Cal Hacks

Lead UC Berkeley’s annual 2300+ student hackathon, with two new beginner and accelerator initiatives.

Role: Director of Operations and Finance

Tools: Notion, Google Drive, Slack, Asana, Sendgrid, Typeform, etc.

Product
Strategy

This is our Cal Hacks 5.0 D'doski!! We change the bear logo every year but have a consistent logo called our hackaNEILe.

Overview

Held at UC Berkeley, Cal Hacks is world’s largest student-run 36-hour collegiate hackathon, hosting over 2200+ hackers from 50 universities and several countries from around the world, where students come to build everything from mind-controlled Tesla’s to language learning with machine learning and artificial intelligence.

To summarize, my role is similar to that of a chief operating officer and chief financial officer — ensuring that everything from high level work, like creating a roadmap of the jobs that will be delegated, to small details, like signing the thank you cards we give our judges, gets completed.

Our most recent iteration is Cal Hacks 5.0, held the weekend Nov. 2 through Nov. 4. 2018 and it will be my third Cal Hacks. I joined the Cal Hacks team back in Spring 2016 and have donned a variety of hats across the team, working in logistics, finance, marketing, sponsorship and other elements here and there.

At Cal Hacks 4.0, I helped spearhead two new initiatives and improving them for 5.0:

  • CubStart - a beginner friendly program, designed to help first-time hackers into the world of technology by providing workshops, mentors and resources a few weeks before the hackathon.
  • Fellowship - a program focused on guiding and pushing hacker projects forward after the hackathon, moving past the initial building stage into the next stage, whatever that may be.

This year, one of the biggest changes we are making to the hackathon is how we address eco-friendly and sustainability efforts. I’m personally excited to announce that we are one of the first large scale events to eliminate plastic water bottles for hackers and replace them with water refilling stations across the venue. We also are handing out functional, practical quality swag that we’ve deliberately chosen and designed.

Internally, something I've been working on is creating a wiki containing all of the information one needs to run both a hackathon and a successful Cal Hacks hackathon. Ever year, the new directors would have to ask the old alumni how to do something, over and over again, making it consistently difficult to track of data and past information — essentially building the wheel time and time again. Not this time.

For more detailed information, please reach out to learn more about everything that goes into running a hackathon or anything else you'd want to know about what I do at Cal Hacks.