Hack the Gender GapThere’s a serious gender gap when it comes to representation of women in the media and tech businesses. That’s why MediaShift and the Reed College of Media at West Virginia University will convene college-age women from around the country to envision their role and influence in the emerging “smart-world” market and opportunities for entrepreneurship. Taking place on April 1-3, 2016, the weekend will kick off Friday evening with a mixer among students, faculty and professional mentors. Then, students will break into teams to create their own startup ideas around hardware + journalism, presenting them to judges on Sunday.

From smart-objects to beacons, sensors and augmented reality, this hands-on Makeathon introduces women as first-generation makers in media and the Internet of Things (IoT). Prominent women leaders in media and technology will inspire, mentor and participate in a series of DIY challenges designed to problem solve, invent and craft solutions that make sense for journalism and media enterprises. The Makeathon will focus on new markets in IoT and their potential impact in journalism and media, including new forms of sensor journalism; reporting with networked smart objects; storytelling with beacons; combining augmented reality and 3-D printing, and more. Faculty and professionals from around the country will serve as team facilitators and mentors. Undergraduate and graduate students are welcome to participate.

Note: This Makeathon does NOT require any experience in computer programming. It will focus on prototyping hardware and creating business models for a journalism-related startup.