Craig Newmark makes generous donation to University of San Francisco’s Women in Tech initiative 2020

The University of San Francisco’s (USF) Women in Tech initiative is thrilled to announce an incredibly generous $300,000 gift from Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies. This extraordinary gift is a continuation of Newmark’s longstanding commitment to supporting gender equality in technology. His goal is to help more women become interested in coding early on in their educational careers and to aid in the fostering of an inclusive environment for all women in tech. 

Craig Newmark’s donation will directly impact six areas across Computer Science, Data Science, and Engineering for both undergraduate and graduate students at USF. These are:

  • $100,000 in Scholarships: these scholarships make all the difference as to whether women can continue their studies and are prioritized for students with the highest need.
  • $75,000 Research Opportunities for Women and Veterans: these funds pay women and military veterans to work on important research problems in tech. Studies have shown that when women in tech carry out research with professors, this leads to higher retention in technical fields.
  • $50,000 Academic Conference Attendance: these funds enable women in tech to participate in life-changing conferences such as Grace Hopper, and other conferences such as Tapia, Lesbian Who Tech, and Afro Tech. Students receive internships and jobs at these conferences which change their lives!
  • $35,000 Growth of Women in Tech (WiT) student organization: The Women in Tech student organization is the lifeblood of all of these activities. Through peer network support and mentorship, workshops on technical resumes, technical interviews, the annual hackathon, weekly meetings, and much more, WiT helps the recruitment, retention of women and minority students in Computer Science, Data Science, and now the new Engineering department.
  • $25,000 Summer Zero for Women in Engineering: this provides funding for three women to participate in the first Summer Zero program, a 6-week student academic program that aims to retain women and underrepresented groups in the newly launched engineering program, while providing academic support and reinforcement in math, design, programming, and writing.
  • $15,000 Girl Tech Power Coding Camp: this provides funding for middle and high school girls to learn programming with professors and students from the Computer Science department at the University of San Francisco.

 

 

 

Community Engaged Scholars

 

The Department of Computer Science welcomed their first cohort of Community-Engaged Scholars (CES) this past fall semester. CES is funded through the National Science Foundation and is a four-year scholarship program designed to support academically talented, low-income students.

The program started with a one-week, residential summer program. Students participated in day-long sessions with faculty and guest lecturers, were introduced to foundational topics in CS, campus and departmental resources, and the resources available from the technical community in the SF Bay area. Students also had the opportunity to explore San Francisco through field trips.

The program continued in the fall semester with a seminar taught by Professor Sophie Engle. This course featured activities including faculty research talks; presentations by the campus career center and similar organizations; field trips to local meetup events; and opportunities for the scholars to socialize and build relationships with one another.

To learn more about the program, visit https://scholars.cs.usfca.edu/.

Haden Lee: Second Semester and Beyond

 

Professor Haden Lee has been an amazing addition to the Department of Computer Science. In his first semester, he taught a graduate-level Algorithms course and he has now transitioned to teaching a graduate-level Data Processing in the Cloud course. We sat down with him to discuss how his first semester went, how his second semester is going and touched on his future goals.

“I learned a lot of new things in terms of how students organize”

Before Professor Lee joined USF, he noted that his goal was to learn and contribute to the student body as a whole. This first semester was a learning experience for him, especially during CS Night, our yearly student project showcase. Professor Lee spent the night exploring projects and thinking about how he could possibly be a faculty sponsor for a project in the future. He enjoyed all of the excitement and projects that students have come up with that displayed their own strengths as programmers and creativity.

Professor Lee was not only a spectator but an active participant of CS Night. He was part of a panel that shared career insights with students after the student showcase and answered questions from the audience about how to get an internship along with post-graduation advice for Computer Science Majors.

Something that Professor Lee would like to see in the future in the department is to modernize the Computer Science Labs space and equipment for classes and projects. His Data Processing course is very programming heavy and is broken down into two sections. The first is running programs on your local machine, with the course transitioning to the cloud with Google Cloud Platform. Professor Lee says that it would be nice to be able to use the CS labs so you could run computationally intense programs in the Computer Lab which would reduce latency from testing to verifying your project output.

“Giving students relevant advice is important to me”

Professor Lee also gives students the option to have 1-on-1 time with him to talk about anything that they would like. He says that 80% of students take him up on the offer and a common thread is about their resume. Professor Lee stresses the importance of getting help from people with relevant industry experience because, in a fast-moving field like software engineering, it is important to stay current and up to date. He looks forward to finding a solution to help other students in a scalable way.

 

 

 

SHPE National Convention 2019

Last semester, I was fortunate enough to attend the 2019 National SHPE Convention that was held over Halloween Weekend in Phoenix Arizona. SHPE is the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and its yearly national convention is the biggest gathering of Hispanic students and professionals in North America. The weekend holds workshops, parties, a stadium filled with employers and recruiters, and more parties.

SHPE Professional chapter hike

Before transferring to USF, I attended San Jose State University and saw the large community of Hispanic engineers that got together for club meetings, recruiter run resume workshops, and field trips. At USF I became involved in Diversineers (shoutout to Ornelle) which was the closest thing to SHPE. Still wanting to connect with Hispanic people in the engineering filed, I looked to the professional SF Bay Area SHPE chapter which holds various events all over the bay where students are welcome.

 

mentorSHPE students and professionals at USF

 

I was so excited to have found a community of people that were in a similar position that I was in and was convinced that USF would benefit from having a chapter. Diversineers and SHPE SF Bay Area chapter teamed up to put on a day of mentorship, dubbed mentorSHPE, that taught students and professionals tools to become a better mentor/mentee. Students from San Francisco State University, Napa Valley College and many more were at attendance at the event alongside engineering professionals from all disciplines. This may seem like a detour to my experience at the SHPE national convention, but the students and professionals that came to USF welcomed me with open arms in at Nationals.

Students and professionals applying what they have learned

 

Photo blurred to protect the innocent

 

The moment I landed in Phoenix it was energy overload. This was my first conference and I had no idea what to expect or how to prepare. While getting my badge people were already signing up for events, hackathons, competitions and more. I received a bag full of goodies and a paper map that spanned the length of a table with every location and schedule of events. From there, I met Juan Hernandez, a guy that went to a neighboring high school and used to work across the street from me. He is now studying Mechanical Engineering at Cal Poly SLO and I hung out with him for the night. We went over to McDonald’s and got our costume for the Halloween parties at the local dollar store. While hanging out with Juan, he told me what to look out for at Nationals and how to best navigate the convention.

 

Entering the unknown

The following day was when all of the workshops began. I met back up with Juan, but our different interests in engineering ended taking us to different workshops and socials. I attended workshops on resume creation and development, how to best present yourself to recruiters, and entrepreneurship for engineers.

A workshop that stood out was the “What Drives Us” workshop hosted by Inter, Uber, and Broadcom Professionals. They shared how they began at SHPE during their college years and how they affect their workplace by way of effective leadership.

Hospitality Suite Hallways

 

Tasty snacks at the Hospitality Suite

After all of the main talks were over, there were “Hospitality Suites” sponsored by companies where recruiters would casually network with people a day before the career fair. There were 2 hour waits to get into a lunch hospitality suite, with similar wait times happening for dinner Hospitality Suites. I saw Delia from the Delta Valley Professional Chapter and chatted with her after lunch. We attended a few workshops together and then it was time to line up for the evening “Hospitality Suites”. Delia was very keen on getting into the Johnson & Johnson suite and decided to part ways. I attended 15+ smaller suites that startups held and returned after 4 hours to see how the J&J line was doing. In that time Delia literally did not move and we joked about her being able to even get into the suite. After I attended 15 more hospitality suites, I returned to Johnson & Johnson and saw that there was no line. With 10 minutes left before all the suites closed, I charmed my way into the suite and found Delia finally talking to a recruiter. She saw me out of the corner of her eye and smiled. Afterward, we left laughing and joking about J&J line.

