NewsCovering Kern County


Bakersfield College holding three day Hack-A-Thon for ideas to solve community problems

Posted at 4:16 PM, Apr 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-04 21:24:21-04

For the second year Bakersfield College is holding a Hack-A-Thon that isn’t like the typical event you may think of where people are hacking into computer systems. Instead students are trying to find a solution to a specific problem here in Kern County.

It’s easy to focus on a problem that a community has rather than try to find a solution. Bakersfield College is holding an event for students to come up with solutions to problems that they see every day in their community. Mataalofa Hubbard is a student at BC and noticed a problem in her community. “I have been studying about the food insecurity and food gap in my community, I’ve been studying the east side where I live and I felt like the food insecurity was very important in my neighborhood,” said Hubbard.

But instead of just focusing on the problem…Hubbard wanted to find a solution. Thanks to an event at BC she has the opportunity to do just that. “It isn’t like you’re hacking into a computer or anything like that it’s more like coming together to come up with innovative ideas to solve problems using technology,” said Sarah Baron, a professor of public health science.

Baron is in charge of the three day Hack-A-Thon competition coming up next week. Students will present their ideas to a panel of judges and the top three places will win prizes. “We’re looking at food insecurity, we’re looking at access to health care, human trafficking and air quality.” Instead of hacking into computers, students are hacking into ideas in order to come up with a concept, a community impact report and then an idea that could be designed to solve the problem in groups of two to five. “Examples are maybe coming up with an app or a website that will help people communicate better within a health community,” said Baron.

And Hubbard already has some solutions her team could focus on during this competition. “They can put grocery stores in our neighborhood that’s closer to us because all the grocery stores that are around our neighborhood are either too expensive or fast food restaurants, so if they could something healthy like a food market or any type of health grocery store than we can start eating healthy,” said Hubbard.

The event kicks off next Thursday April 12th and goes through Saturday, April 14th. High school and college students can still sign up here.