Brandon Barker, 21

Organizer, Hacker
Brandon Barker
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Brandon started coding in middle school, learning with the help of people on Internet Relay Chat (Slack before Slack existed). While entertaining, this method of learning was isolating. Then in his freshman year of high school, a friend insisted he go with him to a hackathon. They went to HackBCA. There, Brandon experienced such a strong community that he was inspired to create his own hackathon, STEMHacks, which was Pennsylvania's first-ever high school-only hackathon. 

These hackathons motivated him to help continue building a hacker community so others could experience the same feelings of connection. While most events are driven by the need to network, the sheer level of passion and creativity at hackathons makes it incomparable. Many of his friends today are the very same people he met at events like HackWCU, PennApps, HackBCA, and many others. 

Brandon attributes much of his growth in his extroversion and confidence to his experiences at hackathons. He says, “With an open environment where learning is ok and failure is taken with a smile, hackathons have allowed me to become a better engineer than any internship or schooling could have provided.” 

His favorite project he ever built was Elderlyf, a self-guiding walker he built for his grandfather who had recently gone blind from a spinal injury. The walker allowed his grandfather to regain some of his independence and navigate spaces without external intervention. The walker is capable of guidance, path correction, and feedback. Hackathons have not only helped Brandon secure several internships since high school but also define the direction he wants to go for his life. His love of health tech that he discovered at hackathons have inspired Brandon to create projects that impact the wellness of people’s daily lives, such as developing prosthetic arms and accessible eye exams.

Quick Facts

Pronouns: He/His
Hometown: Downingtown, Pennsylvania, USA
School: West Chester University
Graduation Date: 2021
First Hackathon: HackBCA (Spring 2014)
Favorite Coding Language: Haskell, Python, C#
Can't Live Without: Hacker News
Brandon created a self-guiding walker at PennApps XX

Brandon Barker, 21

Organizer, Hacker
Brandon Barker
Share this profile

Brandon started coding in middle school, learning with the help of people on Internet Relay Chat (Slack before Slack existed). While entertaining, this method of learning was isolating. Then in his freshman year of high school, a friend insisted he go with him to a hackathon. They went to HackBCA. There, Brandon experienced such a strong community that he was inspired to create his own hackathon, STEMHacks, which was Pennsylvania's first-ever high school-only hackathon. 

These hackathons motivated him to help continue building a hacker community so others could experience the same feelings of connection. While most events are driven by the need to network, the sheer level of passion and creativity at hackathons makes it incomparable. Many of his friends today are the very same people he met at events like HackWCU, PennApps, HackBCA, and many others. 

Brandon attributes much of his growth in his extroversion and confidence to his experiences at hackathons. He says, “With an open environment where learning is ok and failure is taken with a smile, hackathons have allowed me to become a better engineer than any internship or schooling could have provided.” 

His favorite project he ever built was Elderlyf, a self-guiding walker he built for his grandfather who had recently gone blind from a spinal injury. The walker allowed his grandfather to regain some of his independence and navigate spaces without external intervention. The walker is capable of guidance, path correction, and feedback. Hackathons have not only helped Brandon secure several internships since high school but also define the direction he wants to go for his life. His love of health tech that he discovered at hackathons have inspired Brandon to create projects that impact the wellness of people’s daily lives, such as developing prosthetic arms and accessible eye exams.

Quick Facts

Pronouns: He/His
Hometown: Downingtown, Pennsylvania, USA
School: West Chester University
Graduation Date: 2021
First Hackathon: HackBCA (Spring 2014)
Favorite Coding Language: Haskell, Python, C#
Can't Live Without: Hacker News
Share this profile
Brandon created a self-guiding walker at PennApps XX

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