UPE at FIU hosts largest hackathon in Florida with prime tech corporations in attendance | FIU Information

A drowsy school pupil peels himself out of a sleeping bag because the morning solar illuminates the Kovens Convention Middle. Unfold out round him, coders sit at spherical tables, clicking away on their keyboards. A lady in an FIU sweater paces forwards and backwards by the window, pumping her arms and bopping her head whereas jamming to music. A younger man carrying a big fishing hat bounces a seashore ball on the ground, skirting between tables embellished with Cheetos baggage and soda cans. 

Time is sort of up on the 36-hour coding marathon generally known as ShellHacks. Each hacker right here has a seemingly completely different strategy to their craft, but they share a commonality that’s so highly effective, that it creates an incredible neighborhood that draws the most important companies on this planet.  

College students with a love for expertise are invited yearly to create pc functions at ShellHacks. Hosted by Upsilon Pi Epsilon (UPE) at FIU, this 12 months’s ShellHacks was as soon as once more the most important hackathon in Florida. Sponsoring the proceedings had been Google, Microsoft, Meta and different prime corporations like Statefarm, Capital One and Kaseya. 

ShellHacks 2022 marked the primary in-person model of the occasion since 2019. With 36 hours to code, college students made functions associated to digital actuality, gaming, cash administration, philanthropy and extra. Individuals had the choice of teaming up or working individually.  

“You discover a spot, get arrange and begin coding,” stated Alex Chirinos, a junior pc science main at FIU. “When you end or get burnt out, you go downstairs, get pleasure from your meals, have some enjoyable after which return on the grind.”

Chirinos reveals off one among his giveaways. 


Between coding classes, workshops helped hackers with their functions and a job honest linked college students to recruiters from prime tech corporations, which traveled to the occasion trying to meet expertise. 

Cesar Villa-Garcia ’18, the founding father of UPE and one of many group’s alumni board members, says that ShellHacks has turn into a pipeline for FIU college students to prime expertise jobs. 

“I really like seeing the sponsors coming to assist, whether or not it’s native sponsors right here in Miami and even ones from the San Francisco Bay Space, Seattle or New York,” Villa-Garcia says. “These are corporations that come all the way down to Miami to particularly recruit FIU and Miami tech expertise. We’ve been capable of present 12 months after 12 months that the expertise is right here.” 

Villa-Garcia says greater than 500 of the members had been from FIU’s School of Engineering and Computing. From 2017 to 2022, the variety of undergraduate levels awarded by FIU’s Knight Faculty of Computing and Data Sciences elevated by 99%. A whole bunch of scholars from the College of Florida, the College of Central Florida and the College of South Florida additionally got here to ShellHacks. 

Purposes had been judged by business consultants and prizes had been awarded to winners. Nonetheless, ShellHacks was greater than only a competitors. Attendees who didn’t really feel able to take part within the hackathon however needed to study extra about expertise got here too, taking part in workshops, Tremendous Smash Bros. tournaments, Pokémon trivia and cup-stacking competitions. 

Greater than 4,000 FIU college students and alumni have gotten concerned with UPE at FIU since its founding in 2014, Villa-Garcia says. The group continues to develop as FIU continues to supply tech expertise.

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