Pearl Hacks 2020 unites and empowers women in tech

Hundreds of women and non-binary students met in Chapel Hill for Pearl Hacks, a 24-hour hackathon facilitated by the UNC Department of Computer Science. The event was held from February 21 to 23 at the Frank Porter Graham Student Union.

Held for the seventh time since its inception in 2014, Pearl Hacks is one of the nation’s longest-running coding competitions for women and non-binary students in high school and college. Participants came from schools all over the East Coast to form teams and build projects in 24 hours or less. Teams were aided by tech industry mentors and workshops on a variety of topics, some of which were not related to tech. The event produced 71 unique submissions, many of which came from first-time coders.

The submissions’ topics varied from politics and advocacy to daily convenience to healthcare to financial literacy. Projects submitted included Fridge-Track, a web app that logs the contents of a refrigerator and will alert the user via SMS message when an item is nearing expiration; Once Upon a Code, an interactive game that makes programming accessible and enjoyable to young girls; and pear (short for Private Emergency-Assisted Response Application), a mobile app designed to support survivors of sexual violence and trauma and help them navigate different resources with ease. Many of the projects shared a focus on supporting and building community among women.

Pearl Hacks 2020 was made possible by generous support from CapTech Consulting, Twitter, Avalara, Capital One, Deutsche Bank, Genesys, nCino, Red Ventures, Wells Fargo, Appian, Bandwidth, Barings, Cisco, Credit Suisse, Fidelity, Google, Google Cloud, Macy’s, MetLife, Optum, RENCI, Splunk, Vanguard, WillowTree, The Carolina Inn, CS + Social Good Club at UNC, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, Guayaki, IBM, Innovate Carolina, Kaleido, Microsoft, Monster Energy, Palantir, Rewriting the Code, Samsung, SAS, and Sticker Mule.

For more information about Pearl Hacks, please visit

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