Luis Ocampo, 20

Hacker, Organizer
Luis Ocampo
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Luis entered college struggling to accept the transition from the youthfulness of high school to the reality of adulthood and college. Having just turned 18, being bombarded with career fair preparation, conducting organization recruiting, completing complex homework assignments, and learning thousands of new faces was overwhelming, to say the least. He had gotten involved in a few clubs, none of which were really interesting to him, and he quickly fell into a clockwork rhythm: go to class, do homework, eat some food, maybe a meeting or two about an org he didn’t care about, sleep, and repeat. He figured that his next four years would be a cycle of getting involved in clubs and achieving good grades for the sake of it.

Then something incredible happened. Luis spent a lot of time with a group of people that had all randomly met waiting for laundry in their dorm’s basement. They were an eclectic assortment of kids that bonded over their STEM backgrounds and complaints about classwork. 

One particular night, they had gotten into one of those late-night existential conversations about career aspirations and the purpose of life. Some of his friends were having trouble understanding how an introduction to computer science course led them to build an app or a video game. He was suddenly reminded of the hackathon he had attended in high school — Luis had gone purely for extra credit, but he remembered how much he enjoyed the experiential learning.

Luis hopped on his laptop, searched up collegiate hackathons, and came across TigerHacks, which was happening just a few hours away over from his school at the University of Missouri. The next week, he gathered up a few friends and spent the weekend building and learning, and even though the project they built that weekend wasn’t the best, he was hooked. 

He learned about Major League Hacking through the representative at the event, and the next thing Luis knew, he was going to an event every month or so. Soon enough, he began to recognize familiar faces and sponsors, and that was the first time he truly felt like he was part of the hacker community.

His favorite hackathon project was from that weekend at MHacks 11. On the first day, they were struggling hard to come up with an idea. They decided to take a brain break and headed to a nearby grocery for some snacks. One of his friends is a huge health nut, so she bolted straight to the produce section, and his Cheeto-eating self followed. They noticed an interesting shelf where nearly expired and damaged produce was on sale for cheaper, and then the lightbulb moment happened.

They did some research back at the venue and learned that 15 percent of perishable products go to waste in grocery retailing due to damage and spoilage. If they were able to develop an easy way to implement expiration date-based pricing, they would save an incredible amount of food and money. None of his friends had much computer science experience, so instead of building the project for them, he began to rapidly teach them stuff like how to build a Windows Form. The end project was pretty simple — a form ties an item to an expiration date and prints a QR code, which shows the current price for the item and is adjusted for how close it is to expiration.

His favorite part about that project was seeing his friends burst into joy when code compiled or when they got something to work. Printing “hello world” on an HTML site is barebones to some, but for others, it’s such a cool feeling to see code turn into something real. Being able to witness that is what motivated Luis to continue organizing his hackathon, PickHacks.

Having attended college on a whim, Luis was astounded that he had found something he was truly passionate about. Suddenly, he began to uncover other interests that manifested themselves in that passion. It was like flicking a light switch — Luis became interested in music, photography, travel, and more. It’s amazing how the simple decision to attend a collegiate hackathon enhanced his quality of life so much. He’s incredibly thankful to have parents that supported him in his wild endeavors. He recognizes that this is not a common story, however, and many people are unable to access opportunities for reasons outside of their control.

Because hackathons have had such a profound impact on his life, Luis set out to help others on a larger scale. When founding PickHacks, Luis and his co-founder Chris had the goal of bringing the hacker community to Missouri University of Science and Technology and Missouri as a whole. In their first iteration, nearly half of attendees were first-time hackers, and over 80% had been to fewer than three hackathons. Being able to provide this opportunity to students that never would have experienced it otherwise is his favorite impact on hackers in their community; as a result of PickHacks, Luis and Chris have had a much larger hackathon representation at other events.

For a community that is growing at an exponential rate, Luis believes it is important to always think about how to incorporate people from all backgrounds. He found that small schools often shy away from hosting hackathons and that larger schools often overlook trade schools and community colleges in their marketing. Luis said, “The tech community should be one of encouragement, not intimidation, and as hackers and organizers, we have the power to embody that.”

