BoilerMake: Purdue University to Host 36-Hour Hackathon

August 21, 2013

5:00 pm

Next spring, buses will bring students from all across the Midwest to a 36-hour hackathon at Purdue University called BoilerMake.

Around 450 students will get the chance to form teams, work on their ideas, listen to speakers from the tech industry, and compete for prizes.

The hackathon is organized by Purdue’s Computer Science Undergraduate Student Board, the Association of Computing Machinery, and the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Club, under the direction of rising sophomore Kirby Kohlmorgen.

Kohlmorgen, who’s pursuing a degree in math and computer science, hopes this hackathon will expose Midwest college students to the spirit of entrepreneurship and making.

“Hackathons should be about how to get people excited about technology and how to get people excited about making things,” says Kohlmorgen, who’s built a bus app and a scheduling app for Purdue in his free time. “We plant the seed.”

During the hackathon, participants will get a chance to learn about new technologies and internship opportunities from sponsors. The event will conclude with the BoilerMake Expo, where students will demonstrate the awesome stuff they’ve created.

Inspired by other college hackathons, like the University of Michigan’s MHacks and the Univeristy of Pennsylvania’s PennHacks, BoilerMake will help expand the growing startup culture at Purdue. The university already offers a Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, a five-course program started in 2005 that has awarded over 1,000 certificates. It helps prepare students for an entrepreneurial career by teaching them to “assess new venture opportunities,” communicate, and lead better. They also have the chance to participate in business plan competitions, elevator pitch competitions, entrepreneurship study abroad, and networking.

“Every kid and their brother wants to start a startup,” says Kohlmorgen, who’s working toward a certificate in entrepreneurship.

The hackathon will take place in the spring. Students can sign up for updates, and startups who want to participate in some way can email Kohlmorgen directly at

Update, 8/22: The hackathon was originally scheduled for October 11-13 but has been moved to Spring 2014. 


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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact

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