About Us


Lelia Marie Hampton

Lelia (lee-luh) Marie Hampton is a Ph.D. student in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Their broad research interests are computing for social good. They are an MIT Presidential Fellow and Alfred P. Sloan Scholar. Lelia earned a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, Summa Cum Laude, with minors in comparative women's studies and mathematics from Spelman College (Class of 2020) where they were inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. During undergrad, they interned at the MIT Media Lab, Microsoft Research, Georgia Tech Research Institute, and NASA. They have been a passionate volunteer and mentor for students from underrepresented minorities through their work in computer science teaching and mentoring programs, including Black Girls CODE, Georgia Tech Catalyst, CodeHouse, NSBE, MIT's GradDiversity Ambassadorship, and MIT's Graduate Application Assistance Program (GAAP).


David Hill, Jr.

David Hill is a Howard University and University of Virginia alumnus where he graduated with a B.S. in Computer Science and an M.E in Systems Engineering. During his undergraduate matriculation, he founded the first HBCU chapter of the international engineering fraternity, Sigma Phi Delta. He was also the 2018 Black Engineer of the Year for Student Leadership. Additionally, he was a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and chairman of the membership committee for HU National Society of Black Engineers. David is an inducted member of the prestigious Tau Beta Pi Honor Society, the oldest engineering honor society in the world which includes distinguished members like Jeff Bezos. David has worked with a plethora of Fortune 500 companies as a Software Developer and Systems Engineer including companies like; Cisco Systems, Boeing, and United Technologies. He currently works as a Full-Stack Software Engineer.


Ayobami Adebesin

Ayobami Adebesin is a programmer and a graduate of the department of Mathematics Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife Nigeria. He is a Machine Learning enthusiast with a special interest in Computer Vision and Deep Reinforcement Learning that can serve as an extension for sequential decision making. He is also a Mobile Developer. As a fresh graduate of Mathematics, he has started using his mathematical expertise to learn about Machine Learning research with a passion to further his education in Computer Science graduate studies.

As an undergrad, he has participated in different hackathons, competitions and mathematics challenges on campus and has always been passionate about introducing tech to younger generations. He loves finding a connection between Mathematics and tech. He is currently a graduate intern at Quicker Freight Technologies, a software development company in Lagos Nigeria, where he uses the Flutter framework to build and deploy cross-platform apps that meets various users’ needs.


Nuredin Ali

Nuredin Ali is a graduate student of Information Systems at Mekell University in Ethiopia. He finished his undergraduate study with a cumulative GPA of 3.96/4.0, the highest from the department. He loves doing research particularly in the areas of AI and applications of AI for development.

He presented two workshop papers at the Black in AI workshop at NeurIPS 2020. He presented another paper at the Machine Learning for Development workshop at NeurIPS 2021. He was the winner of Blackathon 2021 with recognition for his project using computer vision for visually impaired people in Ethiopia. He is currently a part-time intern at lesan.ai, a machine translation company for low resource languages of East Africa. He works full time at chapa.co, a financial technology company where he leads development on various credit scoring, natural language processing, and fraud detection machine learning techniques. He also collaborated with research scientists at Google on a research project. He is happy to share his experience at Blackathon and looks forward to exciting projects this year as well.

Hamza Hawkins

Hamza Hawkins is an entrepreneur, coder, gamer, and fitness enthusiast. He is the founder of ABlackGent, a lifestyle/clothing brand that encourages a positive and ambitious lifestyle, and Snikwah Technologies, a mobile and web app development and consulting firm which has consulted with multiple individuals, startups and a public school. Hamza was previously a 7x software engineering intern at Microsoft where he is now a full time software engineer. He was also formerly a Lead Software Engineer for BRAQS. He was an Above and Beyond CS Software Engineering Fellow with Facebook. He has served as a programming and game development teacher with STEM exCEL. He has published media articles about STEM and technology in Spotlight and Black Enterprise TV. He is a University of District Columbia alumnus where he served as the Vice President of the National Society of Black Engineers, was a Microsoft Student Ambassador, and awarded many scholarships from Microsoft.


Randy is the glue of the team! When he's not organizing, he's wrestling with his toys or enjoying his favorite snacks.

Call for Organizers

We are seeking organizers for Blackathon 2022. This list will be updated on an ongoing basis.

The following are the projected positions, responsibilities and time commitments excluding organizer meetings:

  • Participant Outreach

    • Responsibilities: Recruit participants, manage participant applications, set up Slack for team formation, keep track of teams, etc.

  • Communications Chair

    • Responsibilities: Create flyers; communicate with participants, judges and speakers prior, during, and after events; create sign up form for participants; respond to emails, etc.

  • Marketing Chair

    • Responsibilities: Develop marketing strategies for the Blackathon, enhance the reach of the Blackathon, increase registration for talks from prior years, etc.

  • Sponsorship Chair

    • Responsibilities: Write sponsorship proposals, seek sponsors, etc.

  • Treasurer

    • Responsibilities: Accounting, bookkeeping, find a tax preparer, etc.

  • Web Designer

    • Responsibilities: Update the website as needed, etc.