CS Day promises Lego sumo, Kinect hacks and more

February 11, for high school students and parents

- January 26, 2012

It may be a machine, but you can see the battle hunger in this robot's eyes.
It may be a machine, but you can see the battle hunger in this robot's eyes.

Lego sumo wrestling.

If that isn’t enough to convince you that there’s more to computer science than meets the eye, how about learning hacks for the XBox Kinect? Or perhaps you’d be up for a lesson in Python — a tech language not nearly as constrictive as it sounds.

If you’re a high school student in Nova Scotia—where there aren’t many hands-on computer science opportunities in the school system—it’s not always easy to figure out what, exactly, a CS degree could entail.

That’s where Dal’s annual Computer Science Day comes in. Hosted by the Faculty of Computer Science, the event lets high school students test drive the CS experience with fun activities in programming, gaming and problem solving.

This year’s CS day takes place Saturday, Feb. 11 at the Goldberg Computer Science Building. The full-day, free event invites students and their parents, teachers and friends to hear from professors on how to creatively personalize a degree in computer science along with opportunities to speak with current and former students on their co-op opportunities, entrepreneurial ventures and post-graduation experiences.

Cool demonstrations

“I’d never done anything in computer science before – I’d never even touched a program,” says Leah Brown, who attended CS Day when she was a student at Charles P. Allen High School. She’s now a third-year Dal CS student.

“It was really cool to see demonstrations of the tech-y stuff…the possibility that I could learn enough to understand, implement and use those technologies really hit me.”

“When I was in grade 12, I wasn't sure which degree I wanted to take - but going to CS Day at Dalhousie University definitely helped me with that decision,” explains Sarah Morash, a second-year computer science student.

“[It] made me realize there are many different types of computer science-related careers that I may be interested in and never knew existed.”

Where people and machines meet

CS Day also offers a window into Dal’s Informatics program, which studies the relationships between computer systems and people within real-world organizations.

"Computer Science Day helped me to realize that Informatics would give me the necessary skills, both technical and personal, to be successful in the IT industry,” says Geoff Miller, a third-year Bachelor of Informatics student. “You have to be ready for change in the technology industry and I feel that my degree and co-op terms prepare me for that."

While the students are busy leading robots into sumo-wrestling matches or building a drawing app using Python, Michael Shepherd, dean of the Faculty of Computer Science will host a special information session for parents to answer any questions relating to the degree program.

All participants will eat lunch in one of Dal’s residence dining halls and will be taken on a campus tour. There is no cost to attend this full day of programming, but space is limited.

Register online at cs.dal.ca/csday


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