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AECOM graduate is part of award-winning hackathon team

AECOM graduate is part of award-winning hackathon team

 August 20, 2018

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Mariam Khalifeh, a Graduate Transport Planner at AECOM Dubai, participated in her first hackathon after a professor nominated her during her final year of university. Her team won the competition and she was hooked!

Most recently, Mariam was part of the team that took home the first place prize at the Second Global Youth for Public Transport’s Hackathon, in collaboration with the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) in Dubai. The team’s winning idea was called “Namshy” (the Arabic for walking) and proposed eco-friendly city moving walkways. "The hackathons are all about teamwork. My team couldn’t have won first place without working together," commented Mariam.

Creating and innovating solutions

"I would describe hackathons as three days of non-stop work. The goal of the competition is to create innovative transportation solutions," says Mariam. "Over the three days, working as part of a multi-disciplinary team, we develop our idea/concept with the guidance of mentors and industry professionals. On the final day, the teams present their ideas to a panel of judges."

Taking part in hackathons around the world, Mariam comments, "A hackathon that stands out to me is Hack.Moscow held in Moscow in Russia. Working as part of a team of seven, we developed a chatbot to help with traffic and crowd management in Moscow Metro; especially during the FIFA World Cup. The chatbot connected to the existing Moscow Metro app as well as to Facebook Messenger and automatically generates replies to inform users of the best routes to use to move around the city."

A lot to prove as the only female participant 

Mariam was the only female participant from the Middle East and felt that she had a lot to prove, as well as change people’s impression of the region. After presenting to the CEO of Moscow Metro, Mariam and her team won third place; and she feels that the achievement meant that she delivered on her message.

"I would have to say that my favorite part about competing is the feeling of accomplishment that I get at the end of the three days, regardless of winning or not," says Mariam. 

"Participating in these competitions for the past year has taught me so much about teamwork, pushing myself and sticking to deadlines. I’ve had the opportunity to form strong bonds, make new friends from all around the world and continue to challenge myself to come up with more innovative ideas."

The prize for winning the Second Global Youth for Public Transport’s Hackathon competition is to participate in the next hackathon, set to take place in Stockholm, Sweden, and Mariam cannot wait to get stuck in!

Join talented women like Mariam at AECOM

AECOM encourages every employee to perform at their best. For an exciting and rewarding career with one of the world's leading infrastructure enterprises, search and apply for your next career move at AECOM today. 

Images courtesy of Y4PT


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