When Kathy Li and Renee Labutay arrived at the Mission Bay Conference Center this morning, they both had the same first thought: a bunch of adults lecturing them about careers and maybe some time behind a computer. Instead, they were pleasantly surprised to meet many interesting people and get to learn and play, hands-on with technology driven by computer science!
Kathy and Renee were two of the more than 500 high school students who attended the TEALS Bay Area CS Fair. Software developers and engineers from Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and other companies were on hand to show students, firsthand, what the world of computer science really looks like. Susan Lee Neth, an engineer at Twitter was excited to showcase what she does for the students.
“Being an engineer is one of the best careers a woman can have,” said Susan, “and I love sharing that with all students. The CS Fair is the perfect opportunity to keep spreading the word.”
Many of the companies were demonstrating their latest efforts, including a VR demo of the new Star Wars: Battlefront on the Sony PlayStation VR. Students got to learn about emerging drone technology, game development from FIFA, and experience VR and AR demos while learning about the technology behind while learning about the technology behind those innovations.
The event not only showed students the potential and excitement of CS careers, but also how to achieve those careers. A number of college and universities were on hand. Ashley Patton, Director of Engagement and Annual Giving at the School of Computer Science and Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, flew in from Pittsburg to be a part of the CS Fair. She hopes that by attending the TEALS CS fair, more students – particularly young women – will recognize the power and potential a career in computer science has. Their CS program has seen an increase in the number of female applicants this year and Patton hopes events like the CS Fair will continue to inspire more young women and underrepresented minorities to pursue CS degrees and careers.
By the end of the day, Kathy was energized and had countless possibilities swimming around in her head.
“Computer science isn’t just about programming,” Kathy told us. “There are so many possibilities!”
She is now more seriously considering a career in computer science because of the experience at the CS Fair. It’s clear that this immersive experience was a huge success for students, teachers, and industry partners alike!
Get an inside look at the TEALS Bay Area CS Fair with NBC Bay Area.