home. We were inspired by incidences like this and other acts of violence towards women all around the world.”

2nd Place● Project Name: RoseTeam members:Alyssa Ho (California School of the Arts, San Gabriel Valley, ninth grade)○ Alexis Tan (Homeschooled, 10th grade)○ Mary Grannis-Vu (Northwood High School, ninth grade)● Project description: A website that aims to help people struggling with writer’s block by encouraging the user to generate large quantities of writing and motivating them with graphics that grow with their character count.● Inspiration for the project: “We were inspired by our fellow students who struggle with perfectionism and can’t write their thoughts in large quantities.”

3rd Place● Project Name: Stray PawsTeam members:Melissa Ruiz (MSTMA at Theodore Roosevelt High School, ninth grade)○ Angie Vasquez (MSTMA at Theodore Roosevelt High School, 10th grade)○ Selina Arjomand (Walnut High School, 11th grade)● Project description: A website that uses the efficiency and simplicity of using artificial intelligence (AI)  to search and sort dog matches, making it an easy process to lead owners and dogs back to each other.● Inspiration for the project: “110,000 dogs are lost every day. Many of us have seen these strays roaming the streets of LA, and as dog-lovers we had to help them. We hope our website will help bring back joy to all the owners and dogs out there who have lost each other, while trying to keep strays off the streets and in a proper home at the same time.”

Social impact Prize● Project Name: AI for a PORPOISETeam membersAlex Lam (Poly High School, 11th grade)○ Bella Ungar (Long Beach Polytechnic High School, ninth grade)○ Thalia Inui (Long Beach Polytechnic High School, ninth grade)○ Parishi Kanuga (Grover Cleveland Charter High School, ninth grade)● Project description: A website that uses artificial intelligence to protect and identify endangered species populations by monitoring unusual migration patterns.● Inspiration for the project: “We were inspired by the increasing rate of endangered species. There are currently only a dozen Vaquitas left in the wild. At first we wanted to use AI to help track endangered Vaquitas but soon realized this technology could be used on a wide range of endangered species. Using image tracing and taglines, the AI system could save scientists time and energy when monitoring endangered species.”

Best Use of Artificial Intelligence● Project Name: United States Outbreak TrackerTeam membersMishty Dhekial (Troy High School, ninth grade)○ Amisha Kumar (Troy High School, ninth grade)○ Ashmita Kumar (Troy High School, ninth grade)● Project Description: An app that informs and notifies people of prevalent disease outbreaks in the United States by making CDC outbreak information easily accessible and understandable to the public.● Inspiration for the project: “There is data on disease outbreaks across the internet, especially on sites like the CDC. However, unless that data is sensationalized in the news, people are unaware of these outbreaks and the risks they pose. We propose to change that by designing an app that can notify people of ongoing foodborne-illness outbreaks, large-scale outbreaks like the measles and other outbreaks within states. With all this information conveniently located in one place, people will be better informed and can take specific actions to protect themselves using guidelines included in the app.”

Event sponsors included USC Institute for Creative Technologies. NCWIT AspireIT, AI4ALL, Fullscreen, and the i.am.angel Foundation, which was founded by will.i.am. Winning teams received prizes such as Oculus VR Standalone Headset, Amazon Echos, Instax Mini Cameras and internship opportunities.

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