Almost four and a half years ago I left Stuyvesant and joined Hunter College. One of the initiatives I was charged with was the creation of a computer science honors program - the Daedalus scholars. Now, a little over four years later, our first cohort is graduating.
I'm super proud of that first cohort and what we've collectively been building.
I joined Hunter at the end of January 2016 - a month after college applications had closed. This meant that we had to build our first cohort after the fact. Nobody applied to Hunter to be a part of the Daedalus scholars because we didn't exist.
Still, by looking at the students who had already applied to Hunter we found a few that were interested and qualified. We lost a few along the way - a student who really wanted an engineering program, one who had already conditionally been accepted to another school but took our money for the semester (I really hate it when people exploit a system like this but that's another story), one who really didn't know what CS was and ended up not liking the subject, and one who really wanted to leave the city.
During our first semester, some Macaulay students found out about our program and wanted to join so we padded our numbers with a small number of them. Overall we ended up with a small group of 12.
As I said, I'm proud of all of them for what they did at Hunter and for what lies ahead.
Now, four years later we get hundreds of applicants including a growing number from outside the city and are taking in many more great students. I don't know the other colleges that our first cohort members were accepted to but now we're competing for students with Stony Brook, NYU, RIT, and in some cases bigger "names." My goal was for us to become the best value CS and the best CS in NYC and we're well on our way. with the first cohort, we prototyped some activities and events that have evolved into staples - tech mentoring, codefest, interview prep and more.
Our first cohort led the way and I'm super proud of them. Now they'll become our first graduates and continue to be resource for both each other and future Hunter CS students. This is now the start of another endeavor - it took decades to create the StuyCS Mafia and now I get to repeat the process with HunterCS but this time, since I know what's to come I can enjoy the show as it unfolds.