Quick Facts

Pronouns: He/Him
Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri, USA
School: Missouri University of Science and Technology
Graduation Date: 2021
First Hackathon: GlobalHack VI (Fall 2016)
Favorite Coding Language: Figma, Sketch, Illustrator
Can't Live Without: Reddit

Luis Ocampo, 20

Hacker, Organizer
Luis Ocampo
Share this profile

Luis entered college struggling to accept the transition from the youthfulness of high school to the reality of adulthood and college. Having just turned 18, being bombarded with career fair preparation, conducting organization recruiting, completing complex homework assignments, and learning thousands of new faces was overwhelming, to say the least. He had gotten involved in a few clubs, none of which were really interesting to him, and he quickly fell into a clockwork rhythm: go to class, do homework, eat some food, maybe a meeting or two about an org he didn’t care about, sleep, and repeat. He figured that his next four years would be a cycle of getting involved in clubs and achieving good grades for the sake of it.

Then something incredible happened. Luis spent a lot of time with a group of people that had all randomly met waiting for laundry in their dorm’s basement. They were an eclectic assortment of kids that bonded over their STEM backgrounds and complaints about classwork. 

One particular night, they had gotten into one of those late-night existential conversations about career aspirations and the purpose of life. Some of his friends were having trouble understanding how an introduction to computer science course led them to build an app or a video game. He was suddenly reminded of the hackathon he had attended in high school — Luis had gone purely for extra credit, but he remembered how much he enjoyed the experiential learning.

Luis hopped on his laptop, searched up collegiate hackathons, and came across TigerHacks, which was happening just a few hours away over from his school at the University of Missouri. The next week, he gathered up a few friends and spent the weekend building and learning, and even though the project they built that weekend wasn’t the best, he was hooked. 

He learned about Major League Hacking through the representative at the event, and the next thing Luis knew, he was going to an event every month or so. Soon enough, he began to recognize familiar faces and sponsors, and that was the first time he truly felt like he was part of the hacker community.

His favorite hackathon project was from that weekend at MHacks 11. On the first day, they were struggling hard to come up with an idea. They decided to take a brain break and headed to a nearby grocery for some snacks. One of his friends is a huge health nut, so she bolted straight to the produce section, and his Cheeto-eating self followed. They noticed an interesting shelf where nearly expired and damaged produce was on sale for cheaper, and then the lightbulb moment happened.

They did some research back at the venue and learned that 15 percent of perishable products go to waste in grocery retailing due to damage and spoilage. If they were able to develop an easy way to implement expiration date-based pricing, they would save an incredible amount of food and money. None of his friends had much computer science experience, so instead of building the project for them, he began to rapidly teach them stuff like how to build a Windows Form. The end project was pretty simple — a form ties an item to an expiration date and prints a QR code, which shows the current price for the item and is adjusted for how close it is to expiration.

His favorite part about that project was seeing his friends burst into joy when code compiled or when they got something to work. Printing “hello world” on an HTML site is barebones to some, but for others, it’s such a cool feeling to see code turn into something real. Being able to witness that is what motivated Luis to continue organizing his hackathon, PickHacks.

Having attended college on a whim, Luis was astounded that he had found something he was truly passionate about. Suddenly, he began to uncover other interests that manifested themselves in that passion. It was like flicking a light switch — Luis became interested in music, photography, travel, and more. It’s amazing how the simple decision to attend a collegiate hackathon enhanced his quality of life so much. He’s incredibly thankful to have parents that supported him in his wild endeavors. He recognizes that this is not a common story, however, and many people are unable to access opportunities for reasons outside of their control.

Because hackathons have had such a profound impact on his life, Luis set out to help others on a larger scale. When founding PickHacks, Luis and his co-founder Chris had the goal of bringing the hacker community to Missouri University of Science and Technology and Missouri as a whole. In their first iteration, nearly half of attendees were first-time hackers, and over 80% had been to fewer than three hackathons. Being able to provide this opportunity to students that never would have experienced it otherwise is his favorite impact on hackers in their community; as a result of PickHacks, Luis and Chris have had a much larger hackathon representation at other events.

For a community that is growing at an exponential rate, Luis believes it is important to always think about how to incorporate people from all backgrounds. He found that small schools often shy away from hosting hackathons and that larger schools often overlook trade schools and community colleges in their marketing. Luis said, “The tech community should be one of encouragement, not intimidation, and as hackers and organizers, we have the power to embody that.”

Quick Facts

Pronouns: He/Him
Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri, USA
School: Missouri University of Science and Technology
Graduation Date: 2021
First Hackathon: GlobalHack VI (Fall 2016)
Favorite Coding Language: Figma, Sketch, Illustrator
Can't Live Without: Reddit
Share this profile

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