About

We are TaroHacks, a first-year online high school and middle school hackathon with the goal of helping students learn new skills to make projects that have an impact on their communities. Although normally hackathons are daylong, in-real-life events, COVID-19 has made this difficult to do, so with this hackathon students will be able to use their skills to create something to benefit society. TaroHacks will take place from August 1st to August 8th, 2020. Our hackathon aims to inspire more students of our generation to get involved and find an interest in technology and engineering even through this pandemic. We want to help promote teamwork, innovation, creativity, and collaboration to encourage students to create solutions to problems in our world. Because TaroHacks is an online hackathon, allowing students from all over the world and country to participate, but our team is based in Santa Clara, California.

Competition Details

All of the information will be sent through email and hackathon Slack to the participants during and before the hackathon. Workshops, speakers, and general meetings will be hosted through Zoom or Google Meet. Entries will be submitted through Taikai, an online hackathon platform, and will be judged the hours after submissions are due. The official rules for TaroHacks can be found here. More information and details are on our Taikai site.

EVENT SCHEDULE

August 1st (Saturday) - Opening
12 PM PST - Opening Ceremony
12 PM PST - Keynote Speaker (Jim Yacone)
1 PM PST - Q & A Session

August 2nd (Sunday) - Workday
11 AM PST - Question Session
2 PM PST - echoAR: Build a Cloud-Connected AR/VR App in 15 Minutes or Less
4 PM PST - Starting Point: Idea - A Brainstorm by i-INVENT
6 PM PST - College & STEM Panel (Bay Area Consultology)

August 3rd (Monday) - Workday
11 AM PST - Question Session
12 PM PST - Wonsulting Workshop
2 PM PST - Project Pitching Workshop (Sanaa Syed)
3 PM PST - Financial Literacy Workshop (FLEO)
4 PM PST - Just Ship It Workshop (William Wang)

August 4th (Tuesday) - Workday
10 AM PST - Shopify & Dev Degree Presentation
11 AM PST - Question Session
12 PM PST - How to Launch A Startup (Gina Choi)
2 PM PST - FIRST Robotics Panel

August 5th (Wednesday) - Workday
11 AM PST - Question Session
12 PM PST - Computer Science @ UCLA (Bonnie Liu)
2 PM PST - Interdisciplinary STEM (Chinmayi Balusu)

August 6th (Thursday) - Submissions
12 PM PST - Submissions Close
1 PM PST - Participant Voting Begins

August 7th (Friday) - Judging
1 PM PST - Participant Voting Ends
TBD - Judge Voting

August 8th (Saturday) - Closing
12 PM PST - Closing Ceremony
4 PM PST - Winners Contacted

FAQ

How much does TaroHacks cost?
TaroHacks is 100% FREE for everyone to participate!

Who can participate in TaroHacks?
TaroHacks is open to middle and high school students entering grades 6 to 12.

How do I form a team?
You have the option of working solo or forming a team. If you don't yet have a team you're working with, you can form a team through the "team-building" channel on our Slack or through the "Matchmaking" tab in Taikai. Teams must be 1 to 3 people large. Once formed, you will submit your project as a team.

What if I don't know how to code?
TaroHacks is 100% FREE for everyone to participate! Hackathons are the best places to build coding knowledge in a short period of time. You don't need to have any coding experience to participate in TaroHacks. We will also be providing participants with workshops and mentors to help them out with their projects.

What can I make?
You are welcome to create any coding or computer science project that benefits your community or society as a whole. The theme for this hackathon is quite open-ended, and we're excited to see what you'll create!

How will workshops and presentations be hosted?
Before every workshop/presentation begins, we will send out a Zoom or Google Meet link out to all of the participants. We will post more details about the sign up process as the hackathon gets nearer.

Is there a Code of Conduct?
We expect our participants to treat all our participants, mentors, and judges with respect at all times, behave appropriately and safely, and follow the TaroHacks Code of Conduct.

Special Guests

We'd love to have you as a mentor or speaker at TaroHacks! If you're interested, please fill out this form.

