FCHacks is a hackathon for high schoolers in the Pittsburgh region. A hackathon is a competition during which students who are interested in exploring computer science or engineering team up and build cool projects (apps, games, robots, or whatever they're excited about). FCHacks is open to students with a variety of skill levels—no prior knowledge or experience needed. All participants will have access to mentors and materials, and will have a chance to pitch to sponsors and judges and win prizes; beginners will also be provided with computers, workshops, and special prizes.


FCHacks is a 12-hour hackathon, from 7:30 AM to 7:30 PM, on Saturday, March 25, 2017. You can find a more detailed schedule below. We'll have an opening speaker, around 10 hours of dedicated time for students to work on their projects (and eat—lunch and snacks are provided!), and a science-fair style expo presentation, award ceremony, and closing speaker at the end of the event.


FCHacks will take place at Fox Chapel Area High School, about 20 minutes outside of the City of Pittsburgh.

611 Field Club Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15238


What generally happens at a hackathon?

During a hackathon, participants ("hackers") work in teams of up to 4 to build projects ("hacks") from scratch. These projects can be pretty much anything—apps, games, robots, websites, or anything else you can dream up!

What do people usually make?

There are very few limits on what you can build, but here are some examples of what people have made at other hackathons. Keep in mind that almost all of these projects were created by college students during longer events (typically 36 hours)—your projects at FCHacks do not have to be this elaborate!

Isn't hacking illegal?

In this context, "hacking" means quickly and cleverly building a piece of hardware or software from scratch. This is completely different from illegal hacking, which involves gaining unauthorized access to a computer system.

Do I need to have a team or an idea?

Not at all! You're welcome to start brainstorming or forming a team ahead of time, but this is certainly not required—we'll have dedicated time at the event for you to find a team and come up with an idea.

What can I win?

We'll have several prizes at the event, including overall prizes (1st, 2nd, 3rd) and prizes for hacks in specific areas. We'll also have a special prize specifically for beginners.

Who can attend?

FCHacks is open to all high school students. If you're younger, email us and we'll see what we can do. If you're older, please consider registering as a mentor or volunteer instead.

How much does it cost to attend?

Absolutely nothing! FCHacks is completely free to attend, and, thanks to the generous support of our sponsors, we'll also have lunch and snacks provided throughout the day, as well as materials for you to work with.

What resources will be available for me?

We'll have mentors available to help you with various aspects of your project, like iPhone app development or circuit design, as well as optional workshops centered around specific topics, like pitching your project to the judges. We'll also have materials for hardware hackers (think Arduino boards, 3D printers, and soldering irons) and extra resources for beginners (see for details).

What if I've never coded before?

No problem! One of our main goals is to provide an opportunity for students with little exposure to computer science to see how fun and powerful it can be. If you're a beginner, we'll have intensive introductory workshops teaching you how to code something from scratch, and we'll even provide you with a laptop pre-loaded with the tools you need. We'll also award a special "Best Beginner Project" prize at the end of the event.

What should I bring?

All you need to bring is a student ID, a laptop (if you don't have one, let us know and we'll see what we can do), physical materials (if you think you'll need them for a hardware hack), and an open mind!

How do I sign up?

You can register for FCHacks as a participant, mentor, or volunteer on our EventBrite page or subscribe to our mailing list .

Have a question we didn't cover here?

Email us at and we promise we'll get back to you soon!


Time Event Notes
7:30am Registration Enter through Athletics entrance (near the parking lot and Fox statue). Bring student ID if you have one.
7:30am Breakfast Bagels and pastries catered by Market District.
7:45am Introduction, opening speaker, kickoff Our opening speaker will be Dave Mawhinney, a serial entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and CMU professor. We hope you're as excited for his talk as we are!
8:15am Hacking begins!
8:15am to 9:15am Brainstorming and team formation (Optional)
8:15am to 10:15am Beginner workshop (Optional) Don't worry if you don't know how to code! We'll teach you hardware and software basics using the Hummingbird Robotics Kit. After the workshop, you can team up with other beginners to create a project from scratch, and we'll have mentors available throughout the entire day to guide you along.
9:15am to 10:15am Introduction to 3D Printing workshop (Optional) We'll teach you how to design and print physical parts using a MakerBot 3D printer. After the workshop, you can print parts you need for your hacks throughout the day.
10:15am to 11:15am Introduction to Electronics workshop (Optional) We'll teach you how to make physical devices that interact with the world using the Arduino Uno microcontroller.
10:15am to 11:15am Introduction to Machine Learning workshop (Optional) We'll teach you how to build machine learning and artificial intelligence software to diagnose diseases. These powerful tools might be useful for your hacks!
Noon to 1:00pm Lunch! Catered by Market District. Vegetarian options available.
1:00pm to 2:00pm Introduction to App Development workshop (Optional) We'll teach you how to create Android apps with Java. If you've taken (or are currently taking) AP Computer Science, this is a great way to practically apply your Java programming knowledge!
4:30pm to 5:15pm Pitch Development workshop (Optional) You'll work with business professors and entrepreneurs to craft the perfect pitch for your project. These skills will be useful over the next couple hours!
5:15pm Hacking ends!
5:15pm to 6:00pm Expo Teams will set up demos for judges, who will walk around and pick the top 5 projects as well as winners of several special awards (Best Beginner Hack, Most Entrepreneurial Hack, Best Hardware Hack, Best Web Hack, etc.).
6:00pm to 6:30pm Dinner! Pizza from Vocelli's. Plain, pepperoni, and veggie available.
6:30pm to 7:30pm Final ceremony (open to the public) Top 5 teams will pitch their projects on stage to final judging panel. Then, awards and closing speaker. Our closing speaker will be serial entrepreneur Ron Bianchini—we're super excited for his talk!


Mihir Garimella

Founder & Director

Bliss Uribe


Andreas Paljug


Megan Cicconi

Faculty Sponsor


Interested in sponsoring, mentoring, or volunteering at FCHacks?

Support the next generation of makers, dreamers, and inventors by partnering with us.

Sponsorship Information Mentor/Volunteer Registration