oSTEM Conference Hackathon

Each year oSTEM hosts an annual Hackathon in partnership with local LGBTQ+ nonprofits.  Our Hackathon is both a fun technical challenge with awards and prizes, but also a great chance to make new friends and network with others in similar fields. We're looking for enthusiastic students and mentors with skills in software development who are interested in using technology and engineering to solve problems for the queer community. We encourage our teams to develop functional prototypes that we can leave with our partner organization that they can continue to develop at their own discretion.


How does the Hackathon work?

At the Hackathon, we form small teams of student-led groups (balancing experience and skill, and sometimes pairing with professional mentors from industry) to build an app, game, or other technology that solves a challenge related to a real-world need for our partner organization. Teams will form early Thursday morning, select challenge-sets to tackle, work at their own pace until Friday morning, and finally present a demo of their solution to a panel of judges. Awards will then be presented during the main conference plenary session with an assortment of prizes provided by our sponsors.

Our Sponsor This Year:
We'd like to thank our Hackathon sponsor, Lockheed Martin, for helping us ensure a comfortable, fun, and rewarding event!

Frequently Asked Questions


What is a hackathon?
A hackathon is an event where people get together and collaborate in teams to develop new ideas into realities. Hackathons usually involve developing technology like apps, websites, or other types of programs from scratch. Individuals of various levels of coding experience from novice to expert are encouraged to join!

Who can join the hackathon?
Anyone can register for the hackathon but we strongly encourage oSTEM student members to lead and participate in the teams! We're also looking for professionals of all skill levels to be hackathon coaches and mentors to work alongside our student teams.  Just register for the conference using the link above and be sure to select the hackathon add-on option.

How much does the hackathon cost?
The hackathon only requires your time and hard work - we will not charge you for participating.  And our generous sponsors are also covering refreshments, meals, and snacks to keep you fueled as you work!

What do I need to bring to participate?
oSTEM will provide space, power, wifi access, and food throughout the course of the hackathon.  You should bring a laptop or mobile device that will let you work with your team to both build and present your solution to the judges.

I am a professional part of a company/organization, how can I get involved?
There are two ways! We are still looking for organizations to help sponsor the hackathon. If you are interested please contact conference@ostem.org. You can also participate in the hackathon yourself helping mentor and assist students in creating something for the hackathon. If you'd like to do that you can just register for the hackathon normally.

Do I need technical skills to participate?
You should be basically "techie" in order to enjoy the full experience at the hackathon, but you do not need to be skilled in any particular technology area.  We will form small teams that prioritize engineers, designers, and programmers as the core of the group.  But we need project managers, artists, organizers, writers, testers, and presenters as well.  If you have any of these types of skills and want to have a great time building something new with a team of geeks, then the hackathon is for you!