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Computer and Information Sciences

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GEEK WEEK - A Two-Day Celebration

  • Dates: 27 – 28 Mar, 2023
  • How to find us: Virtual

Spelman Hosts Geek Week

The Spelman College Department of Computer and Information Sciences is committed to preparing students for graduate training in specialized areas of computer science; preparing students for jobs in industry, business or government; and providing support courses for students in engineering, mathematics and other fields requiring computing skills. To that end, they invite you to join them for Geek Week on Thursday and Friday, Oct. 29-30.

The highly anticipated Geek Fest brings together industry leaders in the fields of computer science, technology, innovation, data, robotics, artificial intelligence, and more to introduce students to computing, entrepreneurship and opportunities to network with their peers and representatives of leading firms.

GEEK Fest Activities at a Glance

  • Monday, March 27, noon: Esteemed Women of UKG Panel Discussion
  • Monday, March 27, 2 p.m.: Tour of Mercedes Benz Stadium Technology
    (AUC Students) ABM Sports & Entertainment
  • Tuesday, March 28, noon: A Fireside Chat with Stacy Kirk
  • Tuesday, March 28, 2 p.m.: AMB Sports and Entertainment
  • Tuesday, March 28, 5 p.m.: Bug Smashing with Quality - Hackathon

We are pleased to have the following individuals join us: 

  • Derek Valentine, BD&E Director with Ultimate Kronos Group
  • Stacy Kirk, CEO, QualityWorks Consulting Group
  • Latonda Henderson, Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, AMB Sports and Entertainment
These leaders will speak and facilitate symposiums and activities during the week. Students will have the opportunity to participate in an offsite tour of the Mercedes Benz Stadium and competitive Hackathon activities.

Monday, March 27 at 12 p.m. 

Esteemed Women of UKG, Ultimate Kronos Group

The Albro-Falconer-Manley Science Center's NASA Auditorium, Spelman College

Geek Fest at Spelman Features UKG Superstars

This 50-minute panel event is a unique opportunity to hear from an array of successful and influential Black, professional women in tech and consist of inspiring professionals who have overcome barriers to grow and advance their careers.

Through their real-life experiences, they will share stories about their journeys and experiences working at UKG, one of the leading HCM cloud companies in the world. The panel will be moderated by Derek Valentine, BD&E director and Elena Norde, senior diverse talent engagement specialist.

Immediately following the panel discussion there will be a conversation and technology tour of the Mercedes Benz Stadium in conjunction with the AMB Sports and Entertainment Group. During the two-hour conversation/tour, students will have an opportunity to see what goes on behind the scenes of the state-of-the-art facility.

Tuesday, March 28 at 2 p.m. 

A Fireside Chat with Stacy Kirk, CEO of QualityWorks Consulting Group

The Albro-Falconer-Manley Science Center's NASA Auditorium, Spelman College

Stacy Kirk Speaks at Spelman College's Geek WeekQualityWorks, founded in 2010, is the leading Black-owned, woman-owned digital consulting firm specializing in software testing, agile transformation, and web application development. The session will be a great opportunity for students who are interested in becoming entrepreneurs. A Hackathon event later in the afternoon will round out the day with QualityWorks.

The QualityWorks Team

Janique Morris, Senior QA Consultant

Morris is a senior QA engineer, with over five years of experience at QualityWorks Consulting Group. She is also a person who has a passion for the process of developing sustainable apps that meets the needs of the end-users. She is user-centered and passionate about designing and building inclusive applications, through her QA and UX background.

She classifies herself as the hybrid designer, because of her experience in quality assurance and UX design Her QA experience is not limited to manual testing, but also automation using Javascript frameworks. She enjoys solving problems with both automation and design. With her passion of sharing knowledge, she has been an instructor at a UI automation Bootcamp. She has also hosted a training on usability and accessibility testing, where she shared her UX checklist and taught others about creating accessibility personas that will aid them while testing applications.

