Develop a start-up in just three days: impossible? At the third annual NYU-Abu Dhabi Hackathon, the brightest young tech minds will do exactly that, generating, designing, and presenting new apps that serve the social good.

The event pairs mentors from top notch academic and industry posts such as Google and NASA with teams of five students, who work together through the entire start-up cycle. The point, says Hackathon founder and professor of computer science at NYU, Sana Odeh, is actually for the students to make mistakes—and to learn from them so that by the time they graduate, they have all the skills they need to start their own businesses.

Professor Odeh is especially hopeful about the potential of women to take a lead role in Arab start-ups. While female techies are a thin minority in the US, where IT is seen as “geeky”, in the Arab world they make up around half of all students aspiring to join the “tremendous” tech field. “These women are also embracing entrepreneurship,” she adds. “30% of Jordanian entrepreneurs are women, a much higher percentage than in the USA or Europe where percentages are dismal.”

NYUAD is currently seeking volunteer mentors and student participants; student nominations are due December 14.

For more info – NYUAD website

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Jennifer MacKenzie

Poet, writer and teacher Jennifer MacKenzie grew up on Bloomcrest Dr. in Bloomfield Hills, MI, which inspired her to wonder about places with patterns other than floral. Following her education at Wesleyan University's College of Letters and the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop, she followed a zig-zag course that included a pilgrimage across the top of Spain and a long sojourn in Syria in pursuit of the language of Muhammad al-Maghout and Moudthaffar al-Nawwab. While in Damascus she completed the books of poems "Distant City" and "My Not-My Soldier" (forthcoming from Fence Books) and edited the magazine Syria Today. Her poems and essays can be found in numerous journals including the Kenyon Review online, Guernica, Quarterly West, and Lungfull. She currently lives in New York.

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