Middle, High School Students to Participate in Google-Sponsored CIS Competition

Middle, High School Students to Participate in Google-Sponsored CIS Competition

Posted: May 18, 2017

More than 60 students from eight area middle and high schools will bring their computer-related projects to Buffalo State for the fifth annual Computer Science for High School (CS4HS) Student Project Showcase and Competition, Saturday, May 20, from 9:30 a.m. to noon, in the Technology Building. 

Students will demo 45 projects ranging from robotics to mobile apps at the competition. A Google grant is funding the event, hosted by the Computer Information Systems (CIS) Department, which is meant to encourage more advanced computer concepts and activities in teenagers.

“This has become one of the signature outreach efforts of our department,” said Sarbani Banerjee, professor of CIS and competition organizer. “We want to both encourage schools to include more computer science concepts in the classroom and to introduce middle and high school students to Buffalo State.”

CIS faculty members Charles Arbutina and Jim Gerland, along with RITE Services staff Andrew Garrity and Maria Garrity, will serve as this year's judges. In addition, CIS lecturer Diane Dillion will deliver a presentation on computer science skills and careers to parents and teachers.

“The CS4HS student project showcase competition is the premiere computer science event for students in grades six through 12,” said Ramona Santa Maria, associate professor of CIS. “This should not be missed."

CS4HS will again offer something for younger siblings of showcase participants: Hour of Code. Undergraduate CIS students will oversee this initiative, started by code.org, that is intended to introduce young children to programming in a visual, fun application area. 

Twice as many middle and high school students are participating this year over the inaugural year.

“The growth is due to our building a stronger relationship with these schools through our CS4HS program," said Neal Mazur, associate professor of CIS and primary organizer of the event. "From the feedback we’ve received, it has been a very rewarding experience for the teachers and particularly their students. The students want to come back and encourage their classmates to come also.”

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 as a way to attract more young people to the field. These annual showcase competitions demonstrate the results of that outreach, Mazur said.

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