Jacklyn Biggin, 23

Hacker, Organizer, Mentor, Community Manager
Jacklyn Biggin
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While preparing to study abroad at Western University in Canada, Jacklyn stumbled upon MLH’s website. She knew what hackathons were but had never attended one before, so on a whim and with hopes of traveling to new places, she applied and got accepted to attend Hack the North. After flying out, Jacklyn spent her first weekend abroad on a bus with 30 other hackers en route to her first hackathon. It was there she found a welcoming community of peers who she related to and enjoyed spending time with, and forged friendships that she maintains to this day.

The sheer size and amount of opportunity at Hack the North amazed Jacklyn. With her first team, she created Cookie Craver: Cookie Clicker which used internet cookies. Despite the project not winning any prizes, she left the event with more swag than she could carry, and knew she wanted to attend more events. The next weekend, she attended GrizzHacks and found a smaller, more intimate, and just as friendly community. Here, she teamed up with several hackers including high schooler Nathan Dimmer, and their project won three awards. Jacklyn noted the extreme satisfaction she felt watching the high-schooler come in with no coding experience and leave having made a website. After these two events, Jacklyn spent most weekends attending hackathons and always had a great time. She notes that “what ultimately began on a whim has dramatically changed my life, and I’m really grateful for that.”

At UrbanHacks 2018, Jacklyn worked on a team with two high schoolers and one middle schooler to create her favorite project, GeoHam. Aside from the project winning first place at the event, GeoHam is truly her favorite project because of her experience in mentorship and the visible growth she spurred in her younger peers: with no prior website development experience, they learned in one night how to deploy a database and populate it with data. This experience provided invaluable lessons in teaching and mentorship for Jacklyn. The team eventually met with the Chief Digital Officer of Hamilton to present GeoHam as they believed the project could have a positive impact on the community. Creating a project with a real impact was extremely rewarding to Jacklyn, and working with the younger hackers taught her a lot about teaching and mentorship—skills she would continue to practice as a mentor and organizer at many more events.

The many hackathons Jacklyn attended helped her hone critical software development skills and communication skills that she feels were not targeted in her university curriculum. The experience of building hackathon projects helped her learn core principles about how to properly develop and deploy a stable project, and learning to work with new teammates helped her improve at thinking on the fly and made her a valuable MLH Coach and event organizing team member. Jacklyn has coached over 30 events, hosted and written Localhost workshops and technical livestreams, been extremely involved in Local Hack Day, and helped train new generations of Coaches. As an MLH Coach, she created MLH’s Intro to Python series on YouTube, singlehandedly writing, presenting, producing, and editing the entire series. Her work paid off, as the series has helped empower thousands of hackers by teaching them basic technology skills.

Attending hackathons has also led Jacklyn to job opportunities abroad. She had met members of RBC’s team at various hackathons, and they invited her to interview for their Amplify program—a three month long internal hackathon and innovation program. Ultimately, Jacklyn was offered a full-time job at RBC in Canada and accepted the position. Jacklyn has continued to be a Coach at MLH, finding further opportunities to travel, meet and work with amazing people through the hacker community.

Jacklyn was the lead organizer of Hack Quarantine, MLH’s first-ever digital member event. The three-week-long hackathon was planned meticulously over ten days, making way for over 3,500 hackers to participate in a time where COVID-19 makes traditional hackathons impossible. She found organizing the event exhausting but extremely rewarding, as hackers from across six continents were drawn to the event’s 24/7 educational livestream, and built projects that they believed in. To help pull the event together, Jacklyn brought together hackathon organizers, including Will Russell, from across the UK, Canada, and the USA, and partnered with communities from as far as the Middle East. Her work certainly paid off as the event garnered hundreds of thousands of views on the livestream. Before COVID-19, Jacklyn would regularly travel to mentor at various hackathons such as Royal Hackaway and DurHack, and as an MLH Coach, she supported member events and Hosted by MLH Events in their transition to digital.

Jacklyn ultimately received a Diana Award, the “the most prestigious accolade a young person aged 9-25 years can receive for their social action or humanitarian work” for her work supporting hackathons and organizing Hack Quarantine after being nominated by Aaron Osher - a fellow Coach and Hackathons UK Director.

By attending, organizing, and Coaching at hackathons Jacklyn has amassed a huge amount of experience as a communicative and skilled hacker, and she continues to pay her experience forward into the hacker community. She has given back to the hacker community by founding and leading Hack Quarantine to create tens of hours of educational content online and a virtual community, supporting the smaller European hackathon scene, Coaching and giving hands-on support at large events, and cultivating beginner-oriented Discord and social media communities with Local Hack Day: Build, Local Hack Day: Share, and INIT.

What started as a meme about a stuffed shark from IKEA eventually turned into BLAHAJGang, an extremely supportive community of over 600 hackers that Jacklyn leads. BLAHAJGang is the largest guild on the Local Hack Day leaderboards, and won Local Hack Day: Share with 15,000 points, 4000 points above 2nd place. They now sit at #4 on the Local Hack Day activity leaderboards, and you can ask more about where Jacklyn plans to take the group on her random tech Twitch streams at twitch.tv/JacklynBiggin.

