Binghamton Youth Hackfest

Up to the Minute

From: SUNY Broome

Calling all youth coders and youths interested in coding, the region’s first ever youth hackathon is Dec. 7 at SUNY Broome Community College and will highlight the growing interest among local children in the fastest growing profession in the world

Binghamton, NY –– On Saturday, Dec. 7, students from across the Southern Tier as young as 8 years old are invited to bring their imagination, ingenuity and teamwork to the first-ever youth hackathon in the Binghamton region.

Known as AT&T Binghamton Youth Hack, the free youth hackathon for local students between 8 and 17 will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at SUNY Broome Community College, 907 Upper Front St., Binghamton.

The free hackathon is a collaboration between AT&T, Tech4Kidz, SUNY Broome and its Computer Science Department, and Hack Upstate, with support from Girls Who Code.

The event was born out of a desire to expand coding opportunities for Greater Binghamton area youth and to demonstrate how technology can be used for the social good.

The students will work on digital solutions to issues impacting their lives, such as cyberbullying and online safety.

Coding and computer science-related skills are quickly becoming desired job skills in today’s global economy.

Programs such as the AT&T Binghamton Youth Hack will continue to expose youth to future career opportunities available in the fields of information technology and coding.

The event is free, but limited to 60 students, who must fill out an application; no prior coding experience is necessary for the participants.

To eliminate economic barriers and promote an all-inclusive experience, computers and development resources will be made available for students without their own resources, as well as meals at no cost. Parents may register their children at https://tech4kidz.net/events/.

AT&T Binghamton Youth Hack will challenge the young participants to solve digital challenges with technology.

Participants will build apps, games, websites, animations and interactive stories in efforts to curb cyberbullying and promote online safety, while being judged on their teamwork, imagination, code and design skills.

The hackathon will feature mentors from area colleges, the local Girls Who Code chapter and developers from local tech companies assisting the participants.

“AT&T is proud to collaborate with Tech4Kidz, SUNY Broome, Girls Who Code and Hack Upstate to provide this innovative experience for local students as it further enhances our commitment to providing resources for STEM and coding-related educational programing in the Binghamton region and throughout the State,” said Amy Hines-Kramer, president, AT&T New York.

“Our economy continues to transform at a robust pace – requiring a workforce with a focus on technological education and digital literacy – and STEM and coding opportunities like this one are vital to ensure that the students of today are prepared for the global economy of tomorrow. I am excited to see the creativity and innovation from the young minds that participate in this unique hackathon.”

Final projects at AT&T Binghamton Youth Hack will be judged by a panel of judges made up of local tech experts, community leaders, education experts and elected officials. Each submission will be scored on its potential impact on the category entered, the quality of execution, and creativity or novelty within the work.

The hackathon will challenge participants to come up with technological solutions and tools to address the growing problem of cyberbullying and online safety, while awarding for best design skills, code skills and teamwork.

“The SUNY Broome Computer Science Department is excited to host the AT&T Binghamton Youth Hack. We are always looking for opportunities to expose youth to problem-solving skills, logical thinking, teamwork and critical thinking,” said Professor Julie Cooley, department chair. “I want to thank AT&T, Tech4Kidz and Hack Upstate, for the opportunity to work with them. We are dedicated to exposing young minds to coding and technology, as well as breaking some of the stereotypes that exist in STEM fields today. Students and parents will have the opportunity to see that SUNY Broome is an excellent college that awaits them in their own community.”

“Our goal in this hackathon is to engage young minds in the area of technology and help them become confident and critical thinkers,” said Pam Puri, founder, Tech4Kidz.

“Early introduction to programming teaches kids to think in a logical and systematic way, develops skills they can apply in all aspects of school, and introduces them to computer science principles. We want to thank AT&T for partnering with us and supporting STEM education throughout New York. We also want to thank SUNY Broome, Girls Who Code and Hack Upstate for their support and contribution to this innovative event.”

Coding is quickly becoming the new literacy, with technology powering every electronic device kids and adults interact with.

The appetite among students for coding is growing in popularity as the discipline is a main driver of innovation.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, much of the growth in the demotic and global economy will come from STEM related jobs – a highly lucrative and competitive field.

It is estimated by next year there will be 2.4 million unfilled STEM jobs in the US. More than half of this growth will be made up of computer careers, underscoring the importance of providing the youth the tools and skills necessary to compete in innovation economy of the world.

AT&T Binghamton Youth Hack will help to create a future of smart, innovative applicants to help fill these jobs someday.

“Hack AT&T’s support for the region’s first youth hackathon is part of the company’s legacy of supporting educational programs focused on STEM disciplines in New York State through AT&T Aspire, the company’s signature $450 million philanthropic initiative that drives innovation in education by bringing diverse resources to bear on the issue including funding, technology, employee volunteerism and mentoring. Aspire is one of the nation’s largest corporate commitments focused on school success and workforce readiness by creating new learning environments and educational delivery systems to help students succeed and prepare them to take on 21st century careers. AT&T has given more than $103 million to support STEM initiatives since 1987. Projects supported by AT&T contributions range from after-school programs and camps for students at risk of dropping out to hands-on technology labs and elite robotics competitions.

Upstate is thrilled to have the opportunity to support CNY’s youth in their efforts to learn the fundamentals of code. One of Hack Upstate’s goals is to reduce Upstate New York STEM talent churn rate. We educate the best and brightest STEM talent in the country and we’re determined to keep them in Upstate New York. We hope events like this will spark the youth’s interest in technology and ultimately keep them here after they graduate” said Jesse Peplinski, partner, Hack Upstate. “We thank AT&T, Tech4Kidz and SUNY Broome for the opportunity to empower young striving technologists that will advance the CNY tech community for years to come.” 

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