My Davidson | A Student Blog A Space for Excitement and Innovation: Hack@Davidson

adults and students talk to each other in an innovation center

A Hack@Davidson judge, Reid Williams, takes notes on the team’s presentations.

Niya Ma ’24 shares how she found her passion for computer science through hackathons, and how she worked with her peers to launch Hack@Davidson, a unique hackathon designed to welcome all levels of experience to the world of innovation.

About the Author

Niya Ma ’24 (she/her) is a Computer Science and Mathematics double major. Outside of Hack@Davidson, she serves as president of Women in Mathematics and is working as a software engineer intern this summer at Oracle.

"I chose Davidson because I love small schools and small class sizes.”

Coming into Davidson, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do or what my college experience would look like. But I soon found my passion for computer science by competing in hackathons. Working with two other Davidson students, Mengfan Wang ’24 and Olsen Budanur ’24, we created an opportunity for other students to experience the same excitement and innovation that we found in hackathons.

A hackathon is an “invention marathon” or “pitch competition” with a technical focus. It’s an opportunity for anyone with an interest in technology to learn, build and share their ideas. Hack@Davidson is a unique hackathon that is designed to welcome all levels of ability and experience, including non-computer science students and beginners. You absolutely don’t need to know coding to participate! During Hack@Davidson 2023, we were thrilled to see that two of the five winning teams created no-code projects.

Learn more about the projects in our winners’ gallery.

Held annually during a February weekend at the Jay Hurt Hub for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Hack@Davidson kicks off on Friday night with an opening ceremony where our leadership team runs through the competition rules and available resources. Our incredible sponsors also share information about their businesses and potential employment opportunities for Davidson students. Throughout Saturday and Sunday morning, attendees are busy building projects, but there are plenty of fun activities to keep folks energized and engaged, from energy drink pong to technical workshops. On Sunday afternoon, we host the awards ceremony, where we give out some amazing prizes (totaling $3k+), including AirPod Pros and drones.

If you’re looking for an opportunity to get involved in the exciting world of hackathons, Hack@Davidson is the perfect place to start. Come join us and experience the thrill of innovation and collaboration firsthand.