HackHERS 2021 is the seventh iteration of Rutgers University's annual, women-centric hackathon. On February 20-21, hundreds of students from colleges throughout the U.S. will virtually come together for 24 hours to turn their ideas into reality. HackHERS is organized by Rutgers Women in Computer Science, in collaboration with the Douglass Project for Women in STEM. 

Attendees will enjoy a weekend of awesome tech, food, swag, workshops, and mini-events while learning from distinguished speakers, inspiring mentors, and peers. Students will come together and get involved in learning, planning, and developing projects– ranging from web applications to hardware hacks–with the ultimate goal offostering growth and productivity among women who want to code. 

We want to create a space where women feel empowered to create with code and explore tech culture, and we invite everyone to help us achieve that.

*We use the inclusive definition of “women” and “female” and welcome trans women, genderqueer women, and non-binary people.

Hackers can register here.

Mentors can register here.


  • Individuals who are undergraduate or graduate students
  • Must be registered as a hacker (www.ruhackhers.org)
  • We urge allies who wish to participate in our event to consider our mission statement before registering and know that by doing so, they pledge to follow our Code of Conduct.


A valid submission is a software or hardware hack produced at HackHERS 2021, from start to finish.

Make your project, submit your hack including your entire codebase (ex. Github repository link) to Devpost and attend the HackHERS expo to show off what you built. You must submit on Devpost in order to be eligible for prizes and include a link to a video demo (maximum 3 minutes).

Remember to include all your team member names, up to 4 people.

Be sure to indicate what category you are competing for.

Hackathon Sponsors


$4,604 in prizes

Best Overall Hack

Given to the team with the most innovative, functional, and well-designed hack.

Each winning team member will receive a Nintendo Switch Lite.

For Women, By Women

We love seeing women empowering other women through technology! Whether it’s for equality in the workplace, women’s health, or anything else you can think of, this prize category is for women empowering each other. Given to the team with the best hack that empowers women.

Each winning team member will receive an Amazon Firestick.

Best Space Hack

The theme this year is space, and we want to bring out your inner astronaut! Given to the team with the best space-themed hack.

Each winning team member will receive a galaxy light projector.

Best First Time Hack

Is this your first time attending a hackathon or creating a hack? For all those who came here just starting to code, we encourage you to keep building things and learning. This is just the start of a truly rewarding journey.

Each winning team member will receive a year of Leetcode Premium.

* To be eligible for this category, at least half of the team has to be first-time hackers. We encourage all first-time hackers to submit their creations!

Best UI/UX Hack

Given to the team with the hack displaying the best user interface and offering an optimal user experience.

Each winning team member will receive a Wacom tablet.

Funniest Hack

Hackathons aren’t all work and no play. This prize is for the inner class clown in you! Win something silly to take home by making us laugh until we fall! Given to the team with the funniest hack.

Each winning team member will receive a year of Disney+ OR a $50 Amazon Gift Card.

Best Political Hack

Inspired by this election season? Use technology to build solutions to pressing civic problems! Given to the team with the most unique political-themed hack.

Each winning team member will receive a Chestnut Bamboo LapGear Bamboo Lap Desk (this was changed from wireless speakers).

Best Failed Attempt Hack

We want to encourage and motivate all aspiring hackers to submit their creations! Given to the team with the best attempt at a hack that might not have gone as planned.

Each winning team member will receive a Cube Pro.

In-Kind Sponsor Prize

We love our in-kind sponsors! Twilio and echoAR are providing FREE resources to HackHERS participants to use in their projects. Any team that uses Twilio OR echoAR resources is eligible for this award category.

For more information on how to access these resources, visit this link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1c-u_KoLyjBALPjjLDZEjvKEB6UJn-JSObKQK5H8iBP4/edit

Each winning team member will receive Bluetooth Noise-Cancelling Headphones.

Best Healthcare Hack (Merck) (2)

This award will be given to the best healthcare hack, judged by Merck. Although the category is open, we recommend you use the following resources and guidelines:

COVID-19 Vaccines: Data Integration & Visualizations

Given data on COVID-19 vaccinations and infection rates by country, as well as their demographic and economic data, pick two of the following questions to focus on, and produce visualizations to represent your findings:
- What are the factors that influence vaccine administration (e.g., politics, economy, demography)?
- Which vaccines are used and in which countries?
- Which country is vaccinating a larger percent of its population?
- How does a country’s vaccination rate compare to their infection rate?

For the datasets, more information, and extra resources, visit this link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/11To7Pl7x-NLFXXJqnn84ByT2R_MQm300XbCrP1_va0o/edit?usp=sharing

Each member of our challenge winning team will select one of the following prizes: Super 3D printing pen, Raspberry Pi 4 Model, Victrola Vintage 3-Speed Bluetooth Portable Suitcase Record Player with Built-in Speakers. Each member will also receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

Best Financial Hack (Capital One)

This prize will be awarded to the best financial hack, judged by Capital One! This hack prize category is unspecific and any hack within the finance category can be submitted for this prize.

Each winning team member will receive a $200 Amazon gift card.

Steganography Challenge (Lockheed Martin)

Lockheed Martin’s challenge will be a steganography challenge of our famous Blackbird SR-72.

Jsteg is a stego technique that hides the data in the least-significant bit of the jpg image.

Link to image: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1oWXsvfda1pa7ABIaeAWPYLRyK25SQnZr?usp=sharing

You can write your own encoder/decoder or just download an existing open source one: https://github.com/lukechampine/jsteg

This is an individual challenge. The first person to submit the correct answer will receive a Lockheed Martin UV Phone Sterilizer w/ Internal Wireless Charging Pad.

SUBMISSIONS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED VIA DEVPOST. Please see the #lockheed-martin channel in the Slack for information.

Devpost Achievements

Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:


Lars Sorensen

Lars Sorensen

Jacqueline Medina

Jacqueline Medina
Douglass Residential College Program Coordinator

Sharvani Pratinidhi

Sharvani Pratinidhi
CS Graduate Mentor

Deepika Onteru

Deepika Onteru
WiCS Co-President

Samantha Lee

Samantha Lee
WiCS Co-President

Joyce Van Drost

Joyce Van Drost
WiCS/HackHERS alumna

Aroshi Rathore

Aroshi Rathore
WiCS/HackHERS alumna

Naeem Hossain

Naeem Hossain
HackRU/WiCS alumna

Zohaib Imam

Zohaib Imam
Capital One Representative

Karina Stronciu

Karina Stronciu
Lockheed Martin Representative

Ellie Norris

Ellie Norris
Merck Representative

Judging Criteria

  • Application
    Does the project have any feasible application in real life? Does it seem like something that someone could use or would actually have a benefit in the real world?
  • Functionality/Quality
    Is the project free of major bugs? Does it look appealing? The UI/UX doesn’t have to be absolutely perfect, but if we're having a hard time understanding the project by looking at it, there may be a problem.
  • Creativity
    We want hackers to create a project that makes you say “wow” and tell all your friends about it. We're looking for projects that think so far outside the box that you begin to wonder why there was a box at all in the first place.
  • Technical Complexity
    In only 24 hours, hackers manage to build projects with remarkably complex infrastructures built on excitingly advanced frameworks. We hope to see projects that are really running some beautiful code or hardware under the hood.
  • Social Impact
    We're looking for hacks that seem crazy, the moonshots that seem out of this world, and the blueprints for change that will impact future generations in humanity's most pressing areas of concern in the coming years.

Questions? Email the hackathon manager

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