techfrederick Hackathon Teams Make an Immediate Impact on our Nonprofit Community

June 9, 2022 / / News

Twenty-three participants enabled three local organizations to better serve their community.

FREDERICK, MD. (June 9, 2022) – techfrederick, a coalition of local high-tech companies, completed its third annual Hackathon on May 21st, yielding incredible results for some Frederick area nonprofits.

The event brought together a total of 23 “hackers” to come alongside three local nonprofits to address immediate technology needs of each organization. These organizations included Flowers Over Frederick, Frederick County Fire and Rescue Services (FIRE), and Student Homelessness Initiative Partnership of Frederick (SHIP). The hackers broke up into 3 teams to partner with the leaders of each of the nonprofits to collaborate on their requested projects over the course of the 8-hour event.

Hackathon team members Jeanelle Lin, William Roelkey, Nikita Arya, Priyanka Gupta, Tommy Wolcott, Zack Omar, Henry Aker, and Paul Janne were presented with the “Best Deliverable” award for the website redesign they performed for Flowers Over Frederick, the local nonprofit that unites our citizens, businesses, and organizations to beautify downtown Frederick with Summer and Winter Hanging Baskets.

“This (Hackathon) Team moved us (our website) forward a decade in just 8 hours!” said Kara Norman, Executive Director, Downtown Frederick Partnership, the administrative support for Flowers Over Frederick.

The team, made up of a majority of Frederick County Public Schools high school students, produced a website that was live by the end of the day and greatly improved user experience and overall effectiveness.

Two additional local nonprofits ended the day with impactful tech-based solutions to help them more effectively serve their community. Recognized with the “Most Impactful” award, the Hackathon team assigned to assist Student Homelessness Initiative Partnership of Frederick (SHIP) created a fully functional secure communication platform for their graduating students to stay connected to the SHIP program, their counselors, and vital resources.

“We walked away with more than we expected! The solution was immediately employable. I had already sent a translated message to our students via the platform before I walked out the door that day!”, said Monica Johnson, Program Administrator, New Horizons, SHIP of Frederick.

Helping our community partners to realize how tech can automate, streamline, and analyze their data collection, a team of Hackathon participants created a software program prototype for Frederick County Fire and Rescue Services (FIRE) that will reduce data entry hours, eliminate the human single point of failure, and create a sustainable process.

“I didn’t even know natural language processing was a thing. I had no idea what was possible; using code to analyze free text.”, said Lieutenant Chris Dunn, Quality Assurance Officer, Frederick County Fire and Rescue Services.

Started in 2016, techfrederick focuses on connecting local professionals by providing advocacy, education, communication, and networking opportunities. techfrederick’s Hackathon is held annually and took place on May 21st this year at the HighGear offices. techfrederick’s Hackathon allows for participants from many different disciplines and levels of expertise to come together and make an impact through building applications or programs that will help local nonprofits streamline a process or digitally transform their operations in a way that will help them better serve our community!

“As a Change Management Manager, I loved the opportunity to serve on a techfrederick Hackathon team this year to help represent our non-technical stakeholder and move the team toward a best-fit solution for SHIP’s needs. I am intrinsically motivated to help my community and specifically appreciate the ability to contribute in this immediately impactful way.” said Hackathon participant, Skyler Grubbs, Change Management Manager, Montgomery County Government.

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techrederick has been formed to identify, highlight, support, foster awareness of, advocate for, and develop Frederick’s growing high tech community through community education and human resource development, entrepreneurship training programs and seminars, and related events.

For more information, please contact Amy Pontius, Executive Director, apontius@techfrederick.org . Please visit www.techfrederick.org and subscribe to our emails.

Brooke Faulkner

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