Hackathons help one college senior find opportunities, mentors and a job

When Cassidy Williams was an eighth-grader in Downers Grove, Ill., she taught herself how to build website. Almost a decade later, the Iowa State University senior, 22, has made a presentation to the United Nations on a project empowering women in STEM and is such a winning veteran of hackathons that she’s now a co-organizer of the International Women’s Hackathon 2014 set for April 25 – 27.

This crowdsourcing event hopes to empower young women in computer science and encourage them to lead and find and be mentors to others. More than 100 hackers expected to come to Washington, DC – with scores more connecting via Lync over the weekend – to develop solutions to two challenges. One is increasing the number of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields and another is to stop distracted driving, such as texting behind the wheel.

“Hackathons with a cause are always fun, just because you know that you’re making the world a better place by simply participating,” Williams says. “Even if you’re new at it, try hackathons anyway. They’re the best way to learn fast and get a working product out there.”

Find out more about the hackathon and Williams over on the Next at Microsoft blog.

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Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff