The CSters club has empowered and supported women in computing at Rice University for 16 years. They want to increase their support to first year students.
“I joined CSters because I was searching for a supportive and collaborative community of women interested in Computer Science,” Elia Chen (CS ’19), who is the club’s internal president said.
The club's advisor is Lydia Kavraki, the Noah Harding professor of Computer Science and of Bioengineering.
“Through CSters, I found the community I was looking for and I also gained valuable mentorship and networking opportunities,” she said. “We're a close-knit, supportive community, and we always welcome new members,” Chen said.
Grace Tan (CS ’21) joined CSters as a freshman. She learned about different facets of computer science through the events the club sponsors.
“CSters help me so much by teaching me about industry and academia through tech talks and panels,” Tan said.
“They gave me mentors through the Big Little program where I was able to ask my Big (sister) questions I had about internships, classes I should take, life at Rice and everything in between,” she said.
CSters gave Shelby Bice (CS ’19) the opportunity to be part of a coding challenge which landed her an internship. “I actually got my first internship through a CSters event,” Bice said.
“A tiny company called Spiceworks hosted a coding challenge with CSters my freshman year. I stayed until I solved all the problems. Even though I was inexperienced and needed some help solving the problems, the recruiters were impressed enough to offer me an interview an internship a few weeks later. That internship helped me secure my next internship at Microsoft, and the rest is history. I owe a lot to CSters,” she said.
CSters club members participate in different activities on campus and off campus, such as the Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC), the world's largest gathering for women technologists which took place in Houston, September 26-28.
“This year, we sponsored 40 of our members to attend the conference. GHC is the world's largest conference for women in computing. GHC provides such a valuable opportunity to learn and connect with other women in tech,” Chen said.
“I am really grateful to CSters for sponsoring us to attend GHC,” Tan said. “Going to GHC for the first time this year has opened my eyes to career options and new tech innovations that I did not ever think about or consider as a possibility for my future,” she said.
Chen expects the connections she made at CSters will last after she graduates from Rice.
“Through CSters, I've been able to connect with so many encouraging, inspirational women in tech, and I'm sure that this network will be valuable in the future,” she said.
CSters welcomes new members year-round. Bice encourages new students to give it a try.
“We're a pretty chill club. Our events are scattered throughout the semester. They range from events with companies such as Google, Airbnb and Microsoft to lunches where you can just hang out and talk to other people. There are no fees to join CSters. You don't have to come to every event but the more events you attend, the better chance you have of snagging a full sponsorship to GHC,” Bice said.
For more information, please visit the CSters website.
Cintia Listenbee, Communications and Marketing Specialist in Computer Science