Illinois CS Kickstart

What is Illinois CS Kickstart?

The CS department will not be offering CS Kickstart in 2023.

Illinois CS Kickstart is a four day program for students admitted to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that aims to empower women in Computer Science. Program participants will join a diverse group of their peers for an inclusive and creative CS-learning experience. No prior experience is needed. The program strives to foster relationships and build community to strengthen CS enrollment and retention.

A row of students sitting at computers, viewed from the side. They are all facing forward.

Illinois CS Kickstart is dedicated to:

  • Empowering students with the knowledge of CS fundamentals
  • Connecting students with CS students and professionals to serve as role models and mentors
  • Inspiring students by showing the breadth and power of CS and technology
  • Informing students about opportunities to pursue a CS minor or major at the University of Illinois, what resources are available to support them, and how CS can be applicable to their career goals. 
  • Developing a sense of community among participants.
  • Mentoring students by providing near-peer mentors and connections to students, staff, and faculty within the department.

Curriculum and Schedule

The CS Kickstart schedule covers a range of computing and social activities that prepare participants for their first semester as college students. CS Kickstart is led by UIUC CS graduate students who will lead hands-on, collaborative programming labs. Participants will also meet professors, staff, and student leaders in the CS department and begin networking and connecting with  future teachers, mentors, and peers. CS Kickstart participants will also have the opportunity to explore the University of Illinois campus through several fun, social activities!  


Classroom of students in front of computers, waving to camera

Program Information

Click on each step below to learn more about the CS Kickstart Application Process. Applications are due July 15, 2022.

  • Illinois CS Kickstart 2022 will run from August 14-18, 2022.

  • There is no cost to participants, but participants are required to provide their own transportation to campus. 

  • Participants will stay in their Fall 2022 campus dorms. Housing costs from the evening of August 14 through the morning of 18, 2022 are covered by Illinois CS. All meals starting with dinner on August 14 through breakfast on August 18 are provided in the University of Illinois Dining Halls.

A group of students standing and waving in front of the Alma Mater statue.

CS Kickstart Team

Elsa Gunter
Elsa Gunter
Research Professor and Senior Lecturer
Director of Undergraduate Studies

Colleen Lewis
Colleen Lewis
Associate Professor

Broadening Participation in Computing Graduate Fellows

Kathleen Isenegger, Lead Project Fellow

Max Fowler

Sara Aghajanzadeh



For questions about the program, application, or any other inquiries, please email the team at