Hello! Welcome to Women in Computer Science (WCS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This will provide a brief overview of what Illinois WCS does, who the officers are, and how you can get involved this upcoming school year!

About Us

Women in Computer Science (WCS) is a non-profit educational student group under the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Computer Science Department. Our organization works to support the interests and efforts of young women interested in technology and those who wish to pursue a career in computer science. We aim to retain and provide a network of support for members to rely on for advice and camaraderie. Our events are open to everyone, and anyone can become a member. You don’t have to be a woman or studying computer science to get involved!

Officers

If you ever have any questions relating to WCS or life in general (doesn’t have to be school or academic-related), don’t be afraid to reach out to our amazing officers! There is more information about their hobbies, skill sets, past experiences, etc. on the Illinois WCS website, but here’s a quick preview of the 2020–2021 board:

President: Aishani Pal (aishani2@illinois.edu)

Vice President: Nikita Agarwal (nikitaa4@illinois.edu)

Treasurer: Claudia Salazar (cas18@illinois.edu)

Corporate Chairs: Himanshi Sharma & Prerana Kiran (hsharma2@illinois.edu, prajnak2@illinois.edu)

Outreach Chair: Ariane Taraki (atarak2@illinois.edu)

Social Chair: Kathy Zhou (kathy2@illinois.edu)

Mentoring Chairs: Charlie Jung & Claire Chiu (charlie4@illinois.edu, cechiu2@illinois.edu)

Infrastructure Chair: Eunice Zhou (xz33@illinois.edu)

Explorations Chairs: Darci Peoples & Melissa Chen (darciap2@illinois.edu & myc2@illinois.edu)

Design Chair: Emily Laughead (elaugh2@illinois.edu)

A great way to meet the officers is our kick-off event for the school year on the first day of school. We hope to see you all around!

Ways to Get Involved

The best way to get involved is to start by coming to our events! WCS is a choose your own adventure kind of game; you are a member simply by coming to our events. We have five main types of events: corporate, outreach, explorations, mentoring, and social.

Corporate events include resume reviews and coffee chats. Our corporate sponsors bring in recruiters and people currently working in the industry to tell us about what they do and ways we can work towards our future career goals. It’s a great networking opportunity and a way to gain career advice.

Outreach works to give back to our local community and help high schoolers discover their interest in tech and learn more about it. We hold an annual retreat called ChicTech which invites high schoolers to come to stay overnight and meet other people who share their interests, attend tech talks, and get some hands-on experience with computer science!

Explorations, our newly rebranded Tech Team, works to provide tech tutorials and hold workshops to expand your knowledge in computer science. Later on in the semester, you can choose to use the knowledge you’ve gained from attending these workshops to create a project for Engineering Open House (EOH) that you can showcase. We also co-host an annual all-female hackathon called Code Ada! Women often hesitate to participate in hackathons due to the lack of a female presence; Code Ada works to overcome that by providing a safe and collaborative space for women to develop their technical skills, explore new technologies, and work on something they’re passionate about.

Mentorship events help connect underclassmen with upperclassmen. Since this semester has a large virtual component to it, we have set up a Class of 2024 Facebook group for incoming students. It’s a place to get to form a community of friends and mentors, meet new people from your class, and prepare for life at Illinois.

We also have the Bits and Bytes program which gives underclassmen a chance to connect with upperclassmen! This is an informal mentorship program where upperclassmen, “bytes”, and underclassmen, “bits”, are split into “families” which consist of one to two bytes and about five bits. It’s an opportunity to meet new people and learn more about the ins and outs of UIUC. Sign-ups have already been released on our Facebook group!

Social events are a way for you to meet the other members and people involved in WCS. These can range from movie nights to games to bake sales. We want WCS to be a community where you can find new friends and a home where you can feel like you belong.

In the past, we’ve traditionally hosted office hours from 1–4 pm in our office where people can drop by, but since this semester is going to be virtual, we will be changing our office hours to accommodate this transition. Stay on the lookout for more information on that!

Another perk of attending events and office hours is you can collect points. After accumulating a certain amount of points, they can be exchanged for WCS swag!

Upcoming Events

Some events we have during the first two weeks of school are listed below. To see more information regarding these events, be sure to check out the calendar on our website and visit our Facebook group!

  • Meet the Officers: August 24th, 7–8 pm CDT
  • WCS x ACM Social: August 26th, 8–9 pm CDT
  • Git Good @ Git: September 1st, 5–6 pm CDT
  • September Group Meeting (GM) with Grainger: September 2nd, 5–6 pm CDT

Committees

A great way to get involved is by joining a committee! In the past, we’ve had Corporate, Social, Mentoring, and Outreach committees which consist of three to four members who assist officers in these positions to host events. It’s a great way to get more involved in the WCS community and see what officers do behind the scenes! Applications usually open up near the beginning of the year, so be on the lookout for information regarding this at our General Meetings (GMs), newsletter, and Facebook group!

Contact Us

Find more information about us at the following places below. Join our Facebook group and Weekly Newsletter to stay up to date on ways to get involved. This is where we post about new events and opportunities WCS has! Our office on campus is at Thomas M. Siebel Center for Computer Science, Room 1318; although it’s not open at the moment, we look forward to seeing you all there later on! You can also add the WCS Calendar to your Google Calendar to keep track of our events. We look forward to meeting you!

Mailing List: https://tinyurl.com/wcsmailinglist

Website: http://wcs.illinois.edu/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/illinoisWCS

Facebook Group (UIUC Students only): https://www.facebook.com/groups/illinoiswcs

Facebook Class of 2024 Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/illinoiswcsclassof2024

Follow us on Instagram and Twitter @IllinoisWCS for more casual day to day and tech-related updates!

Have questions? Send a message to our Facebook Page or email us at contact@illinoiswcs.org!

Written by

The official Medium account for Women in Computer Science at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store