The Explorer Fellowship is designed around a series of two week long Hackathon Sprints. You'll collaborate with a group of 3 other fellows on a software project that put the things you'll learn during the fellowship into practice. At the end of every sprint, you'll walk away with a new Open Source project that you can add to your resume right away!

Meeting Schedule

Since they are each two weeks long, you'll meet with your Pod four times during each Sprint. The Sprints all follow the same schedule, which looks like this:


  • Meeting #1: Hackathon Kickoff – During this event we’ll help you form teams of 3-4 fellows. We'll play some short videos from industry experts and founders who will be speaking live throughout the week. They'll introduce the industry, tell the story of how they started working in the space, and share some real challenges they're facing to inspire you.

  • Meeting #2: Show & Tell & Early Demos – One of the fellows in your Pod (or a small group) will host a Show & Tell to educate the group about something they're learning. Afterward, we'll do a quick set of early demos to show off what you're working on and collect early directional feedback from the Pod.

  • Meeting #3: Midpoint Demos – By now you should have made some significant progress on your project. During this meeting, you'll do a more formal demo of your project to the other fellows in your Pod and your Pod Leader. Afterward, your group will share more specific feedback that you'll be able to spend the rest of the week incorporating into your project to really polish it up and

  • Meeting #4: Final Demos & Retrospective – You'll show the group the end result of your group's hard work and congratulate each other on a job well done. Afterward, we'll break into our blameless retrospective to reflect on the last two weeks. You'll use your reflections and learnings to prepare for an even more successful sprint that starts next week! Your Pod Leader will also reveal the “secret ingredient” for the next week (the Sprint's theme and technology focus).


You must be an Explorer Fellow of the MLH Fellowship (Batch 1) in order to be eligible to participate.


As you know, you have until the beginning of your hackathon final demos to work on your project. As part of your submission, you’ll need to complete the following:

  1. Publish your project on GitHub with an appropriate Open Source license
  2. Record a 3-5 minute video overview and demo of your project.
  3. Submit the team questionnaire about your project

The full page can be found here.

Publishing Your Project on GitHub

Before demos the repository should be set to public and should have an appropriate README and LICENSE included. One of the criteria that you will be evaluated on is your use of Git and GitHub best practices, so also try to make sure your commit history is visible on the repository.

Fill out the submission form

A few hours before your hackathon demos start, we’ll share the link for the submission form. The form will ask you for the following information about your project:

  • Project Name & Tagline - The name of your project and a 1-2 sentence tagline describing it.

  • Project Overview – A more detailed written description of the project. Aim for 3-5 paragraphs about the problem you were trying to solve, how you approached it, and what you built.

  • Open Source Projects Used – A list of any Open Source technologies you used when building the project, including any not officially being supported by your Pod.

  • Pod Number and Team Member Names – Your Pod’s number and a list of your team members.

  • GitHub URL - The URL on GitHub where we can find the code.

  • Video Upload / Link – Either upload the raw file or provide a URL where we can download the video. We will need a copy of the file as the final demos will be livestreamed.

Hackathon Sponsors


1st Place Team

Donation to charity of choice, Digital E Book, Spotify Premium for 1 Month, MLH Season T-Shirt, MLH Fellowship Stickers, Certificate

2nd Place Team

Digital E Book, Spotify Premium for 1 Month, MLH Season T-Shirt, MLH Fellowship Stickers, Certificate

3rd Place Team

Digital E Book, MLH Season T-Shirt, MLH Fellowship Stickers, Certificate

Global Finalist (3)

Top selected project from the pod

Devpost Achievements

Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:


Tim Falls

Tim Falls

Judging Criteria

  • Technology
    How technically impressive was the hack? Was the technical problem the team tackled difficult? Did it use a particularly clever technique or did it use many different components? Did the technology involved make you go "Wow"?
  • Design
    Did the team put thought into the user experience? How well designed is the interface? For a website, this might be about how beautiful the CSS or graphics are. For a hardware project, it might be more about how good the human-computer interaction is.
  • Completion
    Does the hack work? Did the team achieve everything they wanted?
  • Learning
    Did the team stretch themselves? Did they try to learn something new? If a team which always does virtual reality projects decides to switch up and try doing a mobile app instead, that exploration should be rewarded.
  • Open Source Best Practices
    Did the team apply the Open Source best practices including, but not limited to, use of branches, pull requests, reviewing each other’s code, writing a comprehensive README, and using issues to track tasks.
  • Theme (Social Good & Impact)
    Did this team actually create a project that fit the theme of the Hackathon, Social Good & Impact? Did they solve a real problem in this space?

Questions? Email the hackathon manager

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