Introducing the New Director of TechTogether Boston, Sarina Simon

Fiona Whittington
Jul 24, 2020 · 5 min read
Photo of Sarina Simon, Director of TechTogether Boston 2020.

Hello! Please introduce yourself and your role in TechTogether Boston.

Hi! I’m Sarina the Director of TechTogether Boston(TTB) 2020 Virtual. I am a rising senior at Boston University studying Mathematics Education with a minor in Computer Science. As the Director of TTB, I oversee our 5 amazing teams (30 organizers) and lead them to create the best experience for our hackers!

Why did you join the TechTogether Boston organizing team? How can other students get involved with TechTogether Boston?

I joined the TechTogether Boston organizing team 3 years ago as a member of the Marketing team. I had just declared my minor in Computer Science and wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do with it. One day, I was doing homework with some friends at Spark! when Fiona asked us if we wanted to help her organize a gender-focused hackathon. At first, I was hesitant because I didn’t know too much about the technology industry and knew even less about hackathons. However, Fiona assured me that I needed no experience and any help was appreciated. Saying yes was hands down one of the best decisions I have made in my college career. There was a huge learning curve where I realized TechTogether wasn’t like the other hackathons I volunteered at. TechTogether has a mission to empower our hackers and bridge the gender gap in the tech industry and each organizer internalizes this which creates for a super impactful and rewarding hackathon.

This mission especially resonates with me because as a future educator, my goal is to inspire my students to push boundaries and create their own paths to success. The ability to help high school girls learn about STEM is an opportunity I could never pass up.

If you are interested in getting involved with TechTogether Boston, just ask! We are super accommodating and do our best to find a spot for anyone interested in TTB. Earlier this year we onboarded a stellar group of 30 organizers, we have a Brand Ambassador Program and are always looking for volunteers to help out at our event. I’ll take this moment to plug our socials @techtogetherboston (Instagram) TechTogether Boston (Facebook and LinkedIn) and check out our website boston.techtogether.io for more information!

What are you most excited about for TechTogether Boston 2020? What aspect of the event being virtual are you most excited about?

I am most excited about the workshops and speakers. At TechTogether Boston 2020 virtual, we are planning on packing the schedule with educational workshops and inspirational speakers focused on these three tracks of personal growth, social change, and environmental change. Being virtual allows us to reach hackers that may not have been able to attend our event due to travel restrictions.

What is your favorite aspect of hackathons?

My favorite aspect of the hackathon is interacting with the hackers during that final stretch before judging. Last year was especially fun because I just acted as a cheerleader for those hackers burning the midnight oil at the hackathon. I was able to help teams develop pitches for their projects and did my best to keep their spirits up through what seemed like hopeless debugging.

Do you have any advice for someone who’s interested in attending a hackathon but may be intimidated?

The biggest advice I can give someone who’s interested in attending a hackathon is just: SAY YES! Hackathons are a great place to develop your skills, network with hackers and employers, and just have fun. So, be bold and ask questions you never know what door it might open.

Any secret talents or hobbies?

I’m a pretty energetic person so I love being outside, whether it’s going for a walk on the Esplanade, running around in my backyard, or dancing! I guess dancing is like a secret talent of mine because I have been dancing since I was 6. Although I stopped taking lessons a few years ago, I still love choreographing dances just for fun!

What do you wish I had asked and what would be your answer to that question?

Can you get involved in hackathons even if you have no experience?

YES!!! As I mentioned before, I started with no experience but there was a huge learning curve as I went from sending emails, to creating and posting content for the hackathon to now directing TechTogether Boston! I am still learning so much but looking back and seeing how much I have grown is so rewarding.

What do the teams look like?

TechTogether Boston has 5 subteams: Marketing, Outreach, Operations, Partnerships, and Technology.

The Marketing team is focused on advertising for our event. Although being the smallest team, they are a force to be reckoned with. The team has such great ideas to engage our hackers on all platforms and develop creative cross-promotion with other hackathons and student organizations.

The Outreach Team is a new team for TechTogether Boston. This team focuses on community outreach to high schools and colleges around the Boston area. Being virtual this year, the Outreach Team is also looking for places to host hackers who may not have access to computers and wifi.

The Operations team is responsible for the run-of-show. They have been working hard brainstorming the best platform for the virtual hackathon, reaching out to potential mentors and speakers, and will eventually organize the schedule and logistics for the hackathon.

The Partnerships team connects with companies and organizations to fundraise for our hackathon to keep it free for hackers and to create an engaging experience with cool workshops, recruiting opportunities, and SWAG!

The Tech team created the eye-catching website mentioned earlier and will also code and develop the live site for the event! Alongside the Operations team, they have been researching event apps that will lend to a smoother hackathon experience!

Any final thoughts?

I hope you took away at least one thing from this interview, whether it’s how amazing TechTogether Boston is or how crazy I am for staying up from 2AM — 6AM dancing around Agganis. Regardless, the TechTogether Boston team is super fun and on behalf of the team, we hope you are staying safe and healthy during these unprecedented times.

Please reach out to us if you have any questions!

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/techtogetherboston/

Website: https://boston.techtogether.io

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TechTogether

Redefining the Hacker Stereotype

TechTogether

TechTogether, the nation’s largest initiative to address the gender inequities in the hackathon community, supports over 10,000 hackers. TechTogether is credited in part with increasing the gender diversity of the hackathon community by 18% from 2019 to 2020.

Fiona Whittington

Written by

A marketer with a passion for startups, technology, and education.

TechTogether

TechTogether, the nation’s largest initiative to address the gender inequities in the hackathon community, supports over 10,000 hackers. TechTogether is credited in part with increasing the gender diversity of the hackathon community by 18% from 2019 to 2020.