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego

 

Towards the end of the evening, the Welcome Keynote took place where Phoenix mayor welcomed everyone to the city. She encouraged us to enjoy our time in the city and to fall in love while in Phoenix (which I found quite strange, but I am not complaining). There I met some people from the University of Rochester, a dream school for me because they have one of the top-rated music programs in the country. There they told me about how they never went over to Eastman which I found amusing.

Sponsor shoutouts

Sponsors were highlighted along with regional awards. It didn’t really hit me until I saw all the logos on the screen, but the diversity in companies that were in attendance was far greater than I imagined. At USF, we only have a Computer Science Department, with Data Science and Biology being off on their own, as opposed to other schools having a unified engineering department that houses STEM programs together.  Biotech, Mechanical Engineering, Materials, Civil, all had equal, if not greater representation at the conference than the usual Bay Area Software Engineering.

Regional Awards

 

Surprise drumline performance

I happened to run into the San Francisco State people that attended the USF mentorSHPE workshop a few months back. I was great catching up with them and they invited me to tag along to a birthday gathering, where the Napa Valley College people were in attendance. After dinner, I went out with the Napa Valley College leadership and stayed up all night to party at the neighboring bars and clubs. At some point, I was in a swanky restaurant where I was served free food and drinks and ended up getting my resume reviewed by a group of engineers/recruiters at the restaurant which was quite a trip because everyone was so helpful in refining my resume before the career fair. I applied what I learned that night and refined my until the following day.

The final day

On my final day, everyone had a look of exhaustion. Everyone has had a few late nights in a row and waking up early did not help. There was an epic line that zigzagged from one auditorium to another and finally into the main stadium where the career fair was being held. From there I stood in the queue for a few hours. At one point, people got desperate and broke a section of a barrier that was holding the lines in the snakelike shape ended up being a blob of people trying to get into the next auditorium.

Twitter interview booths

I finally was inside the stadium where all of the recruiters were in their respective booths and I talked to recruiters from companies such as Twitter and Unity to new companies that I caught my attention. One of them was Denso which is an auto manufacturing company. I ended up having a few onsite interviews which was exciting because I actually got to go into a booth and speak with engineers and Program/Project managers directly. They asked me about my projects (shout out to Professor Engle and her Search Engine Project) and talk about my interest in the Software Engineering field.

 

In the end, I had an amazing time at SHPE National Conference. It is one of the defining moments of my time as a student that I will reflect on for the rest of my life. I have made lifelong friends and encourage anyone thinking about attending a conference to do so. A few tips that I would like to give to future students:

  • Apply Early: There is a database that you can submit your resume to, and companies already have interviews lined up before you even attend the conference. Apply early to get the most out of the career opportunities at Nationals.
  • Be Professional:  While you can party, it is important to maintain your professionalism with everyone that you meet. I would have never gotten my resume reviewed by recruiters a day before the career fair, or an on-site interview if it wasn’t for me clearly introducing myself and communicating my objectives at the conference.
  • Make Connections: I made connections months before the conference with people both at USF and outside USF. Take advantage of the resources that the CS department provides by way of student organizations and workshops. Also, grab a friend an attend the myriad of events that happen around the Bay Area on a daily basis. You never know who you will run into and find at a conference.

I’d like to give special thanks to Diversineers advisor Prof. David Guy Brizan and Rosa Maria Garay for helping me organize the initial mentorSHPE event that took place at USF, I would have not gone to Nationals without your help.

Internship Spotlight: Sope Ogundipe

Sope Ogundipe is a second year MS in Computer Science student graduating this spring 2020.

Sope came into the program from the University of Lagos with a Bachelor of Science in Systems Engineering. Over the summer he was a Software Engineering Intern at Arista Networks in San Francisco. In addition to his internship, he was a Code2040 fellow. He learned a lot of lessons about work and life in general during that summer. lessons that he hopes will take with him for the rest of his life. When asked what he learned during his summer internship he gave great insights into what he learned.

Code Style & New Tools:

I learned about writing proper code that followed the style guidelines for Golang and Python. I remember there were so many corrections during my first code review, but they got better over time. I also learned how to use Gerrit for code reviews and Jenkins for testing, while gaining more experience using git for some more complex functions than just pushing and pulling.

