UACES Facebook RockCity Hacks gives high school coders a pro-style venue to show their skills
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RockCity Hacks gives high school coders a pro-style venue to show their skills

Jan. 4, 2019

By Mary Hightower

U of A System Division of Agriculture

Fast facts

 (304 words)

(Newsrooms – with graphic at https://flic.kr/p/QTChQu. ‘RockCity’ as one word is CQ)

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LITTLE ROCK – Students in grades 9-12 can give their coding skills a real-world workout during the RockCity Hacks, April 27-28.

“Arkansas high school students are learning coding and other computer skills, especially in light of Gov. Hutchinson’s initiatives,” said Julie Robinson, assistant professor, program and staff development for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. “What they don’t have are a lot of local opportunities in the hackathon realm. Here’s a hackathon that’s not in Las Vegas or Austin, Texas, or elsewhere.” 

RockCity Hacks flyer
ROCKCITY Hacks flier.

“With RockCity Hacks, we’re offering a competition that’s more like what college and professional hackers have,” she said. “Corporations and other entities often hold hackathons when they’re stumped and are looking for fresh thinking or a solution to a problem.”

However, like those out-of-state pro hackathons, RockCity Hacks will give competitors a chance to solve real problems affecting real people.

“We’ll be asking them to help us problem-solve,” Robinson said. “They will be using the data our researchers have produced for different use cases they can solve. This is real-world legit.”

What makes this event unique is the subject matter, she said. It’s sponsored by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

“We want to introduce kids to ag – which is a very tech-driven field,” Robinson said. “Most people don’t realize how tech-heavy agriculture can be, with irrigation, GPS, remote sensing and other technologies.”

Nuts and bolts

RockCity Hacks will be hosted at the Vines Center in Ferndale, just west of Little Rock (See: https://thevinescenter.org/ ). Teams must have a minimum of two members and a maximum of four. There is no cost to enter.

RockCity Hacks begins at 9 a.m., Saturday, April 27, and ends at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 28. There will be awards for overall winner, as well as various categories.

For event info, visit https://www.uaex.edu/hackathon/rockcityhacks.aspx. To register, visit  https://uaex.formstack.com/forms/rockcityhacks.

About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses. 

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact 479-575-4607 as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay. 

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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126
mhightower@uaex.edu

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