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SWEY Hackathon encourages future engineers

Posted on 9 April 2015

Celebrating its first birthday, the Society for Women in Engineering at York (SWEY) held a successful Hackathon in the Department of Computer Science in February.

SWEY was formed by members of the Departments of Computer Science and Electronics at the University of York in response to the lack of equal gender representation within STEM subjects nationwide. One of the Society’s main goals is to encourage an interest in engineering in children from a young age.

The purpose of the Hackathon was for competitors to create a computer game based on an engineering topic that could be demonstrated in the classroom, and seven teams answered the call for participation. Representatives from the Bank of America Merrill Lynch kindly donated the prize fund, and were on hand to offer advice and act as judges. Representing the target audience, three children were invited to the evening session to provide valuable critiques of the participants’ work.

The winning team of four students from the Department of Electronics created a game designed to teach children about computer programming. By entering commands such as “run”, “jump” and “wait”, players could control a cleverly animated character. The competition’s runners up were from the Department of Computer Science, with a colourful game to teach children about different logic gates.

Organiser Anna Bramwell-Dicks from the Department of Computer Science said, “We were staggered by variety and breadth of the games ideas, which ranged from aerodynamic flight simulators to choices of logic gates.

“We’re currently organising visit days to local primary schools to showcase the exciting range of engineering topics that fall under the banner of Computer Science and Electronics. We hope to be able to take some of the games developed in the Hackathon to these sessions in the summer term.”

She continued: “SWEY is here to prove that engineering is a fantastic career choice for both women and men. We hope that SWEY’s presence within the Departments of Computer Science and Electronics will be encouraging to future students, and will help to inspire more women to consider pursuing a degree in Engineering-related subject.”

SWEY is open to all members of the Departments of Computer Science and Electronics. If you would like to join the Society, please email the team at

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