The University of Maryland’s annual 36-hour hackathon.



Co-Executive Director ’24

Tech Co-Director ’23


Dec. 2021 – Present


Full-Stack Development

Mobile Development

Product Management


TypeScript React Native Expo Vue Nuxt AWS


Bitcamp is the University of Maryland’s annual 36-hour hackathon, bringing in over 1,000 participants . Hackers join together in College Park every spring to take part in interactive workshops, compete in fun mini-events, and create amazing websites, apps, and hardware projects.

I first joined the Bitcamp organizing team in 2021, working on the Tech team to develop a mobile app and NFC scanner app for Bitcamp 2022.

As Tech Co-Director for Bitcamp 2023, I led a team of 13 organizers in the development of Bitcamp’s tech products, including websites, mobile apps, web apps, and miscellaneous projects . My role involved project management responsibilities such as leading weekly meetings, coordinating with other teams, defining project requirements, implementing project timelines, and delegating tasks to team members. I also contributed to development by setting up development environments, creating new features (frontend and backend), managing AWS, and handling deployment.

As Co-Executive Director for Bitcamp 2024, I’m currently leading the 75+ person organizing body, directly managing a team of 12 directors spanning Design, Events, Experience, Logistics, Marketing, Sponsorship & Finance, and Tech.

In this article, I’ll primarily be focusing on the tech products we developed during the Bitcamp 2023 organizing season.


Bitcamp’s websites have historically been written in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. One of our primary goals in 2023 was to modernize our tech stack by migrating our websites to Vue 3 and Nuxt, incorporating TypeScript and SCSS . This required us to rebuild all of our websites from scratch, except for the hacker registration form which was already built with Vue.

Sleeper Sites

In June 2022, we created a sleeper site containing links to our past events and our social media. When we opened our organizer applications in September, we also added the form link to the sleeper site.

Old Sleeper Site Old Sleeper Site

In early February 2023, we finalized our desert theme with the “Find Your Frontier” tagline. As the design team worked on a mockup for our event site, we updated the sleeper site to reflect this year’s desert theme. We also added a list of FAQs and a link to our hacker registration form.

Sleeper Site Sleeper Site

Event Website

In mid-February 2023, we launched the event website as the primary source for all information leading up to Bitcamp , featuring an overview of Bitcamp’s tracks, mini-events, campfire games, schedule, FAQs, and sponsors. It also contains links to applications for hackers, mentors, volunteers, and workshop holders looking to attend Bitcamp.

Event Website Event Website

The website also provides an interactive event schedule for participants to use throughout Bitcamp.

Interactive Event Schedule Interactive Event Schedule

Hacker Registration

In early February 2023, we launched the hacker registration form and received over 1,700 registrations by April . The bulk of the development work involved updating the form to follow new MLH guidelines for required registration fields.

Hacker Registration Form Hacker Registration Form

We also made overall improvements to the registration form. We enforced a set list of school names using a typeahead component and added multi-select options for dietary restrictions and marketing information. These changes resulted in more uniform registration data that made it easier to pull hacker statistics from the registration table. Hacker registration statistics were particularly useful for organizers working on food, travel, tracks, and workshops.

Registration: School Typeahead Registration: School Typeahead

We also implemented a waitlist system for tracks with limited capacity . Hackers could register for any available track and optionally join the waitlist for an additional track. During Bitcamp, we monitored the number of attendees for limited-capacity tracks and admitted hackers from the waitlist if the track had additional space.

Registration: Tracks Registration: Tracks

The registration form is built on a Node.js backend consisting of DynamoDB tables and Lambda functions written in JavaScript. We used the Serverless Framework to deploy the application to separate development, staging, and production environments. For internal testing, all organizers filled out the registration form using a staging URL and reported any bugs they encountered.

Mobile Apps

Event App

Bitcamp’s cross-platform mobile app allows participants to stay up to date throughout the event, with over 900 downloads in 2023 . Using the app, participants can:

  • See announcements and popular events at a glance
  • Browse the full event schedule
  • Get notified about their favorite events
  • View their hacker profile and the campfire games leaderboard
  • Access venue maps of Xfinity Center
Mobile App Mobile App

The mobile app is built with React Native and Expo, using a Node.js backend with DynamoDB tables and Lambda functions. For Bitcamp 2023, development primarily involved a redesigned desert-themed UI with new features such as the time left until submission, calendar view schedule, campfire games leaderboard, and push notifications for favorited events .

Expo created a smooth cross-platform development process, allowing us to use Expo Go to run the app locally and EAS to handle builds and submissions. We used EAS Build to build and distribute app binaries for internal testing, and EAS Submit to deploy the mobile app to the App Store and the Google Play Store .

