EPCC Hosts Second Hackathon to Strengthen Region’s Computer Systems

 El Paso Community College (EPCC) Computer Science Program is continuing its commitment to strengthening El Paso/Cd. Juarez computer systems against cybercriminals by hosting its second annual three-day Hackathon, November 16-18, 2023, in room 150 of the Arts Science and Technology (AST) building at EPCC’s Valle Verde Campus.

This event brings together students, educators, industry and leaders from both countries and will produce creative solutions to cybersecurity problems.

EPCC Computer Science Professor and event sponsor Dr. Christian Servin explains, “Our commitment as a community is to identify solutions to everyday challenges that impact our society, our population, and the future generations of ethical hackers in our society. We accomplish this through experiential learning competitions, such as the Hackathon. We hope this event serves as a pillar for similar events that engage both sides of the border in developing the border’s good.”

Hackathon participants will be from both countries and will be working together on their computers to develop solutions to computer security and safety challenges. On Thursday, participants will hear from a panel about the region’s cybersecurity and participate in a workshop led by professionals from White Sands Missile Range. Friday’s schedule features a brief motivational speech, with the Hackathon commencing at 10:00 a.m. The final day of the event will be the team’s presentations to the judges, with awards given to top-performers, including an outstanding Career and Technical Education (CTE) Award.

EPCC Computer Science Professor Nadia Karichev, who is co-organizing the event, has these words of encouragement, “Students should always look to participate in hackathons and similar collaborative and competitive environments since it brings out the best in a student. The hackathon is not always about winning but the answer to the questions – Were you able to make something you can be proud of, or what have you learned?”

The Hackathon is the culmination of an eight-workshop series held throughout the fall semester.  These workshops covered topics like Linux programming language and learning how to test software for vulnerabilities.

Both the workshops and hackathon provide professional development and experiential learning in cybersecurity-related topics for people with non-technical backgrounds. They also increase their cyber awareness. The goal is to address real-world security challenges in the border region.

The event is in partnership with the Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juarez (UACJ) and the Artificial Intelligence Center in Cd. Juarez, with the support of the Microsoft Corporation.