Reflections on mentoring @ PennAppsX, and reasons to do it again

Really, the essence of PennApps would’ve been taking a picture of the desolation I saw when I got there at about 8am on Sunday – students sleeping on air mattresses, trash everywhere (1. disgusting, 2. no one cares about facilities having to clean that up?). However, the only picture I took was of the demos, 200+ teams, which still captures some of the massive-ness of the event (and I zoomed into the most crowded part):

This was my first PennApps fully mentoring (I only stopped by briefly in the spring), and I got to be a judge during first round (there are many, many judges, given the number of tables to cover).

Reasons to do it again (and things to remember):

  • I was pretty impressed with diversity. Women participants and women judges (although I don’t know the make up of final judges) were represented, at least in some %.
  • Well organized compared to what I saw of winter 2014. The executive team really seemed to have it together, which is especially impressive when you consider this was week 3 for many university semesters.
  • Students met up with each other easily. I met a team with a student from UCLA, McGill, and UT. They formed their team online, so the event was evidently friendly to students who came without a team.
  • Remember: Don’t lose your mentor hat. While dorky, I lost mine apparently immediately, and the mentor with the silly hat had a lot more questions than I did, probably because it wasn’t so obvious that I was a mentor.
  • Great food, but wanting sometimes. I saw lots of vegan options (awesome!), but a student told me that that wasn’t always the case for every meal.
  • The one tech talk I went to was quite good, and a surprising random opportunity to go learn something/see what the students are up to in another context. I’d probably give one next time.
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