Reading and debugging code:

It’s much harder to practice DRY when your codebase contains over a thousand go files. I had to check for duplicates before implementing any helper function; because chances are such a function already existed. I enjoyed debugging code during my time in Arista. One particular scenario that stands out is when I had to debug an open-source library named “goxpath” to figure out an issue with wrong values being populated in AST trees. It took about two days of diagramming and writing out functions on a whiteboard while stepping through an unfamiliar codebase but I eventually fixed it and made a pull request. It was exhilarating 🙂

Network-related concepts:

Arista is a Network company, so I learned a lot about network concepts through my work and even just by being around and having conversations with people. Arista also had routine tech talks which helped a lot with this.

When reflecting on how his education at USF contributed to getting and excelling in his internship he stated:

A bunch of classes I’d taken up until when I started my internship really helped me both secure my internship and excel in it. “Principles of software development” instilled in me the virtue to write quality code and think about performance and scalability from the outset. “Algorithms” was sure useful (I had to implement an algorithm that checked if two trees are equal as part of a test case I designed). The Blockchain course introduced me to Golang which happened to be the major programming language used by my team in Arista.

USF @ Tapia Conference

 

This year, USF attended the ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing in San Diego. USF Computer Science undergraduate and graduate students were able to network with other students and professionals from around the country and experience diversity in technology by way of informative speaker series and career fair. Shared experiences like these take USF education beyond the classroom and into the real world, where new longlasting professional relationships are formed and further developed.

We asked students who attended to share their experience with us:

What was your main motivation for attending Tapia? What goals did you set, and did you achieve them?

I wanted to attend Tapia so that I would be able to be part of a community that accepted and allowed diversity and did the promotion of uplifting these communities. I also wanted to have access to a lot of companies so that I can discuss and learn more about the whole internship process.

  • Aditya Dixit, BSCS ’21

How was your experience at the Tapia Conference? What stood out and why?

Tapia Conference was a nice experience. It was refreshing to see so many people from diverse backgrounds. I liked how people were friendly and willing to engage other attendees they’d only just met – that was true for the students, recruiters, and every other attendee including the keynote speakers. I also liked that there were various opportunities to connect with people not just at the conference center but at different events organized by attending companies.

  • Sope Ogundipe, MSCS ’20
What speakers or sessions stood out to you? Why?
I enjoyed a session that was on Microaggressions towards women and minorities simply because it helped me think of certain situations through a different lens and allowed me to learn about strategies in handling those situations.
  • Antonio Gutierrez, BSCS ’21
What was your biggest surprise from the Tapia conference?
I liked that there was a bigger turnout this year from last year that I attended, I saw more people attending and different companies participating this year which was very impressive.
  • Alejandro Garcia, BSCS ’20
Did you have any interviews? If so, with what companies?
I got interviews with Square and Bloomberg.
  • Sope Ogundipe, MSCS ’20
Yes, I received an interview with Cruise Automation and Qualcomm
  • Alejandro Garcia, BSCS ’20
Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience at Tapia?
I really enjoyed it and I thank Gian and USF for giving me the opportunity to attend Tapia 2019.
Students had the opportunity to network with the following companies:
  • Facebook
  • Square
  • Bloomberg
  • Wayfair
  • Circle CI
  • Dolby
  • Microsoft
  • DataDog
  • Google
  • JP Morgan Chase
  • BNY Mellon
  • Airbnb
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Cruise Automation
  • Qualcomm

USF @ Grace Hopper 2019!

The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing is the largest of its kind in the world. It provides attendees with an unforgettable experience, filled with amazing opportunities and exceptional content focused on women in technology. Women from across the world come to network, learn, and discuss their experiences and share wisdom.

This year, the Department of Computer Science at the University of San Francisco sent 37 students, two faculty, and one staff to the conference in Orlando, FL. This was made possible through a generous gift from Craig Newmark Philanthropies, the organization of craigslist founder Craig Newmark. Here are some of the students and faculty who attended:

 

We asked the students to discuss their experience at this year’s conference, and this is what they had to say:

What was your main motivation for attending Grace Hopper? 