Judges

Vasuprada Sriperumbudur is an engineer turned Product Manager who is passionate about customer success and user experience. She currently oversees product portfolio strategy and leads the Product Management team at OpenText. Prior to OpenText, Vasu held multiple roles at global companies EMC, HP, Applied Materials, and Oracle. She has a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Computer Science & Engineering. With her recent MBA from UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, Vasu carries forward with her two of the school’s core defining principles: Question the status quo and Student always.

Peter Cnudde is an industry fellow and an advisory board member for the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology at UC Berkeley. Peter is also an Advisor to Rebellyous Foods, a leader in transforming plant-based meat production. Peter was the Vice President of Engineering at Yahoo responsible for Yahoo’s Big Data and Machine Learning platforms. Prior to Yahoo, Peter co-founded several startups and was CTO at Cognitive Match. Earlier in his career Peter held leadership roles at several telecommunications companies including Alcatel, GlobespanVirata, RF Micro Devices, and Packethop. Peter holds a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Ghent in Belgium.

Corey Wade is the founder and director of the Berkeley Coding Academy and has taught math and programming in Bay Area schools for 20 years. Currently, he chairs the Math Department at Berkeley High School's Independent Study Program and runs the AI / Machine Learning Youth computer club for the entire district. He also teaches AP Calculus, AP Statistics, Advanced Math, and Home & Hospital Instruction. Corey's work and research in data science comes from his invaluable experience as a Springboard student and his own research on 50+ machine learning models.

Pui Ho Wilson Tsang is a former engineer enjoying a rewarding second career in K-12 education, guided by the following beliefs:
Students don’t care how much I know until they know how much I care. Mastery is an innate motivator for all students. FAIL is the acronym for First Attempt In Learning. Problem-solving can be fun, with or without practical application. Students are inspired by teachers who are life-long learners.

Rajesh Nataraja works at Cisco and has a long industry experience. His core expertise includes distributed, networking and virtulization technologies. He has a Masters degree in Computer Science from IIT Guwahati, and co-owns more than twenty patents. He is a passionate coder and a space flight enthusiast.

Mentors

Gaurav Bhatnagar is an incoming student to UC Berkeley’s Management, Entrepreneurship, and Technology program where he will be pursuing two BSc degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences and Business Administration. He has led multiple FTC robotics teams and most recently was the Code Lead in Team Deja Vu, done research into Music Information Retrieval, and worked on designing a mobile electrocardiogram system. Gaurav can help you with Java, Python (NumPy), and more.

Bonnie Liu is a rising sophomore studying Computer Science at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering. She is currently the Events Coordinator of IEEE Women in Advancing Technology through Teamwork (WATT) and Entrepreneurship Chair of Upsilon Pi Epsilon (UPE), UCLA's Computer Science Honors Society. In high school, she was heavily involved with Girls Who Code and many other extracurriculars. In the past, she has worked on implementing a guided virtual journal, querying an extensive database for campus resources, and analyzing the effect of unemployment rate on Trump's approval ratings during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bonnie can help you with C++, Python, JavaScript, and PostgreSQL.

Siddarth Ramkrishnan is an incoming student at UC Berkeley with an intended major of Cognitive Science. Sid has led various music and filmmaking ensembles and has played the saxophone and guitar for the last nine years. He’s done work through many extracurriculars, service-based organizations, STEM-based projects, and competitions, and has recently delved into implicit racial bias research. During Tarohacks, he can help you with sprouting creative ideas, working on presentation skills, proofreading code, and answering questions about future career preparation.

Carmela Leung is a Dev Degree intern at Shopify working on the Shopify CLI, and a computer science student at York University Lassonde School of Engineering. In high school, she was a mechanical and an outreach captain on FRC 6070, and she currently continues mentoring the robotics team. She is super passionate about robotics, accessibility, and education - she hopes to become a special education teacher in the future. Carmela can help you with web development (front-end & back-end), Ruby, graphic design, and more. She's also totally down to give you feedback on your ideas and/or pitch!

