George Hacks Kogan Makerweek 2020 Recap

Two weeks ago, George Hacks hosted Kogan Makerweek 2020 (October 11th-17th)! Traditionally held as our Annual Kogan Makerspace on the George Washington University campus, this year’s event mirrored the virtual learning environment that many students were required to adapt to in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Even through a fully virtual event, our goal was to provide an interactive platform to inspire impact-driven innovation in our community.

So what did our biggest event of the fall semester look like this year? Over the span of a week, our team connected with students through various digital tools in a series of hands-on activities, interactive workshops, and innovation challenges. Each session of programming was geared towards encouraging students to adopt the entrepreneurial “maker mindset” in a fun, engaging, and low-pressure environment, with numerous opportunities to win prizes!

To kick off our Makerweek, we invited Dr. Poh Shen Loh, a math professor at Carnegie Mellon University, to chat with us about his experience as a rising social entrepreneur. As founder of innovative learning platform expii.com, Dr. Loh very recently shifted his entrepreneurial focus towards developing NOVID, a COVID-19 application that generates pre-exposure notifications based on contact tracing in social networks. In addition to narrating his story, Dr. Loh generously shared his personal insights and tips for young student entrepreneurs looking to make a change in the world.

After our conversation with Dr. Loh, our event switched gears to bring the makerspace directly to students at home. Through several hands-on activities demoed over Zoom, our team introduced attendees to some of the technical concepts that drive modern innovation, such as basic electronics and energy principles. These follow-along DIY activities included a pen stylus, electric play-doh, a coin battery, a simple motor, a rubber band powered car, and a balloon powered car. Check out some of our student creations from the first day of Kogan Makerweek below!

In each of the subsequent days of Kogan Makerweek, we presented students with a hands-on workshop or innovation challenge. Our three beginner-friendly workshops on 3D modeling, circuits / Arduino, and entrepreneurship each saw fantastic participation from attendees. Featured below are some of the things students were able to make learning a new skill / software for the first time!

In addition to the live sessions, our team was also thrilled to see the creative solutions to the various innovation challenges that we released throughout the week! Showcased here are (left) a makeshift boat constructed from cardboard and duct tape and (right) a custom mailing label for George Hacks!

To wrap up Kogan Makerweek, our team reviewed an outstanding portfolio of student submissions for each of our prize opportunities! Congratulations to the following prize winners:

  • 3D Modeling Workshop Raffle
    • 3D Pen Kit: Yahaira Torres & Jerome Thompson
  • 3D Modeling Workshop Best Design
    • Roku Streaming Stick: Jerome Thompson
  • Circuits / Arduino Workshop Raffle
    • Belkin Smartphone Charger: Brittany Underwood & Sarah Coloma
  • Circuits / Arduino Workshop Best Design
    • Arduino Uno Starter Kit: Jerome Thompson
  • Entrepreneurship Workshop Raffle
    • Tile Pro Stickers: Ban Shoukeir & Cordelia Scales
  • Scavenger Hunt Random Drawing
    • $95 Allbirds Digital Gift Card: Brittany Underwood
  • Makerweek Challenge #1: Makeshift Boat
    • AboveTEK Laptop Desk: Brittany Underwood
  • Makerweek Challenge #2: Address Label
    • Amazon All-New Echo Dot: Sarah Coloma
  • Social Media Trivia Questions
    • $5 Gift Cards: Jillian Adams, Ban Shoukeir, Isaiah Perantes, Sarah Coloma, Cordelia Scales, Gabi Petrillo, and Justina Pruski

Coming soon: Our next big event will be our Fourth Annual Medical Solutions Hackathon to be hosted January 23rd-24th, 2021. Be sure to be on the lookout for more information about how we’re planning to adapt our flagship medical hackathon into a virtual event!

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