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Young Computer Aficionados to Compete in Showcase Hosted by Buffalo State and Google

Young Computer Aficionados to Compete in Showcase Hosted by Buffalo State and Google

Posted: May 28, 2019

Approximately 80 middle and high school students from 19 Western New York schools will bring computer games, computer programs, robotics, and website designs they created to Buffalo State on Saturday, June 1, for the seventh annual Computer Science for High School (CS4HS) Student Project Showcase and Competition. It takes place from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Technology Building.

A Google grant is funding the event aimed to encourage teenagers to learn advanced computer concepts and participate in creative activities. Faculty in the college’s Computer Information Systems (CIS) and Engineering Technology departments will judge the projects that students from six through 12th grade made in computer science courses or clubs. Teachers and parents will accompany the students.

“Every year we are impressed by the level of creativity and computer know-how we see in the students who participate,” said Sarbani Banerjee, CIS professor and competition organizer. “If we can inspire students to continue studying computer science concepts in high school, colleges, including Buffalo State, should see more students choosing computer-related majors.”

An uptick in CIS students—there are currently 330 students in the Buffalo State program—reflects a national trend. More young people are pursuing careers in computer programming, software development, website development, artificial intelligence, and robotics. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts continued above-average job growth for the technology sector over the next several years.

“Participation has been growing each year since we began hosting the showcase,” said Neal Mazur, chair and associate professor of CIS and event organizer. “Teachers who have participated in one of our summer CS4HS trainings learn about this competition and encourage their students to compete.”

Schools participating for the first time this year include Tapestry, Buffalo Seminary, Gowanda High School, Kenmore East High School, and the Coder School.

Along with Google, the showcase is sponsored by Buffalo State’s CIS Department and Admissions Office.

Since 2012, Buffalo State has offered free summer workshops to Western New York high school and middle school teachers to encourage them to incorporate more computer science into their classrooms and start computer clubs in their schools. Increased participation in the annual showcase competitions is the result of that outreach, Mazur said.

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