CS Student Ambassadors/Research Scholars (CS STARS)

Are you interested in pursuing undergraduate research while getting involved with departmental engagement activities? Do you want to connect with a community of women interested in pursuing computer science research?



Meet the STARS!

The inaugural class of CS STARS is comprised of students ranging in experience from first through third year Illinois students. They bring a wide variety of research, service, and leadership experience to CS STARS Activities. Learn more about the STARS below!

2021-2022 STARS



What is CS Student Ambassadors/Research Scholars (CS STARS)?

Program Dates: Academic year 2022-23

Illinois CS Student Ambassadors/Research Scholars (CS STARS)  is designed for University of Illinois undergraduate students who are interested in pursuing undergraduate research in a chosen area of interest while also serving as departmental leaders to recruit women to the CS majors and empower women CS undergraduates. The program will take place during the academic year. CS STARS,  will receive a stipend and will have a commitment of about 10 hours per week. They will conduct research with and be mentored by a CS faculty member  (6-7 hours a week) and will also engage in recruiting, mentoring, and cohort-building activities (3-4 hours a week). Using application materials, the CS STARS team will match participants to Illinois CS faculty members who would be a good fit for supporting each participant’s research and personal goals. During the summer, CS STARS may have additional opportunities to conduct research full-time in the CS Summer REU program and to serve as mentors during the Illinois CS Kickstart program to welcome incoming students.

Leadership Groups

CS STARS participate in a variety of outreach activities such as Hour of Code. These activities are intended to provide computing educational opportunities to local pre-college youth.

CS STARS facilitate many community building activities within the CS Department, including the annual Trick or Research event each October!

Prospective students who are interested in applying to one of the Illinois CS Undergraduate majors may meet with the CS STARS during a campus visit or Chicago-area recruitment fair.

STARS Curriculum

The CS STARS course is one part group meeting and planning time and one part research and mentorship learning and coaching. Research topics will include researcher hygiene, the hows and whats of doing research, and how best to prepare research for presentation and publication. Mentorship and leadership content will include team building and similar effective leadership and mentoring topics. Equity and justice will be covered in conjunction with department E&J sponsor talks. Additionally, STARS will use class time to discuss and plan to implement community building efforts and other opportunities within the department.

Classes meet on Wednesdays at 5:00 pm in SC2405 and via zoom.

Learn More

Illinois CS STARS will :

  • Participate in research and develop an ongoing engagement with faculty and their research group 
  • Participate in a one-credit course for CS STARS focused on research, leadership, and mentorship skills on Wednesdays at 5:00 pm during the fall and spring semesters
  • Serve as ambassadors to recruit women who are interested in the CS majors
  • Facilitate activities and maintain departmental connections among undergraduate women in computing

Eligibility and Application Information

Applications are open to all Illinois undergraduate students who are interested in pursuing research and empowering women in Computer Science. 

  • Research (e.g., Summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates)

  • Mentorship, leadership, and teaching at any level (e.g., student organization leadership, CA experience, community mentorship/volunteer work with youth)

  • Commitment to broadening participation in education and supporting students from diverse backgrounds

  • Excellent listening, oral, organizational, and communication skills

  • Potential for leadership, mentorship and empathy

  • Online application

  • Materials: CV, application statements, bio, contact info for one reference

  • Click here for more information on the application process!


CS Program Team

Nancy Amato
Nancy Amato
Abel Bliss Professor of Engineering
Head of Department of Computer Science

Cynthia Coleman
Director of External Relations

BPC Team

Fan Wang
BPC Fellow

Emmanuel Gallegos
BPC Fellow