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Stetson’s Greater Central Florida Tech Faire + HatterHacks Sparks Innovation

Computer coding is used to create apps and phones, robots and other gadgets with technology, which is one of the most important skills in the world today. The Greater Central Florida Tech Faire + HatterHacks at Stetson University, hosted by Stetson HackerSpace, the university’s official computer science club, is planting a technology-building seed by providing high school and college students with an opportunity to collaborate in computer science challenges and workshops, tech talks, a code competition, gaming tournament and other activities during its fourth annual spring hackathon.

men sit at computers working

No coding experience is required for the free, three-day event, April 5-7, on the Stetson University DeLand campus. Participants will need to register and bring their own laptops. Complimentary food, drinks and parking will be provided.

The fun starts with a 12-hour Day of Learning on Friday, April 5, at 7 p.m., in Elizabeth Hall, 421 N. Woodland Blvd., DeLand, 32723. The Day of Learning will be preparing hackers or builders for the hackathon by providing them with educational information during workshops and crash courses.

Next is a 24-hour HatterHacks hackathon, beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 6, in the Edmunds Center, 143 E. Pennsylvania Ave., DeLand, 32720. The hackathon concludes at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 7.

The Greater Central Florida Tech Faire + HatterHacks is sponsored by Electronic Arts, Electrosonic, the City of Orlando, Particle, Inc., Major League Hacking and Monster Beverage. The goal is to educate students about STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and computer science during activities and workshops while providing them with the skills to create technology.

Joshua Eckroth, Ph.D.

“Stetson faculty and workshop leaders will be teaching students about coding, app design and ethical hacking during the hackathon’s numerous workshops and crash courses,” said Joshua Eckroth, Ph.D., assistant professor of computer science at Stetson University. “The core hackathon event allows students to practice what they have learned in a social and collaborative environment. Hackathons naturally encourage small communities to form in which students learn from each other and work together to build sophisticated projects in a single weekend.”

The Greater Central Florida Tech Faire + HatterHacks is advantageous for students.

portrait in front of an academic display board with charts, etc.
Heyley Gatewood

“I strongly believe that computer science is a skill that can only benefit you from this point forward because computer science is a global phenomenon,” said math and computer science junior Heyley Gatewood. “It’s everywhere. We carry technology in our backpacks and pockets and on our wrists. Computer science isn’t as scary as it seems from the outside. You can’t be afraid to take the first step, and you can’t be afraid of failure. Embrace your ignorance and mistakes because they only make room for more understanding.”

“The need for talented programmers and hackers has grown dramatically over the last couple of decades and continues to accelerate,” expressed Eckroth. “The nation needs more people who are really good at building complex software. The Day of Learning and HatterHacks hackathon helps students learn new techniques and practice those techniques in a close community and unique all-day and all-night setting, and strengthens the bonds between the student participants and each other as well as in their artful craft.”

-Sandra Carr

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