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Celebrating CS @ ILLINOIS

7/21/2016 9:25:00 AM By Tom Moone, CS @ ILLINOIS

Nine hundred empanadas and 20 pizzas. That’s the answer.

Cinda Heeren (right) gave a brief explanation of segfaults during the Celebrating CS @ ILLINOIS event.
Cinda Heeren (right) gave a brief explanation of segfaults during the Celebrating CS @ ILLINOIS event.

What’s the question? How much food does it take to feed everyone who helped launch what is hoped to be an annual celebration of CS @ ILLINOIS?

The celebration was initiated because the department has been experiencing exciting increases in the number and percentage of female students over the past several years. A story on the College of Engineering website inspired CS faculty member Cinda Heeren and staff member CJ Coleman to see an opportunity for celebration.

“I started reaching out to student leaders who were far away on their summer internships for their ideas on an awesome event we could have for the whole department,” Coleman said. “We all worked together via email to plan the theme.”

Though spurred on by the increase in female students, the event was created to celebrate the entire CS @ ILLINOIS family.

CS student Eva Shih created the design for the T-shirt.
CS student Eva Shih created the design for the T-shirt.

Because memory errors such as segmentation faults (segfaults for short) are a common challenge faced by students in upper level courses, and because they can be frustrating when first encountered, the theme for this first Celebrating CS @ ILLINOIS event was “Segfaults bring us together.” T-shirts with this theme—designed by CS student Eva Shih—were distributed to students, faculty, and staff throughout the afternoon.

The atrium of the Thomas M. Siebel Center was filled with students, staff, and faculty at 4 p.m. on September 2, 2014. CS Department Head Rob A. Rutenbar welcomed all the attendees.

Celebrating CS @ ILLINOIS brought a large crowd for good food, lively conversation, and a free T-shirt.
Celebrating CS @ ILLINOIS brought a large crowd for good food, lively conversation, and a free T-shirt.

Heeren gave a brief overview of segfaults (or segmentation faults) for any students who may not yet have encountered these in their CS @ ILLINOIS career—though all assuredly will by the time they graduate.

In her talk, Heeren pointed out that responding to segfaults requires three things from the students: tenacity, curiosity, and communication. “It’s not really the segfaults that define us,” Heeren said. “It’s our response to them that makes us strong.”

NOTE: More photos of the event are available on the CS @ ILLINOIS Facebook page.