Andey Ng is a rising junior at Carnegie Mellon University studying Information Systems, and Technology and Public Policy. Her interests lie in creating meaningful empowering those around me through meaningful connections. Andey is interested in discovering how to maintain the humanity of life within a rapidly developing tech-driven world. Andey was heavily involved with FIRST Robotics since 6th grade, and competed on an international level which became a pivotal part of her childhood. Her expertise lies in the intersection of emerging technologies such as Machine Learning and Human-Computer Interaction.

Sanaa Syed is a Dev Degree student and backend developer intern at Shopify and a rising sophomore at Carleton University studying Computer Science with a minor in business. She is a developer intern at Shopify who has attended many hackathons such as Hack the North and won the 2019 CryptoChicks hackathon, a blockchain and AI hackathon. Sanaa is currently learning about product management, AR/VR design, and UI/UX design in her free time! She has also been an active lead in driving social impact and supporting/guiding girls into STEM fields. She can help you with HTML/CSS, React, Python and Ruby/Rails.

Saurav Gandhi is a compassionate and motivated high school student at the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute at Santa Clara High School. At a young age, Saurav started STEMATIX, a 100% student-run STEM magazine with just 11 of his friends. Over the course of three years, he transformed this small magazine into an international student-run organization engaging youth in STEM through journalism. STEMATIX currently has 200+ contributors from 38 countries across the globe.

Sanchi Bansal is a pre-final year student at HMR Institute of Technology and Management, Delhi, India pursuing an undergraduate degree in Computer Science Engineering. She volunteers for a number of communities that believe in uplifting women and decreasing the gender gap in STEM. She likes to build websites and is also interested in Game Development using JavaScript or Python. She would be able to help you out with C++, HTML/CSS, JavaScript and Pygame.

Jonathan Gin is currently studying and working as a Dev Degree intern at Shopify. He is a huge fan of hackathons, and believes that they are an amazing and fun way to explore tech. He previously worked on building the Shopify Fulfillment Network as a fullstack developer. Nowadays, Jonathan is working on Shopify's Experimentation Platform as a data developer. Jonathan can help with Javascript/Typescript, Ruby on Rails, Python, React and general web development.

William Wang is a developer intern at Shopify part of the Dev Degree Program and an AI research engineer on the Northern Tornadoes Project. In his spare time, he likes marathoning, entrepreneurship, and playing the guitar. A strong believer in Robin Sharma's 5AC, Will wakes to watch the sunrise every morning. He can help with Python, Tensorflow & Pytorch, Ruby on Rails, Javascript/Typescript, React, HTML/CSS, and C. William can also help you as a sounding board for creative ideas, review presentations/pitches, and answer any general career questions.

Simrah Shaik is currently a rising junior at the University of Illinois-Chicago majoring in Computer Science with a double minor in business administration and finance. She am an aspiring Product Manager and is also very passionate about tech and business. Simirah absolutely loves food, traveling, and podcasts! She can help you with Web Development (HTML/CSS), Python, and Business.

Speakers/Workshops/Panels

Applying to hundreds of jobs and hoping to receive a response from one when, in fact, you don't receive a response from any is discouraging. That's why Wonsulting, a career consulting company which mission is to turn underdogs into winners, is here to make the Job Search process much more simpler than you think. Jonathan Javier and Jerry Lee, CEO & COO of Wonsulting, have helped tens of thousands of students/professionals receive offers from the Google's, Deloitte's, and Goldman Sachs' of the world. During this event, they'll be going over the following:

  • Leveraging LinkedIn: How to find & connect with recruiters & hiring managers on LinkedIn
  • Building Your Digital Presence: How to build & leverage your digital brand to peek recruiters' interests from coveted companies

Jim Yacone serves as the Chief of Mission of the SANS Institute. His decades of leadership, operational experience and public service round out SANS’ deep understanding of the public and private sectors’ varied mission sets and workforce development needs. Jim previously led business security operations for the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates. As a security executive within the company, Jim directed multiple teams focused on the mitigation of cyber, physical, and staff security risks. Prior to his career with the financial sector he served for more than two decades as a special agent with the FBI and assistant director in charge of global critical incident response. In this capacity he managed more than 4,600 personnel responsible for crisis management, SWAT operations, crisis negotiations, hostage rescue, weapons of mass destruction mitigation, surveillance, aviation operations, behavioral analysis, and cyber threat assessments.

