On April 21st, hundreds of high school and college students convened at the Int’l School Nido de Aguilas in Santiago, Chile, in what became the first truly international Def Hacks event. The event started off with two workshops—”Programming in Python” for high schoolers and “Developing Applications with Microsoft Azure” for college students, delivered by Genevieve Knaus (high school teacher) and Francisco Valenzuela (Microsoft SE) respectively.
Unlike our previous hackathon settings, this particular event posed a great challenge: 99% of high schoolers did not know how to write a single line of code. To tackle this problem, we decided to divide the hackathon into two sections: high school and college.
While high schoolers learned how to code and implemented their knowledge through different puzzles–FizzBuzz, kinematics calculators, sierpinski triangle, etc—college students were prompted by the challenge of developing something that could potentially grow into a business.
Over the next 26 hours, college students developed projects that would soon be judged by the judges: Vicente Valencia of Pontificia Universidad Católica, Ignacio Carmach of Microsoft, Wilson Pais of Microsoft, and Genevieve Knaus of Nido de Aguilas. The winning team, “Wally Bot,” developed a college-student friendly A.I assistant application, earning mentorship at start-up incubator StartUp Chile and access to luxurious offices at EdgeCowork (shared office space).
The Def Hacks Chile team is extremely happy with the outcome of this event; some learned to program for the first time, some finally developed projects they’ve been sitting on for years, and all left with a better understanding of how important programming is in today’s rapidly-evolving world. We would like to extend a final “thank you” to our sponsors, Microsoft, Name.com, MLH, Chaxa Radiology, EdgeCowork, StartUp Chile, iVicon NASA School, and Kingston!