Selynna Sun, 21

Hacker, Organizer, Sponsor, Mentor
Selynna Sun
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In 10th grade, Selynna never had any intention of trying or being associated with computer science. This changed when she attended her first hackathon, High School Hacks. Fueled by the goal of getting free food and seeing the inside of a large tech company, she signed up. However, during and after the hackathon, she was struck by the culture and purpose of hackathons and how there were hundreds and thousands of students willing to give up their weekends to build something cool just for the fun of it. Once her team finished their project, a simple Android app, she ended up loving the logic and problem solving behind computer science and wanted to be a part of a community comprised of people passionate about building.

As cliche as it might sound, the hacker community and hackathons have helped Selynna develop both personally and professionally. She’s gotten to volunteer and organize hackathons with some of her closest friends, has met hundreds of passionate students across the globe, has become a stronger and more confident programmer, improve her public speaking through keynotes, and much more. Selynna says, “To be honest, I'm not really sure where I'd be without hackathons. It's hard to imagine life without the lessons I've picked up throughout the last 5 years.”

Both of the hackathons Selynna founded, Los Altos Hacks and SLO Hacks, were at schools without nationally-known hackathons. At Los Altos High, there wasn't a hacker community. It was upsetting that none of her classmates went to local hackathons, much less traveled to other states to attend collegiate hackathons. Los Altos Hacks had the goal to establish a hacker community at LAHS and give other communities opportunities they wouldn't normally get. Now, as the team is about to host its 5th annual event, they've truly made a name as one of the Bay Area's best high school hackathons for itself. 

Selynna had a similar problem at her college, Cal Poly SLO, where she didn't feel that many other students were going to hackathons (especially those abroad or not local). SLO Hacks came out of her desire for Cal Poly to have a technical hacker community and to have people passionate about building things. They have hosted three events a year for two years so far, and more Cal Poly students have gotten actively involved in building things outside of school. As well, non-Cal Poly students recognize Cal Poly as a powerhouse for hackathons.

Selynna has gone on to become an MLH Coach and travels to represent the company at various hackathons around the world each month. In the next 5 years, Selynna would like to go into engineering management and potentially beyond. Currently a senior at California Polytechnic State University (San Luis Obispo), she focuses mainly on full-stack web development.

Her favorite hackathon project is from VHacks 2018 in Vatican City. Her team built Zelixa, a Hololens app that helps dyslexic people train themselves to read better by implementing different forms of dyslexia therapy through augmented reality. This was the first time Selynna had gotten so much mentorship from company partners such as Microsoft. Because of their help, she was able to learn Unity and C# from scratch. Her team ended up placing 2nd in their category and eventually brought the project to Microsoft's Imagine Cup World Finals which was a life-changing experience for her.

Quick Facts

Pronouns: She/Her
Hometown: Mountain View, California, USA
School: Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo
Graduation Date: 2020
First Hackathon: High School Hacks (Spring 2014)
Favorite Coding Language: JavaScript
Can't Live Without: Google Calendar
Selynna and her team winning second place at VHacks 2018

Selynna Sun, 21

Hacker, Organizer, Sponsor, Mentor
Selynna Sun
Share this profile

In 10th grade, Selynna never had any intention of trying or being associated with computer science. This changed when she attended her first hackathon, High School Hacks. Fueled by the goal of getting free food and seeing the inside of a large tech company, she signed up. However, during and after the hackathon, she was struck by the culture and purpose of hackathons and how there were hundreds and thousands of students willing to give up their weekends to build something cool just for the fun of it. Once her team finished their project, a simple Android app, she ended up loving the logic and problem solving behind computer science and wanted to be a part of a community comprised of people passionate about building.

As cliche as it might sound, the hacker community and hackathons have helped Selynna develop both personally and professionally. She’s gotten to volunteer and organize hackathons with some of her closest friends, has met hundreds of passionate students across the globe, has become a stronger and more confident programmer, improve her public speaking through keynotes, and much more. Selynna says, “To be honest, I'm not really sure where I'd be without hackathons. It's hard to imagine life without the lessons I've picked up throughout the last 5 years.”

Both of the hackathons Selynna founded, Los Altos Hacks and SLO Hacks, were at schools without nationally-known hackathons. At Los Altos High, there wasn't a hacker community. It was upsetting that none of her classmates went to local hackathons, much less traveled to other states to attend collegiate hackathons. Los Altos Hacks had the goal to establish a hacker community at LAHS and give other communities opportunities they wouldn't normally get. Now, as the team is about to host its 5th annual event, they've truly made a name as one of the Bay Area's best high school hackathons for itself. 

Selynna had a similar problem at her college, Cal Poly SLO, where she didn't feel that many other students were going to hackathons (especially those abroad or not local). SLO Hacks came out of her desire for Cal Poly to have a technical hacker community and to have people passionate about building things. They have hosted three events a year for two years so far, and more Cal Poly students have gotten actively involved in building things outside of school. As well, non-Cal Poly students recognize Cal Poly as a powerhouse for hackathons.

Selynna has gone on to become an MLH Coach and travels to represent the company at various hackathons around the world each month. In the next 5 years, Selynna would like to go into engineering management and potentially beyond. Currently a senior at California Polytechnic State University (San Luis Obispo), she focuses mainly on full-stack web development.

Her favorite hackathon project is from VHacks 2018 in Vatican City. Her team built Zelixa, a Hololens app that helps dyslexic people train themselves to read better by implementing different forms of dyslexia therapy through augmented reality. This was the first time Selynna had gotten so much mentorship from company partners such as Microsoft. Because of their help, she was able to learn Unity and C# from scratch. Her team ended up placing 2nd in their category and eventually brought the project to Microsoft's Imagine Cup World Finals which was a life-changing experience for her.

Quick Facts

Pronouns: She/Her
Hometown: Mountain View, California, USA
School: Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo
Graduation Date: 2020
First Hackathon: High School Hacks (Spring 2014)
Favorite Coding Language: JavaScript
Can't Live Without: Google Calendar
Share this profile
Selynna and her team winning second place at VHacks 2018

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