Date: August 7th, 2021
Location: Virtual

The All Girls Hackathon by Shooting Stars Foundation garners hundreds of registrants girls from 85 countries, encourages them to pursue programming

The Shooting Stars Foundation hosted an international all girl hackathon event at the beginning of August. 600 girls from over 85 countries registered for this event. The participants were very eager as many had never attended a hackathon before.

We kicked off our hackathon series on July 31st as a panel of four extraordinary women shared their stories and experiences as well as shared advice targeted towards young female leaders. 

Thank you to Ayelet Gazit (Director of Learning and Development, Customer Success, KRYON), Preethy Padmanabhan (Head of Platform Product Marketing, Freshworks), Sowmiya Narasimhan (Senior Engineering Manager,Apple), and Hema Sundaram(Head of Enterprise Data Analytics and Business Intelligence, Portland General Electric) for inspiring the young girls around getting into technology, standing up for their rights, and pursuing their passion.

A week before the hackathon, technology mentors trained all participants on skills including HTML, CSS, Javascript, and tips and tricks for competing in and winning a hackathon.

On August 7th the 24 hour hackathon began, The participants were challenged to create a project based on our theme: “Future Women”. This theme was chosen to empower the female participants and motivate them to pursue a career in tech. Uma Meyyappan (Head of Product Innovation, LPL Financial) spoke about the future in tech as a woman and gave the girls advice in her keynote speech Climbing the Technology Ladder in Heels. With Uma’s words of inspiration fresh in their minds, the hackathon participant teams started their projects. They were guided by more than 10 project mentors and approximately 15 tech mentors, helping the teams navigate through their roadblocks for a continuous 24 hours on discord.

Eight wonderful judges made the tough decision of choosing the winners amid numerous great products. Thank you to Revathi Sreedar (Business Operations Specialist, Cisco), Padma Purushothaman (Product Lead, Airbnb), Lakshmi Palaniappan (Senior Software Engineer, IBM), Irina Groysman (Business Consulting Manager, ZS), Stacey Phillip (Assistant General Counsel, Neustar), Danielle Zazula (Senior Director of Sales, Neustar), Subha Sriram (Founder/CEO, Stratiqe Inc), and Sireesha Chakka (Senior Quality Assurance Engineer,Workday) for your feedback and patience with the teams.

Some exceptional projects included:

  • Smart Pier Glass: uses artificial intelligence that tells its users the appropriate products for their skin and hair
  • Star Bracelet: a solution to sexual assault and violence against women to be used around the world for their safety where a click of a button will alert people who can help.
  • PinPurple: allows users to anonymously share stories and alert authorities and trusted contacts in case of emergency with an interactive platform, emergency bell system, and a danger mapping system.
  • Supermoms; empowers moms by providing resources relating to problems with maternal health, career opportunities and more with the use of a chat-bot and calendar.

Some heartwarming feedback:

“My favorite parts of the Hackathon were the workshops, because we learned the basics of HTML, CSS and Javascript and we got to know new people from all over the world. and we got to apply what we had learned from the workshops.” (Zenitha Pereira, Timor-Leste).

“Hema, Chief Data Officer and Women in Tech Panelist was so excited and transmitted that energy to us, and she wanted us to have the necessary tools to continue in this programming and coding world” (Gabriela Verdezoto, Ecuador).

“Uma’s passion in her field of work-how she inspires others, especially women, to pursue whatever we passion for no matter the obstacles that we would have to face.” (Fatin Kamal, Malaysia).

Participants were thankful to the mentors for “joining the call on discord with my team and giving us constructive advice which I believe helped us in knowing the next step to take.” (Micaela Mclean, Jamaica).

Look out for Shooting Stars partnership with IBM to provide the next innovative IBM Z Hackathon to college students on September 25th, 2021.


This hackathon and Starhacks as a whole is a part of the Shooting Stars Foundation, a US based 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to help eliminate the cycle of generational poverty through STEM education. To read more:

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