From September 8-10, my team and I spent 36 hours at the University of Pennsylvania making a website that uses AI to help suicide hotline workers. Our journey started from Union Station in Washington, D.C., where we took a 2-hour Amtrak to Philadelphia on Friday, September 8th. Once we arrived at the train station at 4 PM on Friday, we walked to UPenn while passing through the streets of Philadelphia, passing by Drexel University.
Throughout the next 36 hours, my team and I spent 36 hours coding, drawing our ideas on the whiteboard in one of the laboratories, eating delicious food, taking breaks by walking in the Philadelphia streets, barely sleeping, and, most importantly, meeting amazing Penn students.
I talked to M&T students, and one of them, Lucas Wu, gave me a tour around the M&T and Huntsman Building. I talked to the current M&T and Penn CS students about their experiences at Penn, and everyone I spoke to seemed like amazing people with excellent personalities. I want to personally thank everyone for their time answering my questions and meeting with me.
The entire hackathon experience wasn't easy, and I wouldn't have been able to do it without the support of the Penn students I met, the PennApps mentors (especially Md Abhedin), and all of my teammates who stayed up at 4 AM with me to complete the project. On Sunday, September 10th, after getting 3 hours of sleep, we presented to several judges, including sponsored judges from Twilio.
Once the judging was over, we enjoyed a pizza before the closing ceremony. When we entered the Wu and Chen auditorium, we were all sleep-deprived and half-sleeping as we waited for the official results of the hackathon. We didn't expect any results, especially after we didn't make the top 20 judging.
We all dapped each other up in celebration when we saw TheraSpeak under the Best AI Hack. We were surprised we won something but glad at the end. I am incredibly grateful for the entire experience and the people we met throughout our journey. It was an enjoyable experience and a memory I hope never to forget. See you next year, PennApps!