Quick Facts

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Hometown: Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK
School: University of Leeds
Graduation Date: 2021
First Hackathon: Hack the North, Fall 2018
Favorite Coding Language: JavaScript
Can't Live Without: Reddit
Jacklyn gives advice on how to make your Devpost submission better

Jacklyn Biggin, 23

Hacker, Organizer, Mentor, Community Manager
Jacklyn Biggin
Share this profile

While preparing to study abroad at Western University in Canada, Jacklyn stumbled upon MLH’s website. She knew what hackathons were but had never attended one before, so on a whim and with hopes of traveling to new places, she applied and got accepted to attend Hack the North. After flying out, Jacklyn spent her first weekend abroad on a bus with 30 other hackers en route to her first hackathon. It was there she found a welcoming community of peers who she related to and enjoyed spending time with, and forged friendships that she maintains to this day.

The sheer size and amount of opportunity at Hack the North amazed Jacklyn. With her first team, she created Cookie Craver: Cookie Clicker which used internet cookies. Despite the project not winning any prizes, she left the event with more swag than she could carry, and knew she wanted to attend more events. The next weekend, she attended GrizzHacks and found a smaller, more intimate, and just as friendly community. Here, she teamed up with several hackers including high schooler Nathan Dimmer, and their project won three awards. Jacklyn noted the extreme satisfaction she felt watching the high-schooler come in with no coding experience and leave having made a website. After these two events, Jacklyn spent most weekends attending hackathons and always had a great time. She notes that “what ultimately began on a whim has dramatically changed my life, and I’m really grateful for that.”

At UrbanHacks 2018, Jacklyn worked on a team with two high schoolers and one middle schooler to create her favorite project, GeoHam. Aside from the project winning first place at the event, GeoHam is truly her favorite project because of her experience in mentorship and the visible growth she spurred in her younger peers: with no prior website development experience, they learned in one night how to deploy a database and populate it with data. This experience provided invaluable lessons in teaching and mentorship for Jacklyn. The team eventually met with the Chief Digital Officer of Hamilton to present GeoHam as they believed the project could have a positive impact on the community. Creating a project with a real impact was extremely rewarding to Jacklyn, and working with the younger hackers taught her a lot about teaching and mentorship—skills she would continue to practice as a mentor and organizer at many more events.

The many hackathons Jacklyn attended helped her hone critical software development skills and communication skills that she feels were not targeted in her university curriculum. The experience of building hackathon projects helped her learn core principles about how to properly develop and deploy a stable project, and learning to work with new teammates helped her improve at thinking on the fly and made her a valuable MLH Coach and event organizing team member. Jacklyn has coached over 30 events, hosted and written Localhost workshops and technical livestreams, been extremely involved in Local Hack Day, and helped train new generations of Coaches. As an MLH Coach, she created MLH’s Intro to Python series on YouTube, singlehandedly writing, presenting, producing, and editing the entire series. Her work paid off, as the series has helped empower thousands of hackers by teaching them basic technology skills.

Attending hackathons has also led Jacklyn to job opportunities abroad. She had met members of RBC’s team at various hackathons, and they invited her to interview for their Amplify program—a three month long internal hackathon and innovation program. Ultimately, Jacklyn was offered a full-time job at RBC in Canada and accepted the position. Jacklyn has continued to be a Coach at MLH, finding further opportunities to travel, meet and work with amazing people through the hacker community.

Jacklyn was the lead organizer of Hack Quarantine, MLH’s first-ever digital member event. The three-week-long hackathon was planned meticulously over ten days, making way for over 3,500 hackers to participate in a time where COVID-19 makes traditional hackathons impossible. She found organizing the event exhausting but extremely rewarding, as hackers from across six continents were drawn to the event’s 24/7 educational livestream, and built projects that they believed in. To help pull the event together, Jacklyn brought together hackathon organizers, including Will Russell, from across the UK, Canada, and the USA, and partnered with communities from as far as the Middle East. Her work certainly paid off as the event garnered hundreds of thousands of views on the livestream. Before COVID-19, Jacklyn would regularly travel to mentor at various hackathons such as Royal Hackaway and DurHack, and as an MLH Coach, she supported member events and Hosted by MLH Events in their transition to digital.

Jacklyn ultimately received a Diana Award, the “the most prestigious accolade a young person aged 9-25 years can receive for their social action or humanitarian work” for her work supporting hackathons and organizing Hack Quarantine after being nominated by Aaron Osher - a fellow Coach and Hackathons UK Director.

By attending, organizing, and Coaching at hackathons Jacklyn has amassed a huge amount of experience as a communicative and skilled hacker, and she continues to pay her experience forward into the hacker community. She has given back to the hacker community by founding and leading Hack Quarantine to create tens of hours of educational content online and a virtual community, supporting the smaller European hackathon scene, Coaching and giving hands-on support at large events, and cultivating beginner-oriented Discord and social media communities with Local Hack Day: Build, Local Hack Day: Share, and INIT.

What started as a meme about a stuffed shark from IKEA eventually turned into BLAHAJGang, an extremely supportive community of over 600 hackers that Jacklyn leads. BLAHAJGang is the largest guild on the Local Hack Day leaderboards, and won Local Hack Day: Share with 15,000 points, 4000 points above 2nd place. They now sit at #4 on the Local Hack Day activity leaderboards, and you can ask more about where Jacklyn plans to take the group on her random tech Twitch streams at twitch.tv/JacklynBiggin.

Quick Facts

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Hometown: Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK
School: University of Leeds
Graduation Date: 2021
First Hackathon: Hack the North, Fall 2018
Favorite Coding Language: JavaScript
Can't Live Without: Reddit
Share this profile
Jacklyn gives advice on how to make your Devpost submission better

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