Past Attendee Spotlight: Brandon Yip

IMG_6127.JPGMeet Brandon Yip! He just graduated from Northeastern University as a Nursing major. Coming to HackBeanpot he had never written any code, but he wanted to try out something new his senior year and push himself out of his comfort zone.

“A lot of my friends had done HackBeanpot last year. I was going into my senior year and I kind of wanted to just try something new- try to push myself to be uncomfortable in that sense. HackBeanpot was the perfect event to do that because I knew people there, but I had zero coding background. And that was kind of the reason why because I knew that if I had gone I would be uncomfortable going, but that would be a good thing.”

Screen Shot 2018-07-22 at 9.56.49 PMAt HackBeanpot, Brandon and his team worked on a project called, which is a caption generator that uses Google Cloud Vision API to analyze a user’s uploaded photo and produce a caption relevant to that photo. During the uploading process,  it produces a gif that’s associated with the photo that’s being uploaded. Once the caption is produced, you can copy and paste that caption and upload it to Instagram or Twitter, or refresh to create a new caption.  Screen Shot 2018-07-22 at 10.13.53 PM

“I lead a 20-30 min brainstorming session for us to come with this idea. There was a couple of us at the start, and I told them “let’s spend 5 minutes and come up with as many ideas as possible, no matter how silly they are. Just come up with as many ideas of things you’re really interested in.” From there, what we filtered out and narrowed down our ideas. We narrowed it down from 50 to 5 ideas, this instagram caption generator being one of them. Then as a team we just debated the viability of the project and what it would take for us to produce it. When making our project, one of the biggest things we were trying to determine was would we have fun making this? Is this something that we genuinely love? We wanted to create something that was unique and that people would enjoy, including us.”   

Screen Shot 2018-07-22 at 10.14.24 PM

At HackBeanpot, Brandon got to learn Python and help his team come up with big-picture ideas. One of Brandon’s favorite parts of HackBeanpot was getting to spend the weekend with friends he knew from Northeastern.

“My favorite part of HBP was just being with my friends for 48 hours. I loved being being in a supportive environment where I could know absolutely nothing and still be able to come out and feel like: okay I learned something unique from this experience, I was able to help a team and provide feedback, and I was able to be with my friends for 48 hours. I can’t really complain.”



Organizer Spotlight: Rucha Khanolkar

Processed with VSCO with c1 presetThis week’s spotlight goes out to one of our organizers, Rucha Khanolkar! She is a rising third year at Northeastern studying Computer Science and Interaction Design. Rucha participated in our 2017 event and joined the core team in March 2018.

As a hacker, Rucha worked on a project called CourseOn that helps people schedule their classes for their entire college career.

I think the most intimidating part for me if I’m going to a hackathon is if I’m going without friends. The process for finding a group at HackBeanpot was really fun and welcoming, so I just talked with a couple people and joined the group that had the idea for this project. The mentors that came from different companies were really, really helpful. Even though we didn’t finish the project, I think I got a real introduction into building a website, and the mentors were the main reason we were able to do that.”

Rucha is an organizer on HackBeanpot’s sponsorship team. She values most the friendliness and positivity of the team.

“It’s most important for HackBeanpot’s team to be welcoming and open-minded. A lot of work goes into the event that I didn’t know about when I attended, and it’s good to have a small group of people to work on all this together. It’s really important to be able to reflect ideas off each other.”

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Past Attendee Spotlight: Kelsey Esposito

IMG-20180512-WA0010Meet Kelsey Esposito! She is a rising sophomore studying data science at Northeastern University. Kelsey was a first time hacker who attended HackBeanpot 2018.

“Going in I was a little overwhelmed because I had only had a semester of computer science. I was kind of nervous that I didn’t have the skills I would need going in. But the staff and other college students who were helping run it all helped us along the way. I had only had experience coding in Java and Dr. Racket, and they helped us use Flask, Python, and Indico APIs. Although our final project wasn’t this huge, spectacular complex thing, it was fun and I’m glad I had the experience to try out different things I would not have when I was on my own. “

At Hackbeanpot, Kelsey met a group of freshman girls who also go to Northeastern. Together they made Zodihacks, a website that will guess your zodiac sign based on the text you write about how you felt about your day. Their project used an Indico API that takes text and associates it with a Myers-Briggs type, which they used to tell the person’s zodiac sign.


“At first we had a little room where we were brainstorming and throwing out ideas. We really didn’t know what we wanted to do at first, but then someone was like let’s do something with zodiac signs and let’s be a little silly. And so we just took that and we were like okay let’s try the API, because we knew Indico had a special award for using their API. We had some mentors come in and show us how to use Flask and Python because not many of us had even seen that before.”


