Wellesley College Hackathon #CAMPWHACK

A few weeks ago at Dropbox, Laurie Kim asked if I would like to be a mentor at a hackathon being held at Wellesley College. Last year I attended around 6 hackathons as a mentor and they were all great experiences.

Laurie asked if Kelsey Fix and I would like to go along as mentors, and also introduced us to Christine Keung who works at Dropbox and started the Whacks hackathon at Wellesley :) Christine was excited for us to all go and participate in the event.


We packed our bags and headed off to Boston a few weeks later. I love being able to travel with your team, it’s always so much fun! We had a huge feast when we all arrived.

Dinner before the hackathon :)

7 years ago I went to my first hackathon at Google Sydney and used an API for the first time (Google Maps JavaScript API). In 2014 I did my first ever API demo at TechCrunch Disrupt thanks to DigitalOcean.

Now in 2016 I was so happy to have the opportunity to volunteer my weekend teaching young engineers how to use the Dropbox API!

I work full-time as an Engineering Manager at Dropbox and I’ve always believed that skilled volunteering is important. I aim to do skilled volunteering 1-2 weeks a year and distribute my time across a variety of events. I think hackathons are an awesome way for students to learn valuable skills quickly and I’m happy to participate as a mentor.

Kelsey and I doing a demo of the Dropbox API at #CampWHACK

One of the things I really liked about this hackathon was being assigned to a team for an entire weekend. It was great to sit with my team, learn about their interests and help them go from idea, to building their app, to learning an API for the first time, to deploying their app to the cloud and then demoing what they had built. I much prefer this to sitting at a booth or being a floating mentor.

The team I mentored at the hackathon deciding on their idea

I’m really glad I was a mentor at this hackathon and totally recommend that others get involved next year!

It was great to see first year students who have never even written HTML learn how to setup their own cloud server and deploy their very first app which used an API!

All in one weekend :)