What the hackNY Fellowship is

...And why you should apply now.

hackNY '18 With my Fellows, but I’m in the computer!

I was a hackNY Fellow last summer and I had a blast. Applications for the hackNY Fellows Class of 2019 application have just opened! I wanted to take the time to introduce the Fellowship to you and open myself up as a point-of-contact if you have questions about it!

What is the Fellowship?

As a hackNY Fellow, you are matched with an NYC-based startup for the duration of your summer. Last year, we had Fellows working at BuzzFeed, Babble, Tumblr, First Look Media (The Intercept), TwoBulls, etc. Outside of your regular day job, you live with other Fellows in a dormitory in NYU. On two days of the week, you attend speaker series where folks share insights from various parts of industry. Talks we had last summer include:

  • Q&A with Jonah Peretti, CEO and Founder of BuzzFeed
  • Shaving My Head Made Me a Better Programmer by Alex Qin from the Code Cooperative, which teaches formerly incarcerated and justice-involved people digital literacy and coding as a means of liberation.
  • Talk and Q&A with Amanda Cox, editor of the New York Times’ Upshot section on how the publication has successfully utilized data visualization and analytical journalism to create a compelling online presence
  • …and many many more.

In addition, Fellows take part in our Summer of Good Initiative, where they grapple with the ethics of our work in industry and give back by working in the public interest sector pro-bono. While the initiative is new and changing in form every year, some projects from my year include:

  • Working with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to help them fight human trafficking cases
  • Helping a non-profit music summer camp optimize admissions data to better serve low-income students
  • Working on an app that explores how race affects our perception of police brutality and incarceration
  • …and many more again.

Finally, finishing the Fellowship means you become alumNY and an entire network of interesting people who have done the fellowship in the past become accessible to you. Some people say that the best part of hackNY is the network after you graduate and I can see why they believe that!

I am a corner case for hackNY because due to immigration issues, I was never allowed to work a single day for my matched startup during my Fellowship. That being said, I made some incredible friends (who I’m still very close with) and between the speaker series, exploring NYC and my Summer of Good Project, I found so much to do. Despite the issues I faced, this was by far the best summer that I ever had (including a summer spent working for big tech) and I want you to have the same.

How Do I Apply?

Apply on our application website. hackNY applications are in three rounds and with each successive round, the admit rate drops as we fill up the class. As our Speaker Series and Summer of Good Initiatives will imply, we are looking for Fellows with not  just technical aptitude, but a passion for turning a group of people into an eclectic community and a desire to engage in questions surrounding the ethics of our work in industry. That’s why I wanted to send a special shoutout to any current Haverford students engaged in work with affinity groups, community organizing, or Customs. There are some opportunities in industry where your extracurricular work in ways unrelated directly to your technical aptitude help you shine and this is definitely one of them.

I’ve put my application questions on a blog post in case you’re interested in reading them. Some other Fellows have done the same and you can find the links on our website.

alumNY read applications and interview fellows according to a process described in-detail on our website, which means talking to an alumNY can really give you a better sense of what we’re looking for in Fellows. This brings me to my final thing:

Open Invitation: Message me!

I’m happy to talk to anyone in the BiCo with any questions about the fellowship! I ask that you please read the FAQ carefully because it is incredibly exhaustive. I also ask that you send me questions exclusively via Signal, an encrypted chat app +1(484)702-2952. I can’t receive SMS or take regular phone calls on that number right now because I’m outside the US. You can download the app here. If you want to chat with someone else, Kellie Dinh (BMC ‘19) can tell you all about the Fellowship!