MakeHarvard 2018

The First Engineering Makeathon at Harvard University

Cameron Akker
Feb 2018 • events

MakeHarvard is an engineering makeathon, or a hackathon intended for engineers. The 36-hour event encourages teams of students to develop an independent engineering project purely for learning and improving their engineering skills. MakeHarvard 2018 was the first-ever makeathon at Harvard University and took place the weekend of February 2-4, 2018.

I founded MakeHarvard in May 2017 and spent a little over half a year developing the organizing team before our February 2018. Over the summer and at the start of the Fall, I was the program manager for the event before transitioning those responsibilities to another member in the Fall. After this transition, I continued to support the event as a senior advisor, supporting the logistics, partnerships, design, and maker experience teams.

MakeHarvard website at

MakeHarvard differs from HackHarvard because, as an engineering makeathon, the material requirements are far more extensive. HackHarvard requires attendees to bring laptops and provides scattered hardware; MakeHarvard gives participants raw materials like wood and metal and access to machine shops and power tools. We partnered with the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences to cover these large capital costs.

There are other differences: MakeHarvard is a 24-hour event with about 200 participants and an organizing team of 15 students. HackHarvard is a 36-hour event that has closer to 600 participants with an organizing team of 35 people. The gallery below shows pictures from the event.

The second-annual MakeHarvard engineering makeathon took place on the weekend of February 1-2, 2019 a year after the first event. I served as a senior advisor to the team for this event in a reduced capacity from the first year. MakeHarvard 2019 was successful, nearly doubling the number of participants while providing an expanded array of tools to paricipants.

Cameron Akker
Harvard '19 | B.S. Electrical Engineering