For the second year, Girls in Tech Orange County is helping to organize the International NASA Space Apps Challenge, a two-day hackathon where teams of technologists, scientists, designers, artists, educators, entrepreneurs, developers and students from across the world collaborate and engage with publicly available data to design innovative solutions for global challenges. The event takes place the weekend of April 22 at Peoplespace in Irvine, California.
Now accepting applications
The Southern California NASA Space Apps Challenge will be held in Irvine. Generally, the challenges are focused on technology, robotics, aviation or a human factor. Interested? You can now submit your application here. It’s 100% FREE to join!
Winners will be chosen at a local level first. Two winners will be chosen for a second round competition, and then the final winner will get to go to NASA to compete. A bonus: NASA allows participants and winners to own their idea—participants are not required to give their ideas to NASA.
Mentoring opportunities prior to event
There are opportunities for mentorship leading up to the event. The next session is April 7. Chris Kowoska, Associate at Lowenstein Sandler LLP, is hosting “Open Source, Whose Data is It Anyway.” Mentoring sessions are held at Peoplespace, which allows for 72+ hours of open building access during the hackathon, has facilities for people to sleep and has excellent WiFi.
Plus, there will be several mentors meeting with individuals and hackathon groups throughout NASA Hackathon Weekend to help participants take their ideas to the next level.
Breaking down barriers
According to the National Girls Collaborative Project, women make up 47% of the total U.S. workforce, but are astonishingly underrepresented in certain science and engineering jobs. Both social and political pressure for a complete leveling of the employment playing field in terms of career opportunity and income, continues to bring awareness to, and progress in achieving the parity society demands.
“In an effort to assist this slow process, and contribute at grass-roots level, I feel that the programs promoted by the volunteers at Girls In Tech are a particularly important component in educating teachers, parents and executives,” said Mercedes Bankston, Managing Director, Girls in Tech Orange County.
“The NASA Space Apps Hackathon is a real opportunity to collaborate with NASA. Having this type of opportunity doesn’t happen every day and we appreciate the ability to solve real problems within our solar system and our community. An added bonus, of course, would be that one of my Girls In Tech members wins the Hackathon. However, it’s more important that women participate in community opportunities such as this in effort to break down the social barriers within technical occupations.”