Vincent Occhiogrosso, 21

Hacker, Organizer, Mentor
Vincent Occhiogrosso
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Vincent was interested in technology growing up, yet didn’t have access to many resources until he got his first computer at 15. As soon as he got the PC, he started looking for opportunities to use it and soon found the Community Ambassador Program to aid him in his tech interests. One ambassador Vincent was working with attended her first hackathon and recommended Vincent to try one as he might enjoy it. He had no prior coding experience when he signed up for his first hackathon, StuyHacks 2016, but he decided to give it a shot. Vincent took a train two hours into New York City by himself to attend the event, and even though he doesn’t remember sleeping during the two-day event, he had a blast spending many hours learning to code and networking with others who were also interested in tech.

 

This was the start of Vincent’s hackathon spree, and his senior year in high school he spent almost every weekend traveling the east coast for hackathons. He attended over 20 events in a few months in locations ranging from DC to Boston to Michigan. His mom was extremely concerned about how much time he spent traveling, but Vincent assuaged her fears by saying that he had a phone and knew how to get home. 

 

With his amazing experiences in the hacker community, Vincent is eager to give back as an event organizer. He hosted a high school club for two years that helped students with their personal project developments and gathered students to travel and participate in hackathons. The club hosted a Local Hack Day event, MLH Localhost workshops, and information sessions, and Vincent even partnered with several universities while in high school to advise and help them run events, such as DragonHacks at Drexel University and LFGHacks at Lehigh University. All of the effort Vincent puts back into the community is worth it, as he loves to see students get excited about turning their ideas into real functioning products.

 

After easing into classes at university, Vincent kept up his pace by attending hackathons every weekend, taking buses, trains, or planes, and calling organizers to try and secure guaranteed housing. He was in LA for HackTech when COVID restrictions shook the US. The event was on the verge of cancellation, but he turned the situation around by sharing an Airbnb with 12 other hackers, which they dubbed the HackerHouse, and competing digitally over the weekend. Vincent worked on a hardware hack that involved physically building and printing things, so he had to run the MVP and parts between HackerHouse and a hotel his teammates were staying at, but they came out of the event with a great hack that is now pending a patent.

 

Vincent made one of his favorite hackathon projects at Hack the Crisis Australia. The hack was a queuing application that makes staying socially distant while shopping easier for people. Individuals can scan a QR code to quickly and easily join a host’s queue for entering their store, and the individual will receive a notification when it is their turn to safely enter the store. The project is currently under a pending patent, and Vincent is excited for the hack to be used by businesses for their spaces.

 

It was weird for Vincent to reckon with, but he believes that hackathons have had a bigger impact on his life and taught him more than university. While school taught him SQL, Java, and some web development, hackathons gave him practical skills and a network that he can consult to orient his future career. He learned a wide variety of languages and interfaces from the ground up through trial and error: starting with web development, then NodeJS, VueJS and ReactJS, REST API, now using Python, AWS, and GCP, and looking forward to learning ML and AI. Hackathons have also allowed him to overcome his fears by practicing and improving his public speaking and presentation skills. Going to events such as MakeHarvard, HackMIT, and HackWashington and seeing students from Ivy League schools use the same tools at the same pace as Vincent showed him how great of an equalizer hackathons are, but also made him question the value of going to university for programming.

 

Vincent started attending hackathons with no prior coding experience or knowledge of what the field had to offer, and now he finds himself on the verge of attending his 100th event. He has been able to travel all over the world to participate in events and network with people he would have never met otherwise. He expanded on his personal projects at hackathons and even further developed hacks into projects with pending patents. He has made some of his closest friends along the way and looks forward to continuing to attend more events in the coming years (and maybe even hit 200 events).