Abhi DhiYogi says, “Considering that a human’s core strength is having the most advanced intellect, mankind’s function may be to innovate and make this world better for everyone, including all other species. As I travelled the world and met kids n’ adults from different facets and economic conditions, I realized there was a need for the potential IDEA within each one to be encouraged. In the pursuit of creating a global community for the most innovative amongst us, iINVENT™ was born. It is the idea, methodology and a community we have adopted in our business solution offerings @ NABROS, learning and incubation solutions @ HUBLI and interior design plus lifestyle solutions @ 1816ZENDEN. We hope you join us to enable your ideas that help you, others and the earth grow.” Listen to his presentation on turning an idea into reality at TaroHacks!

Gina Choi is a high school junior who was the youngest winner in the COVID-19 Global Hackathon, the largest hackathon in the world. She is also the founder of Notes for Support, an organization that has gotten funding from the CEO of Giphy (Facebook) and partnered with over 100 hospitals, among others. Her workshop on “How to Launch A Startup” covers everything you need to know to launch a successful organization, from pitching, funding, marketing, and more.

The workshop will show how to quickly create AR/VR apps with no technical skills or coding required and scale existing apps by connecting them to the cloud. Workshop participants will learn how to create real-time cloud-connected augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) apps using the EchoAR platform. Participants are encouraged to bring a laptop and a smartphone, or just follow along the live demonstration. Platforms for experimentation include: Google ARCore, WebXR, Vuforia, Unity-based apps, and more.

College is important because it helps you break out of your comfort zone, diversify your career options, learn new skills, meet new people, and build life-long connections. But college can be intimidating, especially when you don't know what to expect. Bonnie Liu, a rising second-year Computer Science major at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering, is here to share her college experience thus far. Come learn about what student life is like at the top public university in the nation, how to get the most out of your college education, and how to increase your chances of getting in.

Shopify's Dev Degree program is a paid, 4-year computer science program that combines hands-on developer experience from industry leaders with an accredited Computer Science degree from either Carleton University or York University. Vince Duquette and Tristan Park from Dev Degree will be joined by four developer interns from Shopify to discuss their journey in computer science, the tech sector, and the opportunities they've had through Dev Degree. They'll talk about how students in the program apply theory to real-world problems, learn development skills, and receive mentorship from industry leaders while maximizing their personal growth.

Interdisciplinary STEM is the future: understanding how your work ties into concepts lying beyond your field is crucial in today's interconnected world. This session on Interdisciplinary STEM and Communication will reflect on the importance of effectively conveying the meaning of your STEM work in order to make a larger impact on your community. This presentation will be led by Chinmayi Balusu, a 17-year-old second-year undergraduate student at Columbia University interested in neuroscience and medical humanities. She is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Simply Neuroscience, an international student-run organization dedicated to fostering students' interdisciplinary interests in the brain through education, outreach, and awareness. Chinmayi am a student researcher (named an ISEF finalist and the California Science and Engineering Fair's Student of the Year) in biomedicine and neuroscience, youth science communicator, women in STEM advocate, martial artist, and nature explorer.

FIRST is the world’s leading youth-serving nonprofit advancing STEM education. For 30 years, FIRST has combined the rigor of STEM learning with the fun and excitement of traditional sports and the inspiration that comes from community through programs that have a proven impact on learning, interest, and skill-building inside and outside of the classroom. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded in 1989 to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology. Every year they run 4 different leagues of robotics competitions all over the world, for grades K through 12. Bay Area robotics team FTC Team Taro will be running a panel for any students interested in robotics!

The Bay Area Consultology is a group of college students (Anita Sagar, Vibha Tantry, Isabel Zhong, Medha Kini, Anjali Mathi, Kalie Ching, Jessica Kuang, Hawk Azordegan, Iris Chen, Nathan Ng) who want to help current high school students navigate the college admissions process, which can often be be challenging, confusing, and expensive. They offer affordable services that range from helping students narrow down college lists to editing essays. They'll be hosting a College & STEM Panel to talk about their experiences throughout high school and answer your questions on college admissions and their experiences in STEM.