“It was definitely a learning experience and we had a lot of help from other people, but we divided up parts of the project. One girl worked on Flask, other people worked on matching the Myers-Briggs type with the API, others worked on what the website was going to show when you had a certain zodiac type. One girl knew how to use Photoshop so she made graphics to go along with it, other people wrote up the text to talk about your zodiac sign. We worked very collaboratively and it worked out really well for us.”

As a data science major, Kelsey felt she learned skills about programming that she could not necessarily learn in her classes. One of Kelsey’s favorite parts of HackBeanpot was getting to know the people on her team – people she is still friends with today! She enjoyed collaborating with them and was excited to meet other women who are also in computer science. Her team’s goal was see what kind of project they could come up with in the given timeframe, create something fun, and get a better idea of the kind of skills they could learn in the future.

“I had a really awesome time and I recommend anyone who’s interested in going to a hackathon to go to HackBeanpot. It was definitely a creative environment and even if you didn’t know much you could learn so much from the people there.”

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What to Bring to HackBeanpot 2018

With less than a month until HackBeanpot 2018 (has the year really gone by that fast?) you may be wondering what to pack. You may know there’ll be swag and plenty of good food, but what about everything else? Fear not, we have compiled a list of everything you should bring to the hackathon.

The Essentials

  • Laptop (duh) – it will be quite difficult to do any hacking without a laptop.
  • Laptop charger – don’t be caught in the middle of a brain train only to have your computer die!
  • Cell phone – communication is important.
  • Phone charger
  • Scrap paper / writing utensil- there might not be a whiteboard handy when you need it, so have some scrap paper ready!


  • Resume (or upload one here) – land that next co-op or internship with one of our fabulous sponsors!
  • Slack account – join slackbeanpot for important updates before, during, and after the event.
  • Github account – Whether you’ll be working alone or on a team, github is one of the best ways to keep track of all of your code. Brush up on your skills beforehand by following this git tutorial!
  • Toiletries – deodorant, toothbrush, and toothpaste are all recommended, whether you plan on staying the full 40 hours or not. We do, however, hope you’ll go home and shower during the hackathon.
  • Any hardware you may need – while HackBeanpot encourages hardware hacks along with software ones, we are unable to provide materials needed for it.

Welcome New Core!

Recap and Shout-outs

Thank you to everyone who came to HackBeanpot 2017. We couldn’t have done it without all the awesome judges, mentors, speakers, and most importantly–the hackers. Over 130 attendees from Northeastern, Berklee, UMass Amherst, Boston University, Harvard, and many more came who spent 20 hours over the course of the weekend building cool projects, attending tech talks, collaborating to learn new skills, and eating fantastic food. Check out some of the projects that were made.

new Core();

We have kick-started organizing HackBeanpot 2018. Meet your new core!


Vision for HackBeanpot 2018: As a CS and Experience Design major, I want to make HackBeanpot a place where anyone can feel welcome, engaged and encouraged to get outside their comfort zone. I also am interested in helping demonstrate a stronger brand message across our event promotion efforts and at the event itself.

Strange Talent: I am so ticklish that I can be tickled without being touched (please don’t touch me!).


Vision for HackBeanpot 2018:I want to make HackBeanpot a place for people of all programming levels and of all backgrounds feel welcome and give them an opportunity to make something they’ve always wanted to.

Strange Talent: I have ridiculously loud sneezes.


Vision for HackBeanpot 2018: I would love for every attendee to create something that they didn’t previously think they were capable of and can proudly show to others. In addition, I hope every hacker leaves HBP 2018 with a greater passion and eagerness to learn more about Computer Science, regardless of their level of experience. And last but not least, to leave the event thinking about what they’ll build next year!

Strange Talent: I can close one eye perfectly without the slightest flinch/squint in the other.


Vision for HackBeanpot 2018: HackBeanpot was the first hackathon I have attended and I fell in love with the idea of hacking away for two days and seeing what cool things people come up with and can design. I hope that HackBeanpot does the same for all the new hackers at the event and inspires them to try new ideas in CS!

Strange Talent: I can say the alphabet backwards in under 10 seconds.


Vision for HackBeanpot 2018: HackBeanpot was such a welcoming and fun first hackathon for me, and I want it to continue to be that way for first-time hackers.

Strange Talent: I can play the trombone with my feet.


