WiCS and CS Club leaders win three 2019 SSU Student Involvement Awards

June 18, 2019
Five students posing, holding three crystal awards

Club officers (left to right) Ian Davidson, Keegan Donley, David Tauraso, Catherine Meyer, Maurice Becnel

The CS Club and WiCS had their extraordinary accomplishments recognized at the 2019 SSU Student Involvement Awards. With over 100 clubs participating, and 100+ nominations, they claimed 3 of the 10 prizes awarded. Thank you to these students for their remarkable contributions to our CS community.

Outstanding student club or organization: Jointly awarded to CS Club & WiCS

From the nomination:

In 2018–2019, WiCS and CS clubs have become phenomenally collaborative, supportive of each other, responsive to the student community and department-serving. We are nominating these clubs jointly due to their incredible programming and their collaborative, supportive relationship. Simply, the two clubs have done more events than ever this year, and done more than ever *together* this year.

The clubs have worked hand-in-hand on events and activities supporting their members' interests in the field, developing their members professionally, and building a shared community. The club presidents work closely together on event planning, and clubs cross-promote events. For example, each CS lab has a whiteboard summarizing club events into a single announcement space (labeled "WiCS/CS events") and cross-promoting on club flyers. The clubs have been incredible boosters for other groups (SWE, MESA, Women in Tech), including announcements for those groups' events.

Outstanding program: NomaHacks, CS Club

From the nomination:

NomaHacks was the first major 24-hour intercollegiate hackathon in Sonoma County, California. It offered aspiring developers a place to gather and showcase their passions and skills. Teams gathered in the ballrooms of Sonoma State University to develop and present their projects. The event offered over $1,500 of prizes to teams competing in three vertical themes (Awareness, Energy, Transportation), for six prizes funded or donated by our sponsors. The CS Club raised over $6,200 in order to provide the entire event for free to participants.

One of the secondary outcomes of the hackathon was student professional development. For many students, this was their first, significant, out-of-class programming project, and now appears on their resume. Student projects have a public identity on devpost (the website used for project submission, judging and dissemination); many employers in the technology sector prefer to hire students with a history of working on publicly available projects. The event had parallel resume-building workshops, skill-building workshops and technical mentoring. Students interacted with sponsors in a familiar and less formal environment. The goal was for students of all backgrounds and levels of experience to grow confidence talking to potential employers about technology, and feel less intimidated to join future hackathons (i.e., across the Bay Area).

Outstanding officer: Catherine Meyer, WiCS

From the nomination:

Catherine's organization, Women in Computer Science (WiCS), has the mission of promoting and supporting female CS students, who comprise only 15-20% of the CS student population both at SSU and nationwide...Catherine faced the double challenge of 100% officer turnover coming into the 2018-19 year, and needing to recruit a new officer team in Spring 2019 after her fellow officers all graduated in Fall 2018. Despite both of these hurdles, and because of Catherine's leadership, WiCS has had a year of consistent, frequent, diverse programming meant to include the broadest possible base of students. WiCS has also worked very effectively to cross-promote and collaborate with with the Computer Science Club and with Women in Tech (a University-funded program for female students in CS, engineering, and physics).... WiCS' success this year relied on a keen sense of what members needed from the organization. Catherine's willingness to truly listen to her fellow officers and members was crucial in this effort.