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CIS Welcomes Area Students for Showcase and Competition

CIS Welcomes Area Students for Showcase and Competition

Posted: June 2, 2016

On June 4, approximately 40 area middle- and high-school students will share their technological creations—from computer games to website design—during the Fourth annual CS4HS: Computer Science for High School Student Project Showcase and Competition at Buffalo State.

Hosted by the Computer Information Systems (CIS) Department, the showcase will take place from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Technology Building lobby. Students represent 10 Western New York schools, which is twice the number that participated last year.

A Google grant is funding the workshop, which aims to encourage teenagers to pursue computer-science subjects and careers through teacher training. Because many public schools do not offer computer science courses, students worked on their competition projects with their math and technology teachers or on their own.

“The showcase is set up like a science fair where students can show off their projects while faculty members ask questions about them,” said Neal Mazur, associate professor of CIS and primary organizer of the event.

CIS faculty, Andrew Garrity and Maria Garrity, who work for the college’s Computing and Technology Services, will serve as judges and award first, second, and third-place awards.

Added to the showcase this year is a Computer Science Skills and Careers Presentation designed for parents and teachers that CIS lecturer Diane Dillion will deliver.

“We’ll cover different types of positions within the field of computer science as well job opportunities in business, healthcare, education, government, and entertainment industries,” Dillon said. “We’ll talk about applying for a job electronically and use online recruiting sites to demonstrate a typical job search.”

Also new this year is Hour of Code designed for children and younger siblings of the showcase participants. Undergraduate CIS students will oversee this initiative begun by Code.org that is intended to introduce children to programming in a visual, fun application area. 

“The major impetus for holding these workshops is to get more students involved in all aspects of computer science,” Mazur said. “There is a national movement to increase participation in STEM subjects and CS4HS is part of that.”

Sarbani Banerjee, CIS professor, noted that attracting young people to the computer science field is imperative for both job security and the future of the nation. By 2020, it’s estimated that one of every two jobs in the STEM fields will be in computing.

The CS4HS showcase is one effective way to accomplish this.

“All the feedback that students receive from our faculty really excites them about going into the field of computer science,” Mazur said. “We’ve seen a couple of students who attended showcases in the past enroll at Buffalo State.”

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