Vision for HackBeanpot 2018: Provide a fun, inclusive, and productive hacking experience for diverse hackers from all backgrounds, places, and levels of programming experience! Especially make sure that first-time hackers feel welcome and excited for the weekend!

Strange Talent: I can undoubtedly cure your hiccups.


Vision for HackBeanpot 2018: I hope that every attendee, regardless of experience, learns something new that makes them even more excited about coding.

Strange Talent: I’ve never met someone with a longer tongue than me.


Vision for HackBeanpot 2018: I want HBP to be an inclusive and open environment for people of all backgrounds, and somewhere where anyone can pursue their passions and explore anything that interests them.

Strange Talent: I won the Water Olympics at HackBeanpot 2017.


Vision for HackBeanpot 2018: The core team is filled with such innovative and passionate individuals. I’m psyched to focus on managing how we work together to make organizing HackBeanpot and the event itself as smooth and excellent as possible.

Strange Talent: I can spin a basketball on my finger. I am bad at nearly every other aspect of basketball.


Vision for HackBeanpot 2018: My dream is for every participant to try something they’ve never done before, and learn something that will help them in the future. I want HackBeanpot to be a great learning experience for people of all levels, but more specifically for people who have never been to a hackathon before.

Strange Talent: I can recite all 50 states in less than 20 seconds.


Vision for HackBeanpot 2018: I want every hacker to leave with the itch to talk their friends’ ears off about this amazing piece of technology they created.

Strange Talent: I can coax anyone to dance.

HackBeanpot 2017: Views From DMC-5

HackBeanpot 2017 took place March 24-26 2017. The team would like to share some of their favorite memories from HackBeanpot 2017.


My favorite part of HackBeanpot 2017 was getting to see all the projects people made. It’s really cool that first time hackers that may have limited programming knowledge can still create really great and unique projects.


Okay, I would be lying if I said I’m not tempted to say water olympics. But even more awesome than competitive flavored water was witnessing what incredibly passionate and talented people were capable of when given resources.


My favorite part of HackBeanpot 2017 was definitely the community feel of the event. From the attendees to the volunteers, mentors, sponsors and organizers. It was amazing seeing everyone come together to make dope shit.


I love the challenge of day-of mini crises and the hectic energy that surrounds running an event like this. To quote Tevin, “This thing has so much momentum at this point, there’s no way we can do anything to mess it up. It’s happening.” My favorite part was seeing everything come together (and run fairly smoothly!) after over a year of planning.


My favorite part of HackBeanpot 2017 was getting to be a part of an event that was all about creativity, passion, learning, and challenging ourselves. Seeing the drive with which hackers worked on their projects and how proud they were of the things they’d built afterwards was really inspiring. It was also great to see how our team of organizers grew together and learned to work like a well-oiled machine, and I’m really proud of how far we came.


Another unbelievable event! I met so many cool people, saw so many cool projects, and had such a great time I can’t pick just one favorite moment. I loved working with my awesome fellow organizers and volunteers. Water Olympics were legendary. Union Square Donuts were A++. And, of course, the feeling that comes from the opportunity everyone had to come together to learn and create is something I will never forget for the rest of my life.


What I loved most was spending my weekend with incredibly passionate people who were willing to push themselves and make something great! There were so many first time hackers and it always amazes me the ability of people to dive in new tech make something in just a weekend.

Why You Should Join SlackBeanpot

If you don’t know what Slack is, are you in for a treat. Slack is the latest revolution in team communication. Whether your team is an actual team working on a project or just a group of friends, Slack is a super powerful and flexible way of communicating. If you attended HackBeanpot in 2016, you may remember joining the HackBeanpot Slack group that was created during the hackathon. This year, just like last year, we’ve taken it to the next level by opening up the Slack early so ticket holders can join, form teams, and get to know each other before the hackathon.

So what should you use the HackBeanpot Slack for? Almost anything*… More specifically, you can join channels (which are subject-specific group chats) to stay updated on the topics of your choice, and also send individual messages to other users in the HackBeanpot Slack.

  • First time hackathoner? Join the Slack, say hello, find a team in #team-building, and then engage in rigorous team-building exercises.
  • Have no clue what you want to make? Brainstorm with your fellow hackathon participants in #ideas.
  • Receive important information and updates about the upcoming hackathon in the #announcements channel.
  • Create a private channel with your teammates so you can collaborate.
  • Need help with a language or a framework? You can use the Slack to find a mentor in #mentors.
  • Need to reach staff? We’ll be available on Slack so you can contact us.

After you’ve gotten a ticket to HackBeanpot, register for our Slack at Happy hacking!