Quick Facts

Pronouns: He/Him/His
Hometown: Wantagh, NY, USA
School: Farmingdale State College
Graduation Date: 2022
First Hackathon: StuyHacks Summer 2016
Favorite Coding Language: Node.js and Vue.js
Can't Live Without: Facebook
Vincent and the organizing team of DragonHacks

Vincent Occhiogrosso, 21

Hacker, Organizer, Mentor
Vincent Occhiogrosso
Share this profile

Vincent was interested in technology growing up, yet didn’t have access to many resources until he got his first computer at 15. As soon as he got the PC, he started looking for opportunities to use it and soon found the Community Ambassador Program to aid him in his tech interests. One ambassador Vincent was working with attended her first hackathon and recommended Vincent to try one as he might enjoy it. He had no prior coding experience when he signed up for his first hackathon, StuyHacks 2016, but he decided to give it a shot. Vincent took a train two hours into New York City by himself to attend the event, and even though he doesn’t remember sleeping during the two-day event, he had a blast spending many hours learning to code and networking with others who were also interested in tech.

 

This was the start of Vincent’s hackathon spree, and his senior year in high school he spent almost every weekend traveling the east coast for hackathons. He attended over 20 events in a few months in locations ranging from DC to Boston to Michigan. His mom was extremely concerned about how much time he spent traveling, but Vincent assuaged her fears by saying that he had a phone and knew how to get home. 

 

With his amazing experiences in the hacker community, Vincent is eager to give back as an event organizer. He hosted a high school club for two years that helped students with their personal project developments and gathered students to travel and participate in hackathons. The club hosted a Local Hack Day event, MLH Localhost workshops, and information sessions, and Vincent even partnered with several universities while in high school to advise and help them run events, such as DragonHacks at Drexel University and LFGHacks at Lehigh University. All of the effort Vincent puts back into the community is worth it, as he loves to see students get excited about turning their ideas into real functioning products.

 

After easing into classes at university, Vincent kept up his pace by attending hackathons every weekend, taking buses, trains, or planes, and calling organizers to try and secure guaranteed housing. He was in LA for HackTech when COVID restrictions shook the US. The event was on the verge of cancellation, but he turned the situation around by sharing an Airbnb with 12 other hackers, which they dubbed the HackerHouse, and competing digitally over the weekend. Vincent worked on a hardware hack that involved physically building and printing things, so he had to run the MVP and parts between HackerHouse and a hotel his teammates were staying at, but they came out of the event with a great hack that is now pending a patent.

 

Vincent made one of his favorite hackathon projects at Hack the Crisis Australia. The hack was a queuing application that makes staying socially distant while shopping easier for people. Individuals can scan a QR code to quickly and easily join a host’s queue for entering their store, and the individual will receive a notification when it is their turn to safely enter the store. The project is currently under a pending patent, and Vincent is excited for the hack to be used by businesses for their spaces.

 

It was weird for Vincent to reckon with, but he believes that hackathons have had a bigger impact on his life and taught him more than university. While school taught him SQL, Java, and some web development, hackathons gave him practical skills and a network that he can consult to orient his future career. He learned a wide variety of languages and interfaces from the ground up through trial and error: starting with web development, then NodeJS, VueJS and ReactJS, REST API, now using Python, AWS, and GCP, and looking forward to learning ML and AI. Hackathons have also allowed him to overcome his fears by practicing and improving his public speaking and presentation skills. Going to events such as MakeHarvard, HackMIT, and HackWashington and seeing students from Ivy League schools use the same tools at the same pace as Vincent showed him how great of an equalizer hackathons are, but also made him question the value of going to university for programming.

 

Vincent started attending hackathons with no prior coding experience or knowledge of what the field had to offer, and now he finds himself on the verge of attending his 100th event. He has been able to travel all over the world to participate in events and network with people he would have never met otherwise. He expanded on his personal projects at hackathons and even further developed hacks into projects with pending patents. He has made some of his closest friends along the way and looks forward to continuing to attend more events in the coming years (and maybe even hit 200 events).

Quick Facts

Pronouns: He/Him/His
Hometown: Wantagh, NY, USA
School: Farmingdale State College
Graduation Date: 2022
First Hackathon: StuyHacks Summer 2016
Favorite Coding Language: Node.js and Vue.js
Can't Live Without: Facebook
Share this profile
Vincent and the organizing team of DragonHacks

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