NFC Scanner App

The NFC scanner app allows organizers to check participants into Bitcamp using QR codes and take attendance at events using NFC wristbands .

A few days before Bitcamp, every hacker, mentor, and volunteer received an email containing a unique QR code. During check-in, organizers used the scanner app to scan each participant’s QR code and assign them an NFC wristband to wear throughout the event. This check-in process provided us with an accurate count of total attendees.

NFC Wristbands at Check-In NFC Wristbands at Check-In

I focused on streamlining the scanner app’s check-in process with a multi-screen step-by-step guide :

  • QR Scan: Scan the participant’s unique QR code to start check-in
  • User Review: Confirm the participant’s name, email, and school
  • ID Check: Check the participant’s ID to verify their identity
  • Minors: Ensure that minors have filled out all required forms and have a chaperone present
  • Mentors / Volunteers: Give a colored headband to mentors and volunteers so hackers can easily identify them
  • Dietary Restrictions: Give a paper wristband to participants with dietary restrictions for priority at meals
  • NFC Scan: Scan a new NFC wristband to assign it to the participant
Scanner App: User Check-In Scanner App: User Check-In

We also used the scanner app to keep track of event attendance by scanning participants’ NFC wristbands . This provides us with accurate attendance counts for individual events, which are particularly useful for meals, track workshops, and sponsored events. Organizers could also award custom achievements to participants, such as mini-event winners. Event attendance and custom achievements allow participants to earn points for their campfire team, with the winning team receiving exclusive Bitcamp swag.

Scanner App: Event Attendance and Custom Points Scanner App: Event Attendance and Custom Points

The scanner app is built with React Native and Expo, sharing a Node.js backend with the mobile app. However, we created a separate scanner app since Expo Go doesn’t support NFC. This made local development more complex, requiring Expo’s custom native code system and platform-specific development builds. Separating the two apps also allowed me to use internal testing releases to distribute the scanner app to organizers through TestFlight and Google Play, making it easier to quickly roll out updates to organizers.

Project Expo

At the end of the hacking period, each team submits their hack to Devpost and selects prize categories to attempt. Bitcamp then holds a project expo where hackers present their projects to judges for each prize category.

The expo web app handles the logistics behind project expo. Using a CSV of submissions from Devpost, the web app uses an algorithm to assign a table to each team and create a judging schedule . The web app then displays hackathon projects with these table assignments and judging schedules for expo attendees, hackers, and sponsors who want to locate or learn more about a hack.

Judges can filter projects by prize category to view a schedule of projects to visit. With 125 submissions for Bitcamp 2023, our algorithm limited judging to 5 minutes for each hack in order to fit within the 2.5-hour project expo. Some prize categories with a greater number of submissions also required multiple judges.

The expo web app’s frontend is built with React. The backend uses Flask and MongoDB for the API, which runs in an EC2 instance using Docker.

Expo Web App Expo Web App

Miscellaneous Projects

Slack Bot

To provide all organizers with an accurate registration count, I created a Slack bot that posts a registration update every 8 hours . The report includes the total number of registrations, a breakdown of registration counts for each track, and marketing information (how hackers heard about Bitcamp).

The Slack bot uses the registration backend, where an EventBridge rule triggers a Lambda function every 8 hours. The Lambda function accesses registration statistics from a DynamoDB table and uses a webhook to send the registration update to the Slack channel.

Registration Slack Bot Registration Slack Bot


I was responsible for using SES to send out emails to registered users :

  • For community events such as Hackathons 101 and Bitcamp Bootcamp, we sent out event information and reminders to all registered UMD students
  • A few days before Bitcamp, we sent out emails to all hackers, mentors, and volunteers with instructions for attending Bitcamp
  • For certain tracks (Hardware and Quantum), we sent out emails to hackers to get accurate track headcounts and provide track-specific instructions

To send out these emails, I created HTML email templates and wrote JS scripts to upload templates to Amazon SES, pull registration data from the DynamoDB table, filter email recipients, and send the personalized emails using SES.

Hacker Email Hacker Email

Internal Tools

To make it easier for organizers to interact with our backend, we used Retool to quickly build internal tools.

During check-in, we occasionally needed to create new user accounts or look up user details . This could occur if a participant registered for Bitcamp but their account wasn’t created in our database. We also had a waitlist for hackers who didn’t register for Bitcamp but still wanted to attend. To simplify these processes, we created a check-in retool to:

  • Create an account for a hacker and send them an email with instructions
  • Check if a hacker is registered for Bitcamp
  • Look up user details, including their unique QR code for check-in
Check-In Retool Check-In Retool

We also created a retool for organizers to easily create and delete announcements , which show up in our mobile app and the venue’s jumbotron.

Announcements Retool Announcements Retool