SCIENCE + TECHNOLOGY

Utah students compete in ‘Hackathon’ with Hill Air Force Base

Nov 2, 2023, 6:00 PM

students sit at their computers as they compete in a hackathon...

Students compete in a 'Hackathon' at Hill Air Force Base in Layton, Utah on Nov. 2, 2023. (Adam Small/KSL NewsRadio)

(Adam Small/KSL NewsRadio)

KAYSVILLE, Utah — Students in the Davis School District competed in a so-called hackathon Thursday morning. It’s an event put on by members of Hill Air Force Base.

Contrary to what the name suggests, the kids were not training to be the next genius computer hacker. But they were coding, and completing other computer-related puzzles.

Kasey Thompson, a program director in the software division at Hill Air Force Base, told KSL NewsRadio that the term hacking is a little outdated and misunderstood.

“A lot of people recognize that as trying to hack a system or hack into a computer and do nefarious things, that’s not what this is about,” Thompson said.

“Hacking is the keystroking … I’m hacking away like you’re hacking away on a term paper.”

Interest shown by Utah high schoolers is encouraging

Students gathered for the day-long event at Davis Catalyst, a school designed for kids who want to pursue specialized careers, like programming, coding, aviation, pharmaceuticals, and construction.

Thompson said this was the first time they hosted an event like this with high school students. He was excited to see so many kids show up.

“It’s amazing … it’s ridiculously encouraging,” Thompson said. “They are already looking to do things that we are looking for at a professional level, they’re wanting to do at a high school level … that is encouraging.”

Kids from all over the district attended the Hackathon.

Some, like Woods Cross High School senior Michelle Chan, expressed interest in cybersecurity as a career.

“Not only because it’s a good paying job, but also it’s … essential [for] the future and goals … I have,” Chan said.

Representatives from Hill Air Force Base were at the event, too. They were looking for potential intern candidates, though winning the competition didn’t guarantee an internship.

Computer skills are in demand, whether in defense or the civilian workforce

Even if the kids don’t end up working in national defense, Thompson said their skills are highly coveted in multiple areas of the modern workforce.

“Other companies all have a software person,” Thompson said. “[It] doesn’t matter if you’re fast food or a lumber yard, you’re going to have a need for somebody like this.”

The goal of the hackathon, Thompson said, was to educate and to interest more kids in computer programming and cybersecurity.

“When we’re trying to defend a nation, the more educated … [and] capable we are with our employees, the safer we’re going to be,” Thompson said.

Related: 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Science + Technology

The word "privacy" is nowhere in the U.S. Constitution. But with technology changing things by the ...

Amanda Dickson

Dickson: Should we have a consumer right to privacy?

A bipartisan proposal would define privacy as a consumer right and create new rules for data collection companies to follow.

2 days ago

The New Horizons spacecraft took an image of Pluto's heart on July 14, 2015....

Ashley Strickland, CNN

Pluto gained a ‘heart’ after colliding with a planetary body

Researchers think they have solved the mystery of how Pluto's distinctive heart came to be. It could reveal new clues about its origins.

2 days ago

Artificial intelligence could be the next tool used in mental health therapy....

Amanda Dickson

Artificial intelligence may be able to help with your mental health

University of Utah researchers are working to understand how artificial intelligence and mental health therapists might work together.

7 days ago

denver airport, a southwest flight from the airport suffered a mechanical issue...

Pete Muntean and Philip Wang, CNN

Southwest Boeing 737-800 flight from Denver loses engine cover, FAA investigating

Southwest said its maintenance teams would review the aircraft. The flight reached an altitude of about 10,000 feet.

14 days ago

Neuroscientist David Eagleman speaks at the University of Utah's Kingsbury Hall on Tuesday as the k...

Sky Mundell, KSL.COM

Neuroscientist David Eagleman proposes test of intelligence for AI to Utah audience

Eagleman spoke as part of the Natural History Museum's lecture series centered around the nature of intelligence.

14 days ago

a laptop shows openai voice engine blog post...

Clare Duffy, CNN

OpenAI says it’s working on AI that mimics human voices

OpenAI shared samples from early tests of Voice Engine, which uses a 15-second sample of someone speaking to generate a convincing replica of their voice.

21 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

Utah students compete in ‘Hackathon’ with Hill Air Force Base