By Stephanie Quick
The Department of Computer and Mathematical Sciences [CaMS] at Lewis University not only tries to have their students excel in their studies and enhance their problem solving, but also give endless opportunities for the students to explore their interests in the field.
Even with recent circumstances, our department is still trying our best to keep our students involved in extracurricular activities to strengthen their skills. After speaking with the club presidents, I have gathered information regarding their clubs and what their plans are for the remainder of this academic year.
Cyber Defense Club
Cyber Defense club in CaMS has won numerous awards and participates notably in many competitions in different states. After speaking with the president of the club, Jorge Campos, he emphasized on the importance of continuing competitions throughout the year. Even with the pandemic, the club has continued to meet virtually every week on Discord to discuss upcoming competitions and topics regarding security.
Earlier this semester, the club participated in Cyber 9/12 events. These formal events are excellent for challenging club members’ abilities to think about Cyber Security and Policy within a professional setting. For the rest of the academic year, the club plans on attending the NSA [National Security Agency] Codebreaker challenge, and some other members