JumboCode hosts successful hackathon

JumboCode, Tufts Department of Computer Science’s biggest student group, recently hosted the first student-run computer science hackathon in five years.
Participants at the 2024 Jumbohack event.

Tufts JumboCode, an undergraduate student group largely comprised of students from the Department of Computer Science, recently hosted JumboHack, the first hackathon held by Tufts computer science students in the last five years. The event ran February 17-18, 2024 in Tufts’ Joyce Cummings Center. Hackathons are social coding events that bring together computer programmers and other interested parties to improve upon or build new software programs over the course of a set timeframe – in this case, 48 hours. In the past, there were up to three student-run hackathons a year at Tufts, but this year’s event was the first to be hosted since the pandemic struck.

A group of six JumboCode members – computer science majors Lucas Maley, A24; Tyler Thompson, E24; Lillian Tran, A26; Holden Kittelberger, E26; and Dilanur Bayraktar, E26; and human factors engineering major Mina Terzioglu, E24 – organized and ran the 2024 hackathon, which had over 170 students in attendance, with support from ten additional members who helped with staffing and workshops.The weekend event featured numerous talks and workshops, including discussions on generative AI and skills that can be learned beyond college. The event offered four project tracks: education, environmentalism, general, and political awareness and racial justice advocacy. Among the judges were Tufts Department of Computer Science faculty members, including Assistant Teaching Professors Karen Edwards, Dave Lillethun, and Milod Kazerounian, and Associate Teaching Professor Megan Monroe. In addition, there were five alumni judges – Jackson Parsells, A23, Vicky Zhang, A23, Denzel Oduro, A22, Ben London, E21, and Becca Miller E22

This year, around 140 students collaborated on the various projects, with an additional 30 students from other student organizations also participating and giving performances throughout the weekend. Participating student groups included Cooperation and Innovation in Citizenship (CIVIC), the GNU/Linux User Group (TUGSLUG), Black Students in Computer Science (BSCS), Engineers Without Borders (EWB), and the a cappella group the Low-Keys and street percussion group the BEATs. In addition, many current students and alumni volunteered to host skill-centered training and insightful talks relating to the computer science industry, such as “Navigating AI, Cyber Law, and the Political Landscape.”

Joyce Cummings Center was bustling with busy bodies and bright ideas as teams scrambled to come up with different innovations for each of the four tracks. By the end of the two-day event, four projects stood out to the judges and attendees. The winning projects were:

  • MyVoterInfo: Overall Winner, Political Awareness and Racial Justice Advocacy Track Winner, Most Impactful
  • Tufts Meal Plan Wrapped: Overall Winner, General Track Winner, Most Complete
  • Rizzing Up Invasive Species: Environmentalism Track Winner, Most Creative
  • OfficeMinutes: Education Track Winner, Most Innovative

Each member of the teams receiving an Overall Winner award got to choose a prize from the options of a pair of Airpods, an Amazon Echo Speaker, or an air fryer.

The event would not have been possible without the efforts of the JumboHack Organizing Team, who took on running the event outside of the regular work they do with JumboCode, as well as support from other groups. 

Reflecting on the experience, Maley found that planning the event was “incredibly rewarding [and] very worthwhile.” He felt that the organizing team’s attitude and dedication was critical to JumboHack’s success. “Everyone put so much energy and love into the event, and it really showed once the hackathon rolled around,” he said.

This year’s JumboHack was not only an opportunity to put technical skills to the test and compete for prizes, but also a chance to partake in a vibrant community at Tufts and continue to gain inspiration from peers for personal growth. “There were so many incredible projects and seeing the fruits of everyone’s labor in one place was just so cool. I couldn’t have asked for a more gratifying culmination of all the work put into JumboHack,” said Maley.

Interested in becoming a judge or volunteering for next year? Please contact JumboCode members via email at board@jumbocode.org or follow the Instagram account @jumbo.hack for more information.


Computer Science