Chapel Hill, N.C.– Pearl Hacks 2016 started off like many other university hackathons– events where students gather to build and program new technology. Early in the morning, participants signed in, stashed sleeping bags in unused classrooms and headed to opening ceremonies.

Looking across the auditorium during the ceremonies, it was obvious what makes Pearl Hacks unique: all the participants are women.

And that’s a big deal. According to the National Center for Women in Information Technology women only account for 18% of computer and information science undergraduate degrees.

Participants at Pearl Hacks see, first-hand, that they’re not alone in their passions and fields of study– that there are colleagues and friends across the world waiting to collaborate with them.

Click the circle buttons below to take a closer look at what went on at Pearl Hacks 2016.

The Superwoman story lets you be a fly on the wall as a team experiences the rollercoaster 24-hours of the hackathon. The Q&A lets you in on tips and tricks from one of the few women venture capitalists. And the Boys of Pearl Hacks story introduces you to one of Pearl Hacks’ many male volunteers.



Pearl Hacks 2016 was an inspiring event to be a part of. Women of all skill levels and backgrounds collaborated to create new technology in just 24 hours. Though currently a minority, women have the power to — and are– making waves in technology.

Check out the photo gallery below to see some of those women in action.

  • A Pearl Hacks organizer unwraps stickers.
  • Pearl Hacks founder, Maegan Clawges, speaks at Opening Ceremonies.
  • Opening Ceremonies kicks off 24 hours of hacking.
  • Sponsors gather to meet with hackers and recruit for internships and jobs.
  • Sponsors always bring good swag.
  • Hackers get to meet all kinds of different people in their chosen field.
  • Teams learn at a wearables workshop.
  • An intense cup stacking competition took place.
  • Fun activities give hackers a brain break.
  • A team balances cups atop their tower.
  • A little Zumba at midnight.
  • Teams show off their hacks at the Demo Fair.
  • A team demonstrates how their app helps consumers find safe beauty products.
  • The top six teams demonstrate their hacks at Closing Ceremonies
  • Awards and prizes wait to be given out.
  • Team Superwoman collects their award for Best Rookie Hack.


Learn more about Pearl Hacks —

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By | Samantha Harrington, Hannah Doksanksy and Hrisanthi Kroi