The WCS Fall Alumni Banquet is an annual event meant to bring together current club members, student leaders, professors, and WCS alumni. The banquet includes dinner, a keynote speech, and a chance to share experiences and network with other attendees.
The banquet usually takes place in October, during the fall semester. This year, the banquet was on Thursday, October 17th.
What to expect?
For the Women in Computer Science Banquet, we have many events lined up for our guests to enjoy. We ask those attending to dress in business casual. This year, we started off the banquet with light appetizers and gave our guests a chance to speak and connect with others. During this time, many of the students took the opportunity to take a few pictures in front of a photobooth we had made. Following this, everyone sat down to eat dinner which we had catered. During dinner, attendees sat at their assigned tables and were given the opportunity to speak to those whom they were seated with, which varied from friends to professors or even undergraduate advisors. Dinner was followed by the keynote speech. This year we invited Shobana Radhakrishnan, the Director of Engineering, Android TV at Google. During the keynote, students were able to learn about her journey, starting from her time at UIUC as a graduate student through all her internships and other companies, and more about her life at Google. The presentation was motivating and inspiring because she spoke to us about her hardships and obstacles that she overcame, and it was comforting to know that we aren’t the only ones who may be struggling. Feel free to learn more about her here.
Who can attend?
Although the banquet is invite-only, there are many ways one can receive an invitation to attend. Groups that are invited to the banquet include computer science leadership within student organizations, computer science faculty members and staff, and members of WCS who have a high number of points relative to other members. As a Women in Computer Science member, one can increase their likelihood of receiving an invitation by attending other events throughout the school year including, but not limited to, general meetings, coffee breaks, open office hours, tech team events, mentoring events, and more. Each event awards members a certain number of points, which can be used for other WCS related activities and will go towards their banquet invitation.
How can you get involved?
There are many ways to get involved regarding preparation for the WCS Banquet! Every September, the Social Chair sends out applications to become part of the Social Committee, which is the core group of people organizing the banquets. Main responsibilities for banquet as a committee member would be to order food, decide keynote and senior gifts, and in oversee general event proceedings. Even if you are not able to be part of the committee, just reach out to the chair! He/she is always in need of volunteers.
The WCS Banquet is a great way to meet alumni, faculty members, and other computer science students. If you are interested in becoming part of this event, be sure to continue your involvement in WCS!