17 Y/O Girl Wins Hackathon By Creating An App That Prevents TV Spoilers


Jennie Lamere is a 17 year old  high school senior from Nashua, New Hampshire, who likes building robots, hiking, and entering “hackathon” competitions. Lamere entered the TVnext Hack event,   in Boston on April 27 along with about 80 other competitors. What is really cool about this story, is that Jennie was the only girl to enter with a completed project!

In addition to being the only woman, Lamere was the only solo competitor in the hackathon—every other project was created by a team, according to Mike Proulx, a spokesperson for the event.

So what was the genius App she created that allowed her to take home the overall winning prize? It’s called Twivo, a new program that allows Twitter users to censor their feeds from mentioning a certain TV show (and its characters) for a set time period.

Jennie Lamere

She beat out professional developers sent by the event’s sponsors, including ESPN, the Echo Nest, and Klout. She came up with the idea for Twivo the night before the competition, and it took her 10 hours and 150 lines of code to complete. It works as an extension to the Google Chrome browser: A user can type in the key words she would like to block, and for how long, and make those Tweets disappear.

Jennie is exactly the reason why we need more women in tech! There are so many talented girls out there who have what it takes to compete against the “big guns” and if Jennie Lamere is any proof or inspiration, then there should be no stopping the rest of us!

Once a user is done blocking the show, the Tweets reappear. Lamere says the program is still in demo form and won’t be ready for another two or three weeks, but she’s already been approached by Furious Minds, a tech company that intends to help her market the final product.

Twivo Screen shot

Hackathons have been around for years, but organizers still haven’t figured out how to get a balanced gender ratio. According to Girls Who Code, an organization that aims to provide computer science education and exposure to 1 million young women by 2020, women only represent 12 percent of computer science graduates, down from 37 percent in 1984.

So how do we change this? By sharing more stories like Jennie’s and giving women a chance to show their skills against the men in a mostly male dominated industry. She is hoping her win will inspire others to give it a go, as there are so many opportunities like the TV Next Hack event which is open to men and women of varying ages.

What’s next for Lamere? She’s attending the Rochester Institute of Technology in the fall, and wants to major in software engineering. She hopes to some day work for Google. She says that after creating Twivo, she took the project back to her computer science class and walked her classmates through the code. “Hopefully the other girls will come to the next hackathon!”

We Can Do It

If you are interested in stretching your tech wings, or if you have a great idea but don’t know who to talk to, check out Girls Who Code, an organization that aims to provide computer science education and exposure to 1 million young women by 2020. Their mission is to educate, inspire, and equip young women with the skills and resources to pursue academic and career opportunities in computing fields.

Hurray for women in tech who are showing the world that they are just as smart, capable, talented and have something important to offer!


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