About the Hackathon

Download the Announcement


During this 36-hour Hackathon for Social Justice, teams of 6 girls worked together to research, design, and build a web app prototype while mentors from industry and academia provided feedback and support. The web app primarily functions as an interactive learning tool to help learners identify and address implicit bias in the recruitment, hiring, and promotion of STEM faculty. This participatory educational platform helped facilitate a more inclusive process and provided institutions of higher education and STEM industries strategies to diversify their faculty and workforce.


The hackathon started at 7 am on Saturday, November 19 and ran through 7 pm on Sunday, November 20.


Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab

Kossiakoff Center

11100 Johns Hopkins Road, Laurel, Maryland 20723

Campus map


The Hackathon for Social Justice was a signature program of the National STEM Collaborative in partnership with Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and Surge Assembly.

The National STEM Collaborative (NSTEMC) is a consortium of higher education institutions and non-profit agencies committed to advocating for women and girls of color to persist and succeed in STEM both academically and professionally. Housed in the Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology at Arizona State University, NSTEMC engages scholars, policy makers, industry professionals, and community activists in programs that amplifies meaningful dialogues and advances the movement to provide more opportunities and resources to underserved and underrepresented groups in STEM disciplines and industries, specifically girls and women of color.

The STEM Program Management Office at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory centers on helping more students realize their potential in STEM-related fields. Making sure more diverse, talented STEM professionals are prepared for APL and other Central Maryland organizations to hire is also at the top of our list. By developing problem solvers and critical thinkers who can make much-needed contributions in STEM, APL is making an investment in our country’s future workforce and ensuring that America’s next generation of STEM professionals is well prepared for the nation’s challenges ahead.

Formerly PinStripe Consulting, founded in 2003 and headquartered in Washington, DC, Surge Assembly is an established and trusted provider of digital, logistical and management services for both non-profits and commercial organizations. Their core service offerings include Design & Technology Integration, Management Support Services, Logistics & Operations and Staff Augmentation. Through community impact, Surge Assembly staff spends thousands of hours each year giving back, through hands-on service, board service, and pro bono consulting.


The National Bureau of Economic Research conducted a study revealing how teacher bias early in a girl's education has significant effects on her later success in STEM subjects, including whether or not she chooses to take classes in those subjects in high school (Lavy & Sand, 2015).  African American and Latina adolescent girls express more interest in STEM careers than their White counterparts; yet, relatively fewer enter and persist in STEM majors and in the workforce (NSF, 2012, 2013).

A study on Gender Bias Against Women of Color in Science (Williams, Phillips, & Hall, 2014) indicates that gender and race play a role in driving women out of science careers (see table 1). According to the National Science Foundation (2012, 2013), minority women comprise fewer than 1 in 10 employed scientists and engineers with only 5 percent of Asian women, 5 percent of African American women, less than 1 percent of Native American women, and 2 percent of Hispanic women represented in the science and engineering labor force in the U.S. This compares poorly with women as a whole, which made up 28 percent of all workers in science and engineering occupations in 2010.

Table 1

The National STEM Collaborative through the Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology at ASU seeked to help fix the leaky pipeline by addressing Implicit Bias in recruitment, hiring, and advancement practices in post-secondary STEM disciplines. By gathering relevant studies and resources, conducting focus groups, and synthesizing collected data, the research team designed a curriculum content that enabled learners to identify, reflect on, and address their personal implicit biases. The content was developed into an intuitive web application that was deployed to hiring professionals and search committees.

This participatory education helped facilitate a more inclusive process and provided institutions of higher education and STEM industries strategies to diversify their faculty and workforce. The prototype(s) created during this hackathon have the potential to make a lasting impact on the culture and landscape of STEM academia and industry for generations of girls and women of color.