University of Bristol Computer Science Society 2018–19
For my final year at University of Bristol, I held the position of Outreach Officer—and, from September to December 2018, of Acting Press Officer—on the CSS committee. In my role I coordinated with University of Bristol, local schools and external organisations to increase STEM engagement and managed branding, publicity and social media presence for the 2.1k+ member society.
The society organises events for students including tech talks, socials, hands-on activities, “capture the flag” events and hackathons, many in collaboration with local and multinational companies. These events have an average attendance of roughly 100 students, including members from other disciplines.
Explore Week is an untimetabled week in the middle of the semester which students are encouraged to utilise to pursue or explore their STEM interests. CSS organises a number of events during this week, including an Industry Panel, 24-hour Game Jam, Lightning Talks from academics and a coursework support afternoon (CodeLounge).
MVBall is one of the highlights of the CSS calendar: an opportunity for students to unwind and enjoy an evening of fine food, wine and dancing at the end of the semester. CSS also arranges a number of socials before the Christmas holiday, and engages with international events such as Google Hash Code.
Another highlight of the year is the annual CSS Hackathon sponsored by The Boeing Company. In 2019, the theme was ‘Wellbeing’, with students creating apps and services supporting mental health, applications for AR technology in unsafe environments and performing original data science research.
CSS Bristol works closely with Digimakers and other local groups to deliver workshops to increase interest and engagement in STEM, focusing on young people and underrepresented groups in engineering like women, those from BAME backgrounds and LGBT+.
We assist with a triannual event, Digimakers, which attracts over 400 young people to participate in engineering workshops and tech demonstrations; Digimakers Roadshow, a weekly programme with local schools and youth groups, which is free to participants and connects students to their local community; and the University of Bristol’s “Work Experience” and summer programmes with EDT and other professional organisations.
In July 2019, in collaboration with the Jean Golding Institute and with support from the Turing Institute and local businesses like Potato, Ghyston and Just Eat, we are launching a new annual initiative called Changemakers: an event that aims to break down stereotypes and highlight the excellent opportunities available to young women interested in a career in the tech industry. Over an exciting four days of skills development, inspiring seminars and industry insight, teams will work together to develop a piece of technology to support a social or ecological campaign. This opportunity is open to students from years 9-12, and participants do not need previous programming experience to take part.
We are living in uncertain times: it is more important than ever that young women have a voice and are encouraged to develop the skills they will need to tackle some of the big issues humanity is faced with.
In 2018/19, University of Bristol Computer Science Society’s Gold Sponsors are Bloomberg, Cookpad, Dyson and Just Eat, and our Silver Sponsor is Jump Trading. We are a Bristol SU society, a registered charity in England and Wales #1139656.