2015 Archives

Hundreds of students pull an all-nighter at Dallas’ first major hackathon

Excerpt

The following is from the Feb. 28, 2015, edition of The Dallas Morning News. SMU's Austin Wells, a computer science major and student organizer of HackDFW, was interviewed for this story.

Scenes from HackDFW

Tom Foley, principal of IF Motivated, LLC; Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks; Austin Wells, SMU student; Adil Shaikh, UTD student; Doug Parker, CEO of American Airlines; Michelle Miller, president of Verizon Wireless, Central Texas Region; and Michael Irving, Principal, IF Motivated, LLC, and NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys.
(l. to r.) Tom Foley, principal with IF Motivated, LLC; Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks; Austin Wells, SMU student; Adil Shaikh, UTD student; Doug Parker, CEO of American Airlines; Michelle Miller, president of Verizon Wireless, Central Texas Region; and Michael Irving, principal with IF Motivated, LLC, and NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys.

HackDFW

HackDFW

HackDFW

HackDFW

HackDFW

March 2, 2015

By NANETTE LIGHT

Several hundred students didn’t sleep Saturday night.

They were hunched over laptops hacking.

They didn’t gather to wreak havoc. Instead, they came together to build.

More than 500 high school and college students from across the U.S., Mexico and Canada were given Saturday and into Sunday to build new technology such as apps and websites at HackDFW — the first major student hackathon competition in Dallas.

While hackathons are held throughout North Texas, the event at the Women’s Museum in Fair Park was the region’s first large-scale public event, organizers said. The event was put on by Major League Hacking, which helps organize more than 100 hackathons for students each year across North America and Europe.

“Dallas has been trying for a while to build up our entrepreneurship — especially our tech entrepreneurship,” said student organizer Austin Wells, a junior studying computer science at Southern Methodist University. “This is really getting that momentum going for Dallas.”

About 900 people had been expected to attend before weather-related flight cancellations and icy roads caused the number to drop.

The weather “slowed things down, but it’s not going to stop us,” said Wells, who attended his first hackathon in Michigan last year and has been to 11 more since.

“The weekend is about building something you’ve always wanted to build,” Wells said. “This is about sitting down, pulling out all the roadblocks, pulling out all the stoppers and building something as quickly as possible.”

This weekend’s event was organized and hosted by students from SMU, the University of Texas at Arlington, the University of Texas at Dallas and the University of North Texas. It drew Dallas-based companies such as AT&T and connect2.me — a tech company that integrates various devices — to meet students and help solve problems. . . 

Wells said connections he made at hackathons led to an internship last year at Microsoft and another this summer at Google.

Read the full story.