What is BuildHer?


You can't mess up here! BuildHer fosters the environment to experiment, grow, and learn from mistakes, be it your first time coding or your first time applying it to a new art or career discipline. Mentors and groups are there to help you experiment and leave with a greater wealth of experience.


Our goal is for you to make connections based on your shared values and interests that will follow you out the door and into the rest of your life, no matter what career you’re pursuing. We encourage idea sharing and troubleshooting with those around you so that by the end of the event, you’ll have a network of creators to comfortably reach out to.


Even if you go into BuildHer with absolutely no idea what you want to make, you’ll leave with a tangible, incredible project. Not only will you have the achievement of making something of your own, but your project is yours to keep working on. Many successful products have stemmed from hackathons, and there’s no saying that your project won’t be the next hit product on the market!

Our Mission

BuildHer was founded with the intent of promoting diversity and inclusion within the tech community in the Chicago area. BuildHer will serve as a space for female, nonbinary and transgender beginner coders to learn with the encouragement and guidance of other femme coders, and for more experienced coders to explore interdisciplinary applications of technology, regardless of their individual career paths or majors.

Coding is not something that is limited in its usefulness to computer scientists - instead, we constantly hear of entrepreneurs making their own app for their business, or artists mixing traditional mediums with digital ones. BuildHer wants newcomers and experts alike to experiment with using code in different contexts and to walk away with the skills to use throughout their life.

Attendee Booklet

Meet our team

Try *clicking* or *hovering* over a photo!

Alaina is a senior at Northwestern University, where she studies computer science and sporadically dabbles in medicine and linguistics. At NU, she is best known for co-organizing Women in Computing, co-founding BuildHer, and not understanding how to pronounce the word “corgi.” Recently, she’s coded cool things at Clarifai and GE Healthcare, but right now she's an iOS dev and UX researcher in Northwestern’s Delta Lab. Current fascinations include origami and Samoyed puppies.



Meg Grasse is a junior at Northwestern pursuing her BSMS in Computer Science. She’s the External Pres of Northwestern University Women in Computing, a student researcher in the Delta Lab, and creates the iOS app for Dillo Day — Northwestern's annual spring music festival. In her free time she loves skateboarding, iOS development, and cheap beer.


Corporate Outreach

Naomi is a junior studying Computer Science as well as Learning and Organizational Change at Northwestern. She’s originally from California, but spent her adolescence in Shanghai. She loves entrepreneurship and technology, and wants to explore how the two can come together to impact global development. She also likes talking about VR and smart homes, going to the movie theater, watching language-learning videos on Youtube, traveling, and napping responsibly.


Univ./Alumni Outreach

Da Yeon (tl;dr: Starbucks name Diane) is a junior studying Computer Science at Northwestern. She loves puns, huskies, white mocha coffee, sweaters, memes, beanies and coding. She’s passionate about blending design and technology into a product and connecting people with opportunities. As Head of Technology at BuildHer, she obviously had too much fun building this website :D Do you like this website? If so, sign up for "APPLY NOW!"

Da Yeon


BuildHer will serve as a space for female, nonbinary and transgender beginner coders to learn with the encouragement and guidance of other femme coders but without the pressure of performance. BuildHer will also provide a unique opportunity for more experienced coders to explore different, interdisciplinary applications of technology. Our goal is to unite a wide diversity of femme people with the flexibility and usefulness of coding, regardless of their individual career paths or majors.



Nancy is a sophomore from Ohio studying computer science and dabbling in design. She does research in Northwestern's CollabLab and makes up one half of BuildHer's Tech Team. She spends a lot of time staring at a computer screen (i.e. coding stuff or watching Netflix), but also enjoys the simpler things in life, like listening to good music and hanging out with her dog.



Alyssa is a junior at Northwestern University studying computer science and linguistics while pursuing the Segal Design Certificate. She has a startup at the Garage, NU’s hub for student entrepreneurship and innovation, and writes/designs for Scene+Heard, an online arts and culture publication. If she’s not drawing, or whipping up random pens on Codepen, she’s probably thinking about food or listening to vinyls on repeat. Has curious obsessions with a lazy egg, bunnies on Instagram, and stationery.



Olivia is a junior at Northwestern University, where she is pursuing a BA in Computer Science. She just transferred to Northwestern in the fall of 2016. Olivia is working part-time as a remote contractor for JumpCloud and is looking forward to her upcoming internship at NASDAQ this summer. In her free time, she loves to hike, knit, and watch The Office.



Nneoma is a sophomore from Texas studying Computer Science. She's passionate about the inclusion and empowerment of diverse people. One way she acts on that passion is through her roles as Vision Chair of BuildHer as well as Co Pre-College Initiative Chair of the Northwestern chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). She loves dogs and misses eating the pupusas sold down the street from her back home. She plans to do a lot of traveling in the near future, so watch out world!



Kinsey Erickson is a sophomore studying Psychology, Middle Eastern and North African Studies, and Game Design at Northwestern University. Her dream is to start a game design studio where she can incorporate therapeutic tools in her design so that children playing her games can learn valuable skills such as anxiety and anger management, communication strategies, and healthy coping mechanisms.



Ashu Gupta is a freshman at Northwestern, where she is pursuing a BS in computer science. She's on the marketing team for BuildHer. In her free time, she likes to swim and obsess over Friends.



Deniz Sagnaklar is a junior majoring in Computer Science and she’s from Istanbul Turkey. She’s involved in a few different things on campus including Kappa Kappa Gamma, Women in Computing, Phi Alpha Delta the law fraternity and Turkish Student Association. Her favorite tv show is Westworld or the Office, and her favorite Black Mirror episode so far is Hated in the Nation. She watches too much tv but at the same time not enough.




What is a hackathon?

A hackathon is an event where people get together to work on developing software projects in a short amount of time; BuildHer is 18 hours. Participants form a team, come up with an idea, plan for their idea and then implement the code for it.

Who can participate?

BuildHer is open to all individuals who identify as female, nonbinary or transgender. You must also be at least 18 years old to attend. JOIN US!

How much does it cost?

BuildHer is completely free for all participants. We provide meals, drinks, snacks, workshops, swag from our sponsors and a great experience!

What if I don't know how to code?

Don't worry! People at all levels of experience (including none) are welcome! There will be specific workshops to help introduce anyone to coding and mentors will be happy to help you out! :)

What should I bring?

Please bring a student or government-issued ID, a laptop, phone and chargers for both. Also, since this is an overnight event, you may want to bring a change of clothes, sleeping bag and toiletries.

What if I don't have an idea?

You are not expected to come to the hackathon with a complete idea! We will have mentors around to help participants think of ideas and implement them. There will also be time for brainstorming at the beginning of the event.

What if I don't have a team?

More opportunity to make new friends, am I right? But in all seriousness, you don’t have to come into BuildHer with any sort of team or pairing in order to succeed. There are plenty of events planned during the hackathon where participants will be able to meet one another and have fun. Plus, a lot of participants form teams at the start of the hackathon anyway!

Where will I stay during BuildHer?

BuildHer 2017 is being held on the Northwestern University Evanston campus and all participants will be in reserved rooms and spaces for the duration of the event. There will be plenty of space to spread out and do different activities, as well as designated places to sleep or take naps!

Where can I find the code of conduct?

The MLH Code of Conduct can be found here.

Please contact us if you're concerned or confused about anything! We'd love to help you :)

Copyright(c) 2017 BuildHer.

Major League Hacking 2017 Hackathon Season