Sunday, April 14th, 2013, WICS started the first init(together) Southern California Conference for Women in Computing with the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences. This conference was created with the vision of bringing together a community of the new generation of women in computing under the guidance of the many active groups of women in technology in Southern California.
‘init,’ short for ‘initialize,’ symbolizes the beginning of a new generation of women starting their careers in computing. Combined, init(together) signifies women beginning their computing careers with the support of mentors, with peers as collaborators and most importantly: connected together as an active and vibrant community.
WICS created this conference to inspire women to confidently pursue jobs and internships, start their own tech projects, engage in computing challenges or competitions, and openly collaborate with their peers and mentors.
Over 300 women attended init(together), which featured a series of panel discussions and hands-on workshops for women seeking to develop their skills in computing. A mentorship program was also launched to connect female computing students and women entering industry with faculty and industry professionals in Southern California. There was also a Career Expo that featured a variety of companies and programs in Southern California, which brought industries directly to attendees.
init(together) was a huge success and WICS plans on hosting this event every other year in the spring!
For more information on init(together), check out the website!
We taught children between the 2nd and 5th grades how to circuit bend at the Verano After School Program. Kids got a first hand experience playing with circuit boards and they expanded their perception of how they have the power to create new things with their older toys, just by breaking them open and learning how to manipulate the electronics inside.
Thursday, January 23rd WICS took a trip to Blizzard for a tour of their campus! We had the privilege of seeing the World of Warcraft developer space and were able to see the kind of work Blizzard developers do first hand. We were surprised by the colorful offices full of toys and gaming memorabilia, which seems like a rare environment compared to most software development spaces. Thank you to Blizzard for offering their time and space for our organization!
After the tour, WICS took a group picture in front of the statue on the Blizzard campus as seen below!
January 22nd, last Tuesday, WICS hosted a Letter of Recommendation Workshop and Q&A with Professor Shannon Tauro and PhD candidate Kristin Roher! Over 30 students attended for a pre-workshop social and a presentation on how to approach and establish relationships with professors for research, references, and letters of recommendation.
Thank you to Professor Shannon Tauro and Kristin Roher for their time and their (very) enlightening advice!
On Monday, January 14th, WICS hosted a Toy Hacking Workshop Training with Dr. Garnet Hertz. Over 20 people attended with bags full of toys to break open!
This workshop was intended to train students who were interested in being involved in a similar workshop for kids in elementary and middle schools! It was an entertaining introduction to electronics, as the attendees ripped apart electronic toys and hacked around with the toys’ music devices.
Highlights of this event were: playing around with resistors to activate a sound, seeing Big Mouth Billy Base singing in different pitches and speeds, cringing over the disturbing sight of the stripped down Dancing Hamster (“Everybody Dance Now!”).
Our members thought this event was really fun, and many of them expressed their wishes to learn more about toy hacking. As mentioned above, we plan to help host a workshop series with students in elementary and middle schools in the near future.
The first Tuesday of our Winter Quarter, WICS hosted a general meeting for students to reunite and start talking about preparing for the quarter! Over 30 students (and two friendly male ICS students) came and played games, drank hot chocolate, ate snacks, and shared class schedules to get organized for the new year!
Our meeting began with announcements about our plans for Winter quarter: a Resume workshop, Letters of Recommendation Workshop, a web development workshop on jquery, lunches with industry professionals, and the initiation of our Hacker Toy Workshop outreach to girls and children living in impoverished areas. We announced more details for our upcoming conference, init(together): Southern California Women in Computing Conference, on April 14th.
Our members our already enthusiastic this year: over a dozen volunteered for our Hacker Toy Workshop Program and two more have joined our committee!
We’ve been so busy planning our Fall, Winter, and conference events that our blog has fallen by the wayside!
Here is an overview of the rest of our events from Fall Quarter 2012:
• Web Development workshop with Anthony Alagna (Slides from the workshop are here)
• A “Study, Dinner and De-Stress Night” with tutors for ICS 30 (Python)
• Thanksgiving Potluck and showing of The Avengers — in collaboration with MAISS
• Caffeine Potluck in Collaboration with DATSpace (before finals!)
Students continued to enthusiastically participate in WICS events, with attendance between 25-50 members at every event. We collaborated with other groups, and we’re beginning to establish a more unified tech community among the students at UCI!
We have a lot of plans for Winter Quarter and even better: our Southern California Women in Tech Conference, April 14th!
WICS has recently been announced as a winner of the Symantec sponsored Round 5 Student Seed Fund award from the National Center of Women & Information Technology (NCWIT)! As a winner, WICS will receive $750 to host a series of “Hacker” workshops for girls in elementary schools and middle schools to generate their interest in technology early on.
The Google discussion panel was incredibly informative and the panelists were very forthcoming with information about being a woman in CS, what it’s like to work at Google, and how to be a good Google candidate. We had over 45 members attending the event, and many enthusiastically rushed up to talk to the panelists after the event!
We had many delicious sandwiches and (amazing) ‘swag’ before the panel, and we had the fantastic opportunity of talking to the panelists one-on-one after the panel ended.
Google will be working with WICS on future projects this academic year, and have been very helpful and enthusiastic about working with our active WICS chapter. Thank you to Google for hosting this event with WICS!