On May 21, 2018, WICS held an Amazon Alexa Skill Workshop. Representatives from Amazon came by and taught us step-by-step how to build an Alexa Skill. First, attendees got to grab food and refreshments as well as socialize with one another. Then, we were ready to code. Our goal was to create an “Echomon” skill that tells us which Pokemon is at a given index in the Pokedex. We learned how to get Alexa to return information after we ask certain questions. Amazon reps also went over how to debug our code to make sure our Alexa Skill was working as expected. In the end, we had a skill where we could ask “Who is Pokemon 25?” and Alexa would respond with the Pokemon at that index: “Pokedex entry 25 is named Pikachu.” Mission accomplished! This was a very fun hands-on activity that showed us how easy it was to build an Alexa skill. This event was a success!
On Monday, May 14th, WICS and SendGrid held a Women in Tech panel at the new SendGrid office, 400 Spectrum Dr. Approximately 30 students drove to the office and attended this event. From 5:30pm to 6:00pm, students had dinner provided by SendGrid in the office. The panel started at 6:00pm, where 5 female representatives from SendGrid were invited to the panel. At the beginning they each talked about their career path, how they ended up working at SendGrid and why they decided to stay at this job. Then they talked about how the number of women in technology has changed over years. One representative shared her experience of being the only the female in the team when she first started working 10-20 years ago, and other representatives agreed with her and said they also had the same kind of experience. Over the years, more and more females have joined this field. Now they have many more female co-workers. At the end, they were open to questions, one male student asked what men can do to help women in this field. After the panel, a lot of students stayed to have conversations with the representatives. The event ended at 8 pm. Overall, it was a successful and eye-opening event!
On Monday, May 7, WICS held an Acing the Technical Interview Workshop hosted by The Portal. Alan and Charith, who both graduated from UCI, led the presentation. They went through the basics of what goes on in a technical interview. They also explained the dos and don’ts of an interview as well as some misconceptions and tips. We learned a lot about how to sell ourselves to a recruiter. Preparation is key, so Alan and Charith made sure to explain what we should research before interviewing at a company. Their presentation had several inspiring quotes that helped us understand some important concepts. Here’s one by Martin Fowler that I think is useful to us programmers: “Any fool can write code that a computer can understand. Good programmers write code that humans can understand.” Of course, we also had a pizza break. This event was immensely useful to those of us who have upcoming technical interviews or want to prepare for future interviews. After this workshop, we’re ready to tackle any technical interview!
On Monday, April 30th, the last day of April, WICS held a Yoga and Study session to help students release stress at DBH 6011. We had Ms. Natalie D’Azzo, the wellness & peer education programs manager from UCI Student Wellness and Health Promotion, to lead the Yoga session from 6-7pm. Around 14 people joined our Yoga session, we had a relaxing and peaceful yoga time with Natalie. Everyone said they enjoyed it. After the Yoga session, a lot of people came in for the study session. More than 40 people were in the room studying and mingling with friends. We had ice cream, cookies and popcorn. The study session ended around 8:30pm. Overall, it was a long but successful event!
On April 23, 2018, WICS hosted a Debugging session with Blind Squirrel Games. First, we ate pizza and socialized with other members. Then software engineers from Blind Squirrel told us all the cool stuff they do that their company. They taught us that debugging is an important part of their workday. After, the engineers talked about the basics of debugging. Their in-depth presentation showed us different ways to debug code, an important skill that is super useful to know in class as well as the workplace. Attendees left with a better understanding of how to debug code!
On April 21, 2018, WICS hosted a Women Empowering Women Lunch and Panel during Celebrate UCI. This lunch welcomed female ICS prospective freshmen and transfer students and their families. There was delicious catering provided for the event. Debra Richardson, founding dean of the Donald Bren School of ICS, helped lead the panel. She talked about the history of the ICS school as well as her contributions. Then, the WICS panel gave helpful advice to these prospective students, addressing concerns of a typical female ICS student and going over the many resources UCI has to offer. The panel had lots of experience to talk about. At the end of the panel, the students and family members had the opportunity to ask the panel questions, and they got swag for doing so! After the panel, attendees also had the opportunity to ask speak to the members of the panel one-on-one. This event was a great way for prospective ICS students to learn about UCI and being a female ICS student. Hooray for women in tech!
On Monday, April 9, WICS held an interactive React Workshop led by Intuit. About 100 people came to DBH 6011 to join in on the fun. First, we learned more about Intuit and what they do. Then Harris, an Intuit representative, led a step-by-step tutorial. Attendees brought their laptops and eagerly coded along, learning more about JS and React on the way. In the end, we had a fully-functional dog quiz app! Those who attended also got to eat great Mediterranean food and get some swag from Intuit. Thank you to everyone who attended, this event was a lot of fun!
It is never too early to introduce Computer Science to girls and the #GirlsKnowCS Conference was a perfect example! This year, the Santa Ana Public Library hosted a conference for girls who are interested in Computer Science and invited WICS to come speak and lead a hands on activity. Ninety-five girls of all ages ranging from grades 4-12 gathered together at the Santa Ana Senior Center to listen to empowering women talk about their success story and participate in the fun workshops that were held.
Speaking of guest speakers, WICS had the honor of sending our very own Community Outreach Co-Chair, Rosetta Pendleton, to the #GirlsKnowCS Conference to share her journey of how she became involved in Computer Science. Rosetta’s story of how she taught herself programming skills due to the lack of CS resources in Hawaii and how she decided to move to the mainland in order to find more CS opportunities inspired the attendees. Rosetta demonstrated that despite one’s background, anyone can succeed in the Computer Science field.
There were two main workshops at the #GirlsKnowCS Conference: app development and binary bracelets. A representative from Microsoft provided Surface Pros to each group of attendees to help them develop an app idea using a drag and drop program. WICS led the binary bracelets activity and taught the attendees the concept of binary numbers through converting their birthdays to binary and representing it as a bracelet using alternating beads. Overall, the girls seemed to really enjoy the workshops as they were able to express their creativity in bringing their app idea to life and making something of their own using a CS concept.
WICS looks forward to collaborating with the Santa Ana Public Library on more events such as the #GirlsKnowCS Conference. Together, we hope to spark the interest in technology in more girls and close the gender gap.
On Monday, February 26th, 2018, WICS held an interview workshop with Amazon in DBH 6011. This event had more than 100 RSVPs and approximately 80 showed up in the event. The first half of the event was a presentation presented by Angela who is currently a software engineer at Amazon. The presentation included tips on resume, career fair, and interview. Angela also talked about two types of questions recruiters usually ask on interviews which are technical questions and behavioral questions. The presentation ended with a Q&A session for students with all the recruiters who came along with Angela. The second half of this event was led by Kevin, an interviewer from Amazon. Kevin simulated a mock tech interview with a student volunteer in the front. After discussing the tech interview question with Kevin, we took a pizza break. After the break, we did more tech interview questions with the recruiters. This event started at 6 pm and ended at 8:07 pm. We could see that everyone was curious and eager to learn from the recruiters. Overall, This event was a success!
On November 6, WICS held an Amazon tabling event and info session. Approximately 200 people attended in total–one of the highest attendance rates for a WICS event! Students who arrived at the event early received Amazon t-shirts. For the tabling event, a table was set up on the patio outside DBH 6011, where students were able to speak with an Amazon recruiter about internship roles, give out their resumes, and ask questions that they had. After the tabling, the recruiter as well as two Amazon software engineers held an information session to provide more details about the various opportunities at Amazon. As usual, food and drinks were provided!