Each December, the Allen School invites prospective students and families to join us for a week-long celebration of Computer Science Education Week, a nationwide event that aims to inspire students, advance equity, and honor those who are contributing to the field and to society. After being compelled to go fully virtual due to the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, the school’s Diversity & Access Team was thrilled to offer a hybrid celebration this year.
Throughout the week, prospective students and families joined Allen School researchers, staff and students for virtual sessions devoted to a range of topics, from “a day in the life” of an Allen School major, to exploratory discussions of computing’s impact on society, to research talks and demos spanning artificial intelligence, computer security, robotics, accessibility, and more.
“CS Education Week is our largest outreach event of the year,” said Assistant Director for Diversity & Access Chloe Dolese Mandeville. “We know that it’s extremely important for future students to picture themselves in computing and the Allen School before they even step foot on campus as an undergraduate. This week is an opportunity for us to provide that picture for high school students — especially those who don’t have access to computing opportunities in their schools or communities.”
To that end, in addition to offering an overview of what it’s like to be an Allen School student, the team also organized sessions devoted specifically to highlighting the experience of students from underrepresented communities and those who are the first generation in their families to pursue a bachelor’s degree. The celebration culminated in a virtual Hour of Code followed by an in-person open house in the Allen Center and Gates Center on the University of Washington’s Seattle campus, where an estimated 250 people spent the day touring the labs, participating in interactive demos, talking to current students and researchers, and experiencing firsthand what it means to be part of the Allen School and the field of computing.
“It was an incredible experience to host students and their families on campus again after three years,” said Dolese Mandeville. “We loved the energy that students and their families brought to campus — taking photos with each other, getting to know our undergraduate students, and engaging in hands-on activities. This celebration is really about welcoming more students into the computing community and the Allen School community, too.”
Thanks to all of our presenters, students and visitors for making CS Education Week a tremendous success! See you next year!
Photos: Emmy Ngo