Promoting tech in the United Arab Emirates

  • As the vice-president of HackAD, I drove the organization of HackNYU in Abu Dhabi and helped younger students run the student interest group

What is HackAD?

HackAD is a student group at NYU Abu Dhabi devoted to creating social space for discussion and pursuit of technology. In my time at NYU Abu Dhabi, the group met every week to work on projects and discuss new ideas over pizza or tasty Mana’eesh (popular levantine pastry). Members of HackAD mainly focus on creating software (e.g. NYU Vote - campus wide voting system) and electronics (e.g. Raspberry Pi hackery).

Celebrating technology in inclusive ways

My goal as the vice president was to continue HackAD’s focus on cutting edge tech, while addressing new topics and attracting a greater diversity of members. I worked to create comfortable environment for people from majors other than Computer Science and Electrical Engineering to explore technology. Together with Women in STEM group at NYU Abu Dhabi, my goal was to ensure that HackAD would not be a “boy’s club” in a way that provides respectful setting for everyone to learn something new.

Largest event of the year was Abu Dhabi branch of HackNYU 2017

For the first time, HackAD brought HackNYU from the Brooklyn and Washington Square campus into Abu Dhabi. Across the NYU network, we had 81 project submissions and 400+ participants. With a two week notice, our Abu Dhabi team put together 36 hours of swag, food, workshops and hackery.

In a true hacker way, we decided to create our own swag - stickers, t-shirts and hoodies. I had great time printing on the textiles. We hit up H&M and made PROBABLY the largest purchase of the same style of t-shirt since Mark Zunckenberg went shopping for his staples. We designed the graphics (learning that small things are really hard to print but look great!) and screen printed on some 50 pieces of textile (front and back).

Screen printing
Tshirt making

We ran multiple workshops including:

I was proud because the workshops engaged a variety of people from multiple majors, and presented technology in fun and social ways that fostered discussion. With speakers from among upperclassmen, we created a sense of community and nailed the quality of delivery.