High School TechOlympics 2022 will feature an inaugural hackathon

The Greater Cincinnati INTERalliance, a student-run nonprofit that promotes computer science career paths for teens, is gearing up for its 13th annual high school technology conference with a new twist.

TechOlympics 2022: BYTE Back will feature a two-day virtual conference with breakout sessions and keynotes scheduled for February 19-20, followed by its first-ever hackathon event February 25-27, with a plethora of workshops and games for students’ elimination, according to a recent press release. The student-led conference aims to give high school students the opportunity to explore the tech industry, with more than 300 students and 35 companies expected to attend this month, and a variety of competitions ranging from golf to code and from “hacker’s paradise” to wiki races. and quick texts. The event will feature 10 competitions, 11 workshops and 38 breakout sessions, touching on a range of topics such as software development, cybersecurity, career readiness, data science, artificial intelligence, biomedical technologies and entrepreneurial.

Heather Ackels, Executive Director of INTERalliance, said Government Technology that the event going virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic was a blessing in disguise, its reach extending beyond greater Cincinnati to include students from other states such as California and Virginia, as well as Washington , DC Going forward, the plan is to make the event hybrid, allowing some students to attend in person and others to tune in from other states, she said, noting that the he virtual aspect also allowed event organizers to include speakers from around the world.

In addition to the breakout sessions, Ackels said students will have the opportunity to network and learn directly from local professionals at companies such as General Electric, Procter & Gamble and Anthem, and educators at universities such as the United States. University of Cincinnati in Northern Kentucky. University and Xavier University.

She said organizers were also thrilled to present “The Social Dilemma,” a dramatic 2020 documentary about how social media is reprogramming civilization, featuring tech pundits raising the alarm on their own. creations. The film’s director, Julia Hoppock, is one of the guest speakers at the conference, and Ackels noted that INTERalliance wants students to “make the world a better and safer place for them”, adding that the film will help students to embark on this path.

Another highlight of the conference, according to organizers, will be the TechOlympics Showcase. To enter, teams work with a coach from November through February with the goal of finding a solution to a real-world problem, then present the result as a team, virtually, to a panel of executive judges from across Cincinnati’s business community. . As an added boost, the event has thousands of dollars in prizes to give away over the two weekends.

New this year, the TechOlympics Hackathon will open the door for students to create some kind of innovation – for example in game design or product design, with dozens of business mentors available to guide them along the way. .

Ackels said the annual TechOlympics, which began as a small, multi-hour community conference, has evolved over the years into a much larger gathering whose reach extends far beyond the affluent suburban schools he targeted in his early days. years.

“We’re bringing in more students, not just from suburban areas, but from urban areas in our region and beyond… We’re putting a lot of emphasis on professional development,” Ackels said, noting that the conference is now 100 hours long. content distribution. over the two weeks. “We want to train future technology leaders who can communicate and think outside the box and learn the skills to be a technology leader of the future.”

TechOlympics is available to all students and teachers and is free. More information is available on the event website.

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