Shantel Stewart-Gayle, Product Manager

Shantel Stewart-Gayle is a product manager at QualityWorks Consulting Group and a product development professional with a passion for imparting knowledge. Over the last seven years, she has helped drive user-friendly high-value products to end users. Stewart-Gayle has led web and mobile solutions from the discovery phase to product road mapping, backlog development, pricing, release, and finally to revenue. With extensive experience in quality assurance, her unique skillset allows her to approach product management with a tester's mindset which has proved useful over the years. She shares her knowledge instructing at testing boot camps since 2019 with a focus on agile principles, values, and methodologies. She is an ISTQB-certified tester, and a Scrum Alliance-certified Scrum Master and product owner. Stewart-Gayle holds an MSc. in Information Technology Management from Regis University in Denver, Colorado.

Bug Smashing with Quality, Hackathon at 5 p.m. 

This Bug Smashing with Quality, Hackathon seeks to develop students' skills in finding bugs, writing tickets, creating test cases. Students will have an opportunity to win prizes based on their skills!


Opportunities are Endless for Spelman Computer Science Majors

Some Spelman College first-year students may be timid entering, but they graduate as women who have discovered their key interests, pursued them and are ready to compete in any arena.

Growing up in Michigan, Shelby Thomas found her calling early. In middle school, she took a community college Web design course and “fell in love with it.” Then her mom, who worked in information technology, suggested she study computer science.

Thomas, who majored in computer and information sciences, credits Spelman’s “Geek Week” for introducing CIS students to opportunities at companies including Google, Electronic Arts and Microsoft.  Thomas, who served as a computer science peer educator, has interned twice at NASA’s Marshall Space Center  working on software development and conducting tests on C++ code written for the Ares rocket's flight computer. The great thing about computer science, Thomas said, is its vast opportunities in areas including Web design, gaming, robotics, artificial intelligence, and the list is endless.

Translating Massive Data Feeds

Spelman alumna Mave Houston, C’95, knows how to manage multiple streams of data and talented colleagues. She is director of process interaction and user experience in the Tax Business Process Management Group at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Her Washington, D.C. team ensures that users accomplish corporate compliance tasks efficiently and effectively. She joined the firm in 2005.

After receiving her CIS degree in 1995, Houston attended Auburn University where she earned a master’s degree in computer science and computer engineering and a doctorate in computer science and software engineering. She completed post doctoral work at IBM’s Almaden Research Center where she conducted user studies involving ethnographic coding and analysis, benchmarking and video coding.

Houston said the preparation at Spelman in algorithm visualization and human computer interaction was critical to her graduate work. She also believes Spelman’s emphasis on interviewing, resume writing, and honing presentation skills prepared her for a corporate environment. “I firmly believe the skills I acquired at Spelman allowed me to move into a director's role at PwC in less than five years,” Houston said.

The Road to Mountain View, California

Google Inc. heads the dream job list for most young techs. Exciting, demanding work, good pay and stellar benefits plus salt, sugar and free, caffeine-laden feeding stations on every floor. Those are a few reasons why Andrea Roberson, C‘2009, likes her job.
At Spelman, she focused on artificial intelligence/robotics, networking, and computer graphics programming. The former captain of Spelman’s award-winning robotics team also interned at several companies before heading to California.

Roberson credits a National Science Foundation grant she won while at Spelman for introducing her to specific technologies she might never have studied on her own. “I was able to research wireless and virtual networks, graphical processors and computational chemistry,” she said.

The 3,000-mile trip from Atlanta to Google was a short one for the well-trained graduate.

Google HBCU Hackathon

CIS Hackathon
(From left to right: Carlette Odemwingie, Aubria Hull, Jett Bagley, Kison Osborne, Gerard Vanloo)

Students from Spelman College and Morehouse College received third place in Google’s HBCU Hackathon in Atlanta. Google hosted more than 80 computer science students from the greater Atlanta area who worked in teams on projects that provide solutions to real-world challenges. The hackathon, which includes programs to engage with the computer science departments of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, is part of Google's commitment to building a diverse next generation in the technology field.

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