Stanford organization to host computer science conference

    The Stanford University Women in Computer Science organization is holding a conference at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 2 for high school students interested in learning about working in the computer science industry.

    Palo Alto High School seniors Ryan Huang and Elnathan Au work on their computer science projects in class. High schoolers, especially girls, are welcome to sign up for the Stanford Women in Computer Science-hosted CS conference on May 2. Photo by Lizzie Chun.

    Palo Alto High School seniors Ryan Huang and Elnathan Au work on their computer science projects in class. High schoolers, especially girls, are welcome to sign up for the Stanford Women in Computer Science-hosted CS conference on May 2 at the Stanford Women’s Community Center. Photo by Lizzie Chun.

    Women in Computer Science is a student-run organization whose mission is “to promote and support the growing community of women in CS and technology,” according to its website.

    While the free, four hour-long conference is particularly geared toward girls, the goal of the event is to provide high schoolers with a “wide view into the possibilities and exciting aspects of computer science,” according to the event’s RSVP form.

    According to event coordinator and Stanford freshman Catherina Xu, a number of speakers will present at the conference, including Stanford undergraduates, Ph.D. students and members of the computer science industry, each of whom will discuss their personal experiences as women in the field, along with the projects and research they are currently conducting. A Stanford tour guide will also lead the students on a tour of the school’s engineering facilities, and lunch will be provided.

    Xu and Luca Szegletes, a Stanford graduate student and fellow event coordinator, hope the event will help encourage high schoolers to look past the prejudices associated with coding.

    “Computer science is useful in any field and, especially in 2015, really is a necessary skill,” Xu said. “I feel that many people view CS as a field for ‘gamers’ and ‘introverts,’ which discourages girls from learning it in school. The reason why Luca [Szegletes] and I are holding this event is to share Stanford’s extremely welcoming and powerful CS department with high school girls, hoping to show them the amazing things that women in CS have done.”

    Online sign-ups for the event end on April 28, and the number of attendees will be capped at 40.

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