Berea Student Develops Hackathon in Tajikistan


Group of hackathon participants

KhujandHacks participants gathered for Tajikistan’s first hackathon on April 30, 2018.
(Photo: Sher Sanginov ’19)

Sher Sanginov ’19, a Berea College senior majoring in computer science, recently conducted a hackathon in Khujand, his home city in Tajikistan. Sanginov did not know what a hackathon was until he came to college in the United States, but during his time at Berea College he has had opportunities to participate in Major League Hackathons (MLH). A hackathon, sometimes called an invention marathon, is usually a day-long event where technology professionals and students meet; design a product, such as a web application; and develop a business plan to create a technology solution for a given issue.

Sher Sanginov sitting in front of his laptop

Sher Sanginov ’19

During the 2018 Spring term, Sanginov arranged to take a semester-long leave of absence to do tech-related community outreach and organize “KhujandHacks,” the first ever hackathon in his hometown in the former Soviet Union. He arranged for his event to be recognized as a MLH Localhost Hackathon and also obtained sponsorships from several tech companies in Khujand including a web design and marketing agency, a software development company and the US Embassy in Tajikistan to cover prizes, food and other expenses of the hackathon. His event attracted 125 people, more than the 75 participants the venue could accommodate. “KhujandHacks” had 16 teams that worked on real-world projects. For many of the participants—like Sanginov before he came to Berea College—it was their first time attending a hackathon.

Sanginov currently is working in a machine-learning internship at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. Read more about how he organized Tajikistan’s first hackathon here.

Categories: News, People, Places
Tags: Computer Science Department, hackathon, International Students, Students

Berea College, the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, focuses on learning, labor and service. The College admits only academically promising students with limited financial resources, primarily from Kentucky and Appalachia, although students come from 40 states and 70 countries. Every Berea student receives a Tuition Promise Scholarship, which means no Berea student pays for tuition. Berea is one of nine federally-recognized Work Colleges, so students work 10 hours or more weekly, earning money for books, housing and meals. The College’s motto, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth,” speaks to its inclusive Christian character.