On Saturday, June 11, the Bothell High School Computer Science Club hosted a hackathon which students from Bothell, North Creek and Woodinville High Schools participated in.
23 students spent the day writing programs which were then judged by industry professionals from Amazon, Philips Healthcare and Vimly Solutions, a Mukilteo-based IT service provider and consultancy.
“Students worked on a new project they were interested in and thought it would be impactful and innovative,” said Soham Bhosale, founder and president of the Computer Science Club. Bhosale is a Bothell Junior High School.
Most students created their own projects; a few worked in small groups.
One student created a realistic soccer video game in the programming language C-Sharp.
Another created a web infographic about Mars. The student incorporated virtual reality elements in the program.
The winner of the hackathon created an app which sends the user emergency alerts when there is an active shooter in any ZIP code they choose.
The judges were Katie Trout, Chief Technology Officer at Vimly Solutions; Nidhi Jaiswal, UX Design Manager at Amazon and Uday Muchalambe, Software Development Engineer at Philips Healthcare.
The judges each also led coding workshops for the students throughout the day.
“I always wanted to do something for our local community,” Bhosale said. “And I thought the hackathon would be a great way to accomplish this.”
I have noted that the competition was held virtually, to eliminate the risk of COVID.
Bhosale began the Computer Science Club as a sophomore at BHS. Next year, as a senior, he plans to hold multiple hackathons.
Last December, Bhosale was awarded the 2021 Congressional App Challenge by US Congresswoman Suzan DelBene for creating DermDetect, an app for examining skin lesions that are potentially cancerous.
Bhosale says that he, like many members of the club, hopes to work in computer science after he finishes school.
“Especially with the intersectionality of other technologies and disciplines,” he said. “Like computer science and biology, computational biology, or computational chemistry, or medical AI. So an interdisciplinary approach.”
He plans to apply to the University of Washington, which was recently ranked the 16th best school in the world for computer science by Times Higher Education.
“I’ll also shoot my shot at some Ivy League schools,” he said. “I know it’s very competitive, but we’ll see.”
Bhosale says that the Computer Science Club is also planning to compete in the USA Computing Olympiad (USACO) later this year.
He mentioned that he was pleased with the diversity of the students that competed in the hackathon.
“In certain groups, there’s definitely a lower percentage of people going into the computer science industry, because of many factors like socioeconomic status, or even racial background,” he said. “But it’s important that everyone should be able to do computer science, and everyone should be encouraged and at least given the opportunity, which is what we’re trying to hopefully accomplish.”
He continued to say that although it can be daunting, anyone interested in coding shouldn’t be afraid to give it a try.
“Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do computer science,” he said.