Featured image: Hackathon hosted by Conductor & ACA

Conductor & Arkansas Coding Academy partner to form Arkansas High School Hackathon

Conway Institute of Music

The Hackathon featured a day long coding event at the University of Central Arkansas  for area high school students to compete

February 25, 2020Conductor and Arkansas Coding Academy formed a unique partnership to develop the Arkansas High School Hackathon, hosted last week at the University of Central Arkansas.  The day long event allowed high school students from across central Arkansas to compete in coding and programming challenges.

“Hackathons are an incubator for innovation & entrepreneurship. We wanted to provide an opportunity for high school students to compete in coding based challenges to encourage coding careers, but also innovative thinking around technology,” said Grace Rains, Conductor Director of Operations, “ At its core, coding teaches problem solving skills by breaking up a complex problem into a series of steps. By arming students with the ability to code, they have an opportunity to find a problem, innovate to see a solution, and they have the coding skills to fully develop that solution.”

The students worked in teams of 4 to 6 students, completing a written coding test as well as technical, hands-on coding problems, facilitated by mentors and volunteers from the UCA Makerspace. The students were scored on their ability to solve the problems, in addition to how well they solved it.

Dr. Don Walker of the Arkansas Coding Academy said, “From a talent development standpoint, we not only want to get kids thinking about computer science careers, but we want to get them excited about the possibilities and the doors that open when they have a coding and programming skill set”.

The Hackathon was free for the participating schools and students, paid for by the hosts and corporate sponsor, Edafio Technology Partners. While on campus, students also had the opportunity to see a planetarium show at the new Conway Corporation Center for Sciences.

“The University of Central Arkansas has long valued the importance of being an environment dedicated to growing the skills and talents of students as well as building our community through partnerships. This was such an incredible opportunity for the UCA family to play a part in hosting this event. We are proud of all of the students that participated and we are excited about the future of each of these young innovators,” says Dr. Patricia Poulter, University of Central Arkansas Provost and Executive Vice President.

Over 45 students attended the Hackathon from across central Arkansas high schools, including 8 teams from Conway, Greenbrier, Maumelle and Vilonia. Dean Hargis of the UCA College of Business presented the awards. He emphasized the important role that technology and computer science plays on the UCA campus. Team 7 from Greenbrier High School won the overall competition, taking home a custom first place plaque, made on campus at the UCA Makerspace.

About the Conductor

The Conductor, a public-private partnership with the University of Central Arkansas and Startup Junkie Consulting, drives innovation, entrepreneurship and economic development in central Arkansas through high-impact programming, one-on-one consulting, commercialization support, talent development and collaboration.

About Arkansas Coding Academy

The Arkansas Coding Academy strives to provide talented individuals with the skills and mentorship they need to succeed in IT and IT-related industries in Arkansas. By creating this talent pipeline from the classroom to the workforce, we hope to see growth in middle and high-skilled employability and an increase in the overall welfare of our students and their families.


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