Hacker Spotlight: Angie Palm

Almond milk && music lover, Georgia Tech junior, TreeHacks veteran

In these three weeks leading up to TreeHacks, we’ll be doing a series of hacker spotlights, or deep dives into the stories of a few members of the ever-growing hackathon community. In their own words and with only slight editing for clarity, hackers will have the chance to explain their backgrounds, tell their stories, and (humble)brag about their coolest hacks

How did you get into hacking?

I actually got interested in hacking before computer science. I went to my first hackathon in the spring of my freshman year (MHacks). I was really scared going into it. I had taken one CS class in high school, but I didn’t know much about coding. One of my best friends was going, and she said they had a spot on their team. I said, “You shouldn’t be so hasty to have me with you,” but she assured me that they’d teach me. I decided it was the best thing ever. I fell in love with the community.

What else do you do for fun?

I really like hiking. I do a lot of running. I go to a lot of concerts. I like to explore Atlanta with my friends.

What is your favorite project?

I’m most proud of my TreeHacks project from last year. We won the Yelp API prize. We used the Myo and Yelp API to create something that would let you point in a certain direction and tell you what businesses are in that direction.

What advice would you give to people attending hackathons?

Talk to sponsors a lot. Especially at TreeHacks, there are a ton of sponsors. Don’t hesitate to talk to the company providing an API if you’re using it and you’re confused. Also don’t forget to make friends with people other than those you came with. Walk around. Talk to random people. Take pictures with random people! I took a picture with a random person, and he just crashed on my couch a few weeks ago (we met up later after meeting at TreeHacks).

What was TreeHacks like last year?

TreeHacks was my favorite hackathon I’ve ever attended. It might have something to do with being a little bit smaller. It really feels like you can go up and talk to anyone.That was really cool for me because it’s hard to talk to people who aren’t on your team sometimes. There were also a lot of well-planned events that felt spontaneous. Someone gave a speech about inclusivity and how everyone who’s there is supposed to be there. There aren’t a lot of things like that. It made everyone feel really pumped up.

Anything else you want to say?

I feel like a lot of people don’t go to hackathons if they don’t get into them early. Always be open to new opportunities, especially with coding challenges or hacking. If you have something you want to create, you should go to a hackathon. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never been to one before or you don’t know enough. Even if you build something you won’t pursue, you’ll still learn a lot throughout the weekend.