It's great to see how much Hunter CS has developed since starting here there years ago. The latest endeavor is Winter Codefest. During the fall I was approached by one of my students who had asked an older Hunter CS student about their portfolio and found that the senior's portfolio was lacking. This student said we should do something to help encourage younger students to build that portfolio.
The result was Winter Codefest. A team of organizers was formed and they came up with the plan. Have students register teams right after Fall finals and have teams work on independent projects over the course of January before the Spring semester started. We'd then have an event where everyone would show off their work. We decided to limit participants to my Daedalus scholars this time around but planned from the get go to make it Hunter wide in the future.
We ended up with about 24 participants spanning all three Daedalus cohorts with most of the participants in the second year group.
Due to the scheduling we couldn't hold the end of competition event until today. A bunch of us gathered along with some of our friends from the tech community to review the projects, network, and generally talk tech. All in all the event was a real success. All the participants learned new technologies and now have one more show piece to talk about in interviews.
This year was unquestionably a success and it's going to be a bigger one next year. The CS department is working on creating 1 and 2 credit projects courses that will be offered during the winter session. This will enable students to take the courses to develop a Winterfest project with the support of a class around it. We're also going to make the event available to all Hunter CS students.
It's really exciting to be part of developing programs like Hunter College CS, Programs that can be super transformative for young New Yorkers. It's even more exciting when your students take active leadership roles and help make our programs even more special.