Global tech panel weighs in at local hackathon

Alycia Douglass

Published on March 17, 2017
From left, Kevin Lajoie moderated the Hack to the Future tech panel which included Sean Scrivener of Salesforce Ireland, Sage Franch of Microsoft Canada, Mark Rossetti of Code for America, Jason Shim from Pathways to Education, and Jessica Bredschneider of Benefits by Design. (Alycia Douglass/TC Media)

CORNWALL, Ontario - After a week chock full of digital march break activities, Code Heroes hosted their largest hackathon to date. Featuring a tech panel from San Francisco to Dublin, the event allowed participants and spectators the opportunity to gain valuable knowledge from industry professionals.

“A lot of these kids were at the March Break Camp, and were really enthusiastic about it,” said Code Heroes founder, Kelly Bergeron. “So we encouraged them to come out and do the hackathon.”

This time around the event featured two age groups; 8-15 and 16 and up. “Usually our hackathons are 12 and up, but we wanted to get some younger kids in to cultivate the interest at a younger age.”

In an industry where women are still vastly outnumbered, Bergeron said that another happy feat was an increase in female participation.

“At a certain age, girls do tend to drop off, so we’re just trying to keep the momentum,” said Bergeron. “It was really important for me to show some really successful, awesome speakers that were women so the girls can see that they can do that as well.”

Panellists included Sean Scrivener of Salesforce Ireland, Sage Franch of Microsoft Canada, Mark Rossetti of Code for America, Jason Shim from Pathways to Education, and Jessica Bredschneider of Benefits by Design. Public Information Coordinator with the City of Cornwall and Pearl Jam enthusiast, Kevin Lajoie was on hand to moderate the panel, which touched on everything from advice to young tech enthusiasts to the future of technology.

“In the tech industry, the proof is in the pudding,” said Rossetti. “So when you reach a certain point, you’ve got to go make some pudding.”

Franch said that one of the things she enjoys most about technology is its ever-changing nature, laughing that her job title of tech evangelist didn’t even exist when she was younger. “There’s so many jobs that you may work in the future that don’t even exist yet,” said Franch.

The event wrapped up with presentations, with the youth award going to team Food World, winning $500. In the 16 and up category was team JOLT, also taking home a combined $500 in prize money.