University of Southern Indiana

CIS and CS Programs Invited to Junior Achievement's JobSpark Event

The Romain College of Business Computer Information Systems (CIS) and Computer Science (CS) programs were invited by Debbie Garrison, CIO of Berry Global and event sponsor, to participate in this year’s technology section of Junior Achievement’s virtual JobSpark event, Nov. 16-17, 2021. JobSpark is a hands-on career exploration program for grades 8-12 that exposes students to different career paths.

Faculty members  Dr. Xue Han, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Jiaying Liu, Instructor in CIS, Josh McWilliams, Instructor in CIS, and Kasra Pourang, Instructor in CIS participated, connecting with the students individually. In addition to learning what they might study in CS and CIS, students learned about real-world experiential client projects in the capstone course. Highlights of past projects included game development and web presences for small businesses and non-profits, as well as embedded development on microcontrollers. It made the whole program tangible to prospective students.

The topics generated a great deal of interest in the students, who were active participants during the Q&A session. 

HanDr. Xue Han, Assistant Professor of CS 

“The HelloWorld project is a series of small programs. It is used to inspire and encourage students to make a simple project more interesting and exciting. The “Hello World” program is often the first program you write when learning a programming language. This program prints “Hello World” on the computer screen. The HelloWorld Project shows a few variations of the “Hello World” program. 

Feel free to contribute to this project:” 

LiuJiaying Liu, Instructor of CIS 

“Data visualization is becoming increasingly important because it enables knowledge compression, allowing an enormous amount of information to be packed into a small space. The video shows how information design can help us get through the information glut and how simple charts can show patterns by using examples including Moneyball, NBA and Pokémon.” 

JoshJosh McWilliams, Instructor of CIS 

“I presented to regional middle and high school students about both the USI Computer Science (CS) and Computer Information Systems (CIS) degrees, as well as walked them through some examples of projects completed as part of the senior capstone course. The senior capstone course represents the culminating event in the undergraduate career of a CS or CIS student in which both disciplines come together to work in teams on projects for real-world clients or to further their own ideas. Examples of past projects are many but include video game development, mobile application development, web presence for startups or non-profit businesses, and many others.” 

PourangKasra Pourang, Instructor of CIS 

“My presentation was about artificial intelligence (AI). To begin, I briefly introduced the general field of artificial intelligence and mentioned that we use it every single day. Next, I discussed what tools we use to teach machines (i.e. robots) how to think and become intelligent. This sparked the question of whether machines would awaken one day and take over the world. In response to that question, I demonstrated to the attendees how we reward the machines when they do a good job and punish them when they do a bad one. My presentation ended with a discussion of how AI examples are used in the USI's business analytics courses.” 

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