DeisHacks 2023

A group of students sit around a table and listen to a mentor. They sit in front of a large blue sign reading "DeisHacks".

Over the February 3 - 5 weekend the Brandeis Library housed the 6th annual DeisHacks. Hosted by the Brandeis MakerLab partnered with the Brandeis International Business School, this year's DeisHacks was a 48-hour hybrid competition targeted at real-world solutions - made possible by the Perlmutter Institute for Global Business Leadership and the Hassenfeld Family Innovation Center.

This social design challenge focused on pain points from the 14 not-for-profit partners. Instead of having a single hackathon challenge, this event's theme fused design thinking, digital fabrication & social impact to work on real-world solutions for non-profit companies. Each hackathon team chose a design challenge from Waltham's diverse non-profit community they find compelling to focus on. 

There was a total prize pool of $4,000 generously sponsored by MITRE Corporation and Pega Systems. Each team competed for a chance to win our $1,000 top prize or six other $500 awards. Throughout the weekend teams also had a chance to participate in developmental workshops, get expert advice from mentors, and see the Keynote speaker Austin McChord to learn more about his start-up experience and ask him career questions. This year’s DeisHacks was the first in-person version of the event since 2020. It boasted 238 discord members, 160 in-person hackers, and 33 submitted projects, a DeisHacks record even with the blistering cold. 

The Brandeis Graduate Student Association and the Brandeis Student Union both generously sponsored meals throughout the weekend, and the Hiatt Career Center ran a popular snack table to promote their Rise Together platform. A large team of mentors from across Boston supported the event, including a group from MarkForged helping to produce student fabrications with their amazing 3D printers, and mentors from MIT’s Sloan, MIT Media Lab, Mass TLC, and many other local organizations helped the students hone their prototypes and pitches. A large group of student volunteers made the event run smoother than ever.

Congratulations to all the winners, and to the Brandeis MarkerLab and the Brandeis International Business School for putting on such a successful event! 

See all 33 projects. 

Winners List:
Best Overall - Charles River Museum Narratives of Innovations: Youth Art Exhibition
  • Made By: Erica Egleston, Arnell Reid, Riley Byers, Noah Goble, Roland Calia-Bogan 
Best Technical Hack - The Connecting Communities Project - Vilson Groh Institute
  • Made By: Caelen Hilty, Archer Heffern, Erica Hwang, Daniel Hariyanto
Best Non-technical Hack - We are Waltham: Welcome Home (CDCW Mural Project)
  • Made By: Jonas Kazlauskas, Anne Liu, Jalon Kimes, Nikita Mangaru 
Highest Organizational Impact - Vision Volunteer Alliance, SeeU
  • Made By: Marco Qin, Mahmoud Salah, Bishal Baral, Shreya Ahuja, Phebe Ogunsanwo
Best Marketing Hack - Land’s Sake Farm Service Promotion Project
  • Made By: Frank Asamoah, Harry Yu, Le Qiu
Best Use of Emerging Technology: The Charles River Museum APP
  • Made By: Charlotte Topchik, Qiusheng Zhu, Varun Prasad Edupuganti 
Hidden Gem Award - Land of a Thousand Hills Cafe
  • Made By: Zachery Hovatter, Christina Lin, Omer Barash, Pratyay Banerjee, Djounia Saint-Fleurant 

DeisHacks 2023 Keynote Speaker:
Austin McChord
Sunday February 5th, 2023

Named to Forbes's 30 under 30 list in 2015, McChord got his start in data security and computer engineering. More recently, he founded Norwalk Havoc Robotics League (NHRL), which has become the premier battle bots league in New England-- and one of the most unique in the world. Where most robotics competitions award winners with a large check, McChord saw a more impactful way to distribute the winnings: by donating the vast majority of the winning prize to a charity of the winner's choice. DeisHacks participants learned more about who Austin McChord is, and why he's giving hundreds of thousands at the direction of the contestants in NHRL to small, STEM-focused non-profits and by coming to hear his keynote speech.

The event was judged by 6 fabulous judges who spent all afternoon Sunday watching every submission:

  • Venus Blonde - MITRE
  • Kala Campbell - Pega
  • Emily McGovern - Deloitte
  • Maddison Sowards - MassChallenge
  • Joshua Wright-Huynh - Centene
  • Kirby Kochanowski - Liberty Mutual Insurance
  • Chris Hughes - Mass Technology Leadership Council


Full List of non-profit Partners that Hackers submitted design-based solutions for:

  • Land’s Sake Farm
  • The Community Day Center of Waltham
  • Waltham chamber of commerce
  • Opportunities for Inclusion
  • Waltham Rotary Club
  • Clipper Ship Foundation
  • Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation
  • Boston Benevolent Chiropractic Clinic
  • The Haven Project
  • New England Chinese American Alliance 
  • Deaconess Abundant Life
  • Vision Volunteer Alliance
  • Vilson Groh Institute


DeisHacks would like to say a massive thank you to all of our sponsors for making this event possible: 

  • Hassenfeld Family Innovation Center
  • Perlmutter Institute for Global Business Leadership
  • Brandeis International Business School
  • MITRE Corporation 
  • Pega Systems
  • Brandeis University Hiatt Career Center
  • Rise together Network 
  • Markforged
  • Deloitte
  • Reon Technology 
  • Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council 
  • Brandeis University Library
  • Brandeis University MakerLab
  • Waltham Chamber of Commerce
  • Brandeis University Student Union
  • Brandeis University Graduate Student Association
  • Brandeis Innovation
  • Hubspot
  • MassChallenge
  • United Chinese Association
  • New England Chinese American Alliance 
  • Brandeis University Impact Club
  • Brandeis Chinese Cultural Connection
  • Brandeis University Chinese Students and Scholars Association


We would like to thank our mentors from:

  • MITRE Corporation 
  • MIT
  • New England Chinese American Alliance 
  • Reon Technology 
  • Schneider Electric
  • Brandeis International Business School 



We would like to especially thank our small army of student volunteers who made this event run smoother than any previous year:

  • Devon Sandler 
  • Erica Hwang 
  • Anya Lefkowitz 
  • Ana Mejia Cerdas 
  • Angela Liu 
  • Deborah Engelberg 
  • Eric Cooper 
  • Harrison Goodman 
  • Kelly Lei 
  • Lorena Castano 
  • Rachel Liu 
  • Shreya Ahuja 
  • Wanying Xu 
  • Hannah Liu 
  • Eric Zhang 
  • Cynthia Zhong
  • Cynthia Hu
  • Asuna Wu
  • Rhea Song
  • Joy Qiu


And our Media folks covering and recording the event:

  • Julia Burns - Brandeis Library Communications Specialist
  • Douglas Moser - Communications Associate, Brandeis International Business School 
  • Tiancheng Zheng - Student Photographer
  • Judiana Moise - from the Brandeis MakerLab


DeisHacks 2023 Organizing Team:

  • Gene Miller - DeisHacks Co-Founder & Head of Community Connections / Professor of BUS297 "Board Fellows" Class
  • Ian Roy -  DeisHacks Co-Founder & Event Director
  • Tim Hebert - Deputy Event Director & Official Event MC
  • Kim Airasian - Event Strategy & External Relations
  • Vincent Calia-Bogan - DeisHacks Project Manager & Event Co-MC
  • Leo Chen - BUS297 Class TA & Manager of Volunteer Services
  • Darren Deng - BUS297 Board Fellow & Community Sponsorship Manage