My main motivation for attending Grace Hopper was to be a part of the amazing women in tech community. I wanted to learn how to empower not only myself but other women around me who share similar struggles. I set a goal to be more confident in my abilities and be able to put myself out there when meeting new people and feel like I belong. This is a big goal and is almost impossible to reach in one week, but I think Grace Hooper brought me much closer to achieving it. 

  • Cassidy Newberry, BSCS ‘21

 

Gain inspiration and confidence from other females in the industry. 

  • Nina Luo, MSCS ‘20

 

I have been learning about the Grace Hopper Conference from my seniors and friends, and following it on social media for the last couple of years. Being a woman in tech, I knew how much of an empowering, motivating and life-changing experience GHC could be for me. Before starting my journey as a technologist, I was always in search of such opportunities that can help me build my confidence, face my insecurities and develop my personality. Attending GHC was a dream come true for me. It was so much beyond my expectations. Being at GHC, surrounded by around 25,000 women technologists who are shaping the world was unforgettable, and the most inspiring and humbling experience I have had in my life. I was overwhelmed to see the technology advancements and innovations that women have achieved, at the same time inspire others to follow their path.

  • Divya Vijayan, MSCS Bridge ‘21

How was your experience at the Grace Hopper Conference? 

It was as amazing as it was last year. The scale of the conference was astounding, and I felt impressed by the amount of talent and intelligence in the room during the sessions and keynotes.

  • Eve Matson, BSCS ‘21

 

The environment of GHC is so different and positive. I really wanted to make contacts with other women that worked in machine learning and AI, and attending the talks and the DOE lab social events were great places to do that.  

  • Anna Jurgensen, MSCS Bridge ‘21

 

I consider attending GHC as a once in a lifetime opportunity to connect with the most amazing women in tech across the world. It really helped to build my confidence by networking with bright women technologists who work at Google, Facebook, Amazon and my peers who are from other universities, like Stanford, Princeton. I was fortunate enough to attend interviews for some big tech companies like LinkedIn and Splunk and meet with their technology leaders. From the incredible keynote addresses to informative and engaging talks, GHC was filled with rare opportunities that I have never dreamt of. I was able to connect with recruiters who presented me with new opportunities and gave me advice for advancing in my career.

  • Divya Vijayan, MSCS Bridge  ‘21

What speakers or sessions stood out to you? Why?

The big data applications in the industry session was impressive because I learned a lot about how to apply computer science knowledge in academia to real problems in the industry.

  • Na Lu, MSCS Bridge ‘21

 

The AI speakers and sessions stood out to me the most. There was a talk about AI creating its own fashion line and perfume. They even brought in the actual products that AI had designed. It was so cool to see something like that brought to life. It really showed me how AI and humans can work together, not against each other like most people think.

  • Cassidy Newberry, BSCS ‘21

 

The keynotes really impressed me. I was really encouraged by the fact that so many of the speakers were calling out areas where the tech industry needed to evolve rather than just accepting the status quo and giving us tips to navigate the biased industry. I also thought the machine learning and AI talks were also really good – they really tried to make the material accessible, which isn’t how I’ve typically seen these topics discussed outside of GHC.

  • Anna Jurgensen, MSCS Bridge ‘21

What was your biggest surprise from the Grace Hopper conference?

My biggest surprise at GHC was how many people from different countries travel all the way to the United States for this conference. I could not believe how many people I met from all over the world. That shows how special this conference is for women in tech; they are willing to travel so far to be a part of it.

  • Cassidy Newberry, BSCS ‘21

 

How ready and willing people at the career fair were to talk to you and try to really help and give solid advice. I stopped by the Nike booth,   and the lady who talked with me was really helpful in discussing where she saw my resume fit in at Nike specifically, and it was a good discussion for me!  It was really eye-opening that people weren’t just taking resumes and shoo-ing you away.

