Meeting the Winners of App Academy’s Winter 2024 Accessibility Hackathon

The Cohort
Written by:
App Academy
Published on:
May 6, 2024
man drawing on white board working on coding problems

Meet the winners of App Academy’s Winter 2024 Accessibility Hackathon. You can view their live projects, hear more about their experience, and learn what App Academy can offer aspiring tech professionals.

Hackathons are one of the most important parts of an App Academy student’s experience. These hackathons give students the opportunity to build real-world applications for actual clients with a team of their peers.

We talked with members of the winning teams who shared their Hackathon experience and what it was like to go through the App Academy program. Keep reading to view the first, second, and third-place projects and exclusive student interviews:

1st Place Team: Team 1

Live Project Link: 

Team Members:

John Wofford

Melinda Cortez

Minh Tran 

Saad Anwer

2nd Place Team: Team 9

Live Project Link: 

Team Members

Chad Fitzgerald

Christian Spada (Michael Golshani said he hasn’t been able to get in touch with him)

Lillyann Hidalgo

Michael Golshani

3nd Place Team: Team 6

Live Project Link:

Team Members

Lola Marrero

Shali Peng

Viktoria Czaran

Corbin Bullard

Roberto Peregrina, Jr.

See Course Report’s breakdown of the winning team from a previous App Academy Hackathon here.

What were you doing prior to App Academy and what inspired you to sign up for the bootcamp?

Saad: Prior to enrolling in App Academy I had been working on far smaller scale HTML/JS projects, and decided to enroll into the bootcamp as I wanted to be able to make projects with a bigger sense of scope and scale than what I had been doing.

Lola: Prior to joining App Academy, I was working in real estate and also taking care of my family as a stay-at-home mom. I took a few programming courses at my local community college for fun, and quickly fell in love with coding. However, pursuing another four-year college degree wasn't feasible, so I decided to enroll in the App Academy bootcamp as a more practical and focused path to becoming a software developer.

Chad: I was a certified master special inspector for structural construction. I enjoyed using my brain for work, but not the work itself as an inspector and found that I enjoyed coding.

Was this your first Hackathon?

Saad: This is not my first Hackathon. I had participated in the App Academy Fall Hackathon that took place a few months prior to the Winter Hackathon.

Lisa: Yes, this was my first Hackathon experience.

Chad: Yes.

What was the experience like working with your team members? Did you work closely together during the bootcamp?

Saad: I enjoyed being able to work with my team throughout the coding period, and they were all out-of-the-box thinkers. We had kept each other updated on progress with our project pretty much daily.

Lola: I had a great experience working with my team members during the Hackathon. We worked closely together and enjoyed collaborating, especially because our team members came from diverse backgrounds and were from all over the country. It was fun and enriching to work with such a variety of people.

Chad: I did not know any of my team members prior to this hackathon. We worked well together.

What was the biggest challenge you faced building this project?

Saad: The biggest challenge I had to face during this project was having to learn TypeScript in such a short amount of time. I was primarily responsible for setting up our project's database using Python, but had to fill in for one member who was assigned for front end scripts once in a while.

Lola: The biggest challenge we faced while building this project was figuring out how to design the web app, structure the database, and effectively distribute the work among team members. Balancing these tasks within a limited timeframe was quite challenging.

Chad: We bit off a bit more than we could chew. We were using new technologies, and the biggest challenge was learning them well enough to build a functioning website.

What was the most rewarding part of building this project?

Saad: The most rewarding part about building the project was being able to make it all work for the most part in spite of never having touched video call implementation prior.

Lola: The most rewarding part of building this project was being able to stay on after the hackathon to finish the project. It was exciting to have a real-world client and secure a freelance job.

Chad: Building an application for an actual client to solve real problems for another person.

What are you doing/what is your plan post-bootcamp?

Saad: My post-bootcamp plans have not changed very much since graduating. While I am starting a job this week, I am still actively looking and applying to any entry level SWE roles I can find.

Lola: I’ve been hired as a freelance software developer to complete the project we started during the hackathon. I’m planning to showcase this project in my portfolio once it's done, and I hope that it helps me secure a full-time software development role.

Chad: I am improving my skills and trying to get a job.

Did you enjoy your App Academy experience?

Saad: I enjoyed my experience with the bootcamp. I am truly thankful for having been able to learn all sorts of programming related things I never would have learned back when I was still in college, and I have met many nice and amazing people from my time during the bootcamp.

Lola: Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed my App Academy experience. I learned a lot in a short period of time, and the program equipped me with all the tools I needed to excel in my career.

Chad: Yes!

Participate in your own Hackathon challenge as an App Academy student

Participating in and completing a Hackathon often confirms what many App Academy students already know: They’re on a rewarding and exciting journey to a new career.

If you’re considering a pivot to tech, whether it be software development, web development, software engineering, or other related fields, App Academy will give you the foundation of skills you need to succeed.

Learn more about App Academy here.

Meet with our admissions team.


Don’t miss a beat with The Cohort!

We’ll send you the latest Tech industry news, SWE career tips and student stories each month.

You can unsubscribe at any time. View our Privacy Policy.
Thank you! You've now been subscribed to The Cohort.
There has been an error. Please try again.

Interested in an App Academy Bootcamp?

One of our coding bootcamps, prep course or free online coding platform (App Academy Open) could be the next step you need to make a lasting career change!