Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Hack for Humanity: Q&A with E-Board President Priyanka Shetty, '19

What makes Hack for Humanity different from other Brown University Hackathons?

Hack for Humanity is unique in that it is specifically aimed at addressing the humanitarian field instead of focusing on developing specific skill sets. This means that this Hackathon is not strictly for computer science students or engineering students, but rather focuses on involving students in a variety of fields to work on solutions together. Humanitarian issues are complex and require the cooperation and involvement of those in multiple fields from politics, medicine, computer science, engineering and more.

What do you hope students will gain from participating in this hackathon?

As a hackathon, obviously, the biggest goal is for students to come out of the event with more concrete ideas of solutions for humanitarian issues or at least a better understanding of what these problems actually involve. I hope that this hackathon can serve as a valuable experience to introduce students to the complex and often inaccessible humanitarian field and give them a better understanding of relevant issues and ways to address them. This conference will also serve as a connection between students and those working in the humanitarian field, giving them the opportunity to interact with learn more about the topic of this year’s hackathon, which is the Rohingya Refugee crisis.

As the planning for this event comes together, about what are you most excited?

I am most excited to see the interactions between students of different fields coming together for two days to work on solutions to the challenges we’ve given them and the resulting projects that can potentially come out of this conference. Personally, I’m also excited to meet likeminded people who share a passion for humanitarian work.