  • Allison Wong, MSCS Bridge ‘20

 

The friendliness and genuine supportiveness of other attendees regardless of their level of experience.

  • Anna Jurgensen, MSCS Bridge ‘21

What was especially satisfying to you about the conference?

It was especially satisfying that the keynote speakers are so carefully chosen, passionate, and empowering. The conference did an amazing job inspiring people with the opening and closing of GHC. The keynote speakers all thoroughly impressed me and made me excited to be involved with such a great conference. It was empowering to hear all the accomplishments of the speakers, and was even more important to hear about their struggles. To know that these accomplished women had to fight through the struggles that we all face, and they still managed to do amazing things is the most empowering part of the conference for me. 

  • Cassidy Newberry, BSCS ‘21

 

I got an internship offer!! From the company I’ve been dreaming about working for since I was in middle school!

  • Eve Matson, BSCS ‘21

 

GHC was a gathering of 25,000 people from around the world. People could have easily ignored anyone and been there for themselves. But it was just the opposite that I saw everywhere at GHC. From the recruiters at the career fair to all my other fellow GHC attendees, everyone was supporting and celebrating each other, and motivating others to move forward. It could have been really tiring to capture the most from such a huge gathering. But the experience at GHC was really energizing and soulful and unforgettable. 

  • Divya Vijayan, MSCS Bridge ‘21

 

Childcare service gave me free time to attend many talks and the opportunity to learn about the new technologies. I really appreciate that. 

  • Rozita Teymourzadeh, MSCS ‘20

 

 

 

I really enjoyed the featured speakers The 19-year-old specifically was really inspiring. It was just great to see the amazing things women are accomplishing. 

  • Alexandria Davis, BSCS ‘21

 

Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience at Grace Hopper?

I just want to say how grateful I am to have been involved in the GHC conference. It is so great to be a part of something so much bigger than yourself but still feel like an individual important piece of that much bigger entity. I cannot thank those who made it possible for me to go enough. 

  • Cassidy Newberry, BSCS ‘21

 

I got a rare chance to volunteer for the ACM-W group and interact with so many people, talk about the benefits of ACM-W and encourage them to join. It was my first time volunteering in the US, and that too at such a huge platform. It was truly an amazing experience.

  • Divya Vijayan, MSCS Bridge ‘21

 

I truly appreciate Craig Newmark, Prof. Beste and Gian for providing such great support. It was an amazing experience.

  • Rozita Teymourzadeh, MSCS ‘20

 

Many of USF’s students networked and interviewed with the many companies at the Grace Hopper Celebration, including:

 

  • Activision
  • Airbnb
  • Amazon
  • Apple
  • Argonne labs
  • Audible
  • Bloomberg
  • Cisco
  • CME
  • DataDog
  • Department of Energy 
  • Docusign
  • Draft Kings
  • eBay
  • Everlaw
  • F5
  • Facebook
  • Facebook
  • Fermi Labs
  • Google
  • Groupon
  • IBM
  • LBNL
  • LinkedIn
  • NASA JPL
  • NBC Universal
  • Oak Ridge)
  • Okta
  • PNNL
  • SAS
  • Slack
  • Splunk
  • Splunk
  • Spotify
  • Tableau
  • United Airlines
  • Verizon
  • Walmart

Women in Tech Graduate Scholarship Recipients

Through a generous gift from Craig Newmark Philanthropies, the organization of craigslist founder Craig Newmark, five Computer Science graduate students have received a Women in Technology scholarship. This will help to provide the opportunity to excel in their academics and continue their active engagement on campus, ultimately enriching STEM education for everyone at the University of San Francisco.

We asked the recipients to share their thoughts on how the Newmark Scholarship has impacted their studies:

 

“Receiving this scholarship enables me to go into my last year at USF without worrying so much about finances. It’s not only an honor but also takes a huge burden off my shoulders in terms of splitting my time between work, academics and job-hunting. Overall it means I can focus more on getting through this year to graduation and finishing strong!”

 

  • Allison Wong, MS in Computer Science Bridge, Spring ‘20

Continue reading “Women in Tech Graduate Scholarship Recipients”