The Carroll County Hackathon, held February 22nd through 24th, at McDaniel College was a great success for MAGIC.  We couldn’t have done it without the support of our sponsors, volunteers, judges, and participants! And so, I want to take the opportunity to share the story of the weekend with you.

We entered the weekend with the intention of providing an experience to high school and college students at which they would learn how to design, build and pitch an app.  We also hoped that the students would have a chance to network and engage with tech professionals and that the tech professionals involved would also have the chance to network.

Fifty-five total students participated on 13 teams.  Of the group, 44% were female, 56% were male and 67% were high school, 33% were college students.   Additionally, for 64% of the participants, this was their first MAGIC event. 10 of the students had participated in a previous Hackathon event and joined us again.  For 5%, this was their third Hackathon, meaning they have participated each year MAGIC has held this event!

We were lucky to have 26 volunteers coach, provide general help, and judge – with some contributing in multiple roles.  73% of the volunteers were from local tech companies or work in a technology related role. An exciting first: one judge was a high school student who had competed in the first hackathon, and participated and volunteered in Capture the Flag events.

We kicked off Friday night with a workshop at which experts taught students the most important how to’s for designing and building an app.  Two local tech companies, Advantage Internet Marketing and Skayl provided the experts for this session. When the students returned on Saturday, they worked with their teams to design and build their app, and had access to coaches with experience to share.  I have been told by many volunteers that students were more engaged this year than in previous years both with their teams and the professionals mentoring them. In addition, the coaches were providing a high quality level of instruction.

By the time the pitch event was held on Sunday, 11 teams had functioning technology and presented their app.  The results are exciting:

  • The winning app was QRx – an app that allows you to transfer your medical information to medical centers’ EMR systems by scanning a QR code.

  • Best Design went to Kind State, an app that makes getting regional/local goods easy through a subscription box service.  
  • Best Tech went to WeatherWear, an app that suggests what to wear based on the weather and the clothes you own.

  • Best Idea went to MedAux, an app that allows you to compare prices of medical procedures.  

  • Best Pitch went to iunGO, an app that democratically decides what songs should be played at social events.

As you’ve been reading, I hope you’re agreeing that we met our goals for the weekend.  I am really proud of the teamwork, learning, and innovating that happened at this event.  We also learned some lessons, and have some great ideas for improving the event next year.  We’d like to build our own apps to improve processes like signing-in and judging, in addition to providing some extra training for our coaches to take our mentoring to the next level.  

Thanks to our sponsors, we were able to procure all the necessary supplies, purchase prizes, and feed the students and volunteers 6 meals over the course of the weekend.  Of course, this kind of brain work is done best when well fed!

MAGIC’s mission is to build a tech ecosystem that creates and nurtures talent, entrepreneurship, and tech businesses, elevating the Westminster gigabit community to lead the Mid-Atlantic region.  This event provided many mission moments as we saw our tech ecosystem in action. I truly believe this tech experience, which provided the space for people to connect, collaborate, and solve problems is helping our community grow into the premier technology hub we believe it can be.  

I hope we can count on your support and participation again next year.  For more information about other opportunities to get involved with MAGIC, please visit our events page and our get involved page.

Thanks for taking the time to read about our success!

Valerie Giovagnoni

MAGIC Board Secretary