FLEO is a student-led non-profit organization with the mission of educating the youth to be financially responsible for their own lives by using engaging content that is utilized at FLEO events and workshops. Their vision is to create a financially conscious world where everyone has the knowledge and capability to efficiently manage their money to establish and/or preserve financial independence. The FLEO financial literacy workshop will cover the most basic concepts of finance like investment and money management, while also touching upon the newly emerging industry that is fintech. FLEO is currently stationed in 3 continents and is continuing to look for opportunities to spread in order to reach our goal; a finically literate world.

A good presentation will make your hackathon project stand out but it can be hard trying to make a good pitch in the short amount of time you have to hack. Sanaa Syed is a a rising second-year Computer Science student at Carleton University and a developer intern at Shopify who has attended many hackathons such as Hack the North and won the 2019 CryptoChicks hackathon, a blockchain and AI hackathon. She is here to help you by sharing her tips and advice on how to present and show off your project in the short time you’re given. Come by her Project Pitching Workshop to learn about what makes a good pitch and how to style your slides in a way that will make your presentation memorable.

As a junior developer, competing in hackathons can be intimidating. Join William in this 90 minute workshop "Just Ship It" on getting better at these competitions and build four projects from scratch including an ML image classifier, Algolia powered search platform, and more! All levels welcome. Prior to the workshop, be sure to have a Github account and to download Git (Git bash for Windows), Node, npm (npx), and yarn. This workshop is being led by William Wang, a developer intern at Shopify part of the Dev Degree Program and an AI research engineer on the Northern Tornadoes Project.

TaroHacks Team (and Mentors!)

Kavi Rajesh is a rising sophomore at Santa Clara High School and is part of the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute. She is member of the outreach team on Team Taro and is very interested in Artificial Intelligence and computer science. Kavi is also the president and founder of the Santa Clara High School PERIOD Chapter. Outside of school, she enjoys reading, playing the piano, and spending time with her friends and family. Kavi can help you with C++, web development (HTML/CSS/JS), and a couple of concepts in Machine Learning.

Sahana Moogi is a rising sophomore at Santa Clara High School interested in computer science and music technology. She helps write code and organizes robotics and STEM-related events for Team Taro as a member of the software and outreach subteams. She is also a member of Girls Who Code and part of the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute. Sahana spends her free time playing the piano or rehearsing with her school marching band and orchestra. She can help you with web development, Python, graphic design, presentations, and more.

Kaitlyn Nguyen is an incoming sophomore at Santa Clara High School and is part of the 49ers Stem Leadership Institute. She is part of the outreach sub-unit of First Tech Challenge Team Taro. Kaitlyn is an active officer for the UNICEF Club at Santa Clara High School and the PERIOD Chapter of Santa Clara. In her free time, Kaitlyn enjoys bullet journaling, drawing, and listening to music. She can help you with anything related to presentations, graphic design, and etc.

PRIZES

Sponsors

Thank you to all of our sponsors! If you're interested in sponsoring us, please read our sponsorship prospectus.

Partners

Sponsors

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ABOUT OUR TEAM

This hackathon is being run by a robotics team from Santa Clara High School called FTC Team Taro. The core TaroHacks team is made up of Sahana Moogi, Kaitlyn Nguyen, and Kavi Rajesh (learn more about them under "TaroHacks Team")! We are a seven member team from Santa Clara, California. This is our second year as an FTC team. Our team members this year are: Kavi Rajesh, Kaitlyn Nguyen, Sahana Moogi, Xavier Cairel, James Thornton, Kaushik Salem, and Mokshitaa Dhamotharan. We were formed by the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute last year, but since then have grown and changed a lot. We’ve learned a lot in the last year and hope to do even better this season. We are all students at Santa Clara High and are a part of the 49ers SLI program, and we have a passion and interest in STEM and robotics.

Get in touch

We're open to any comments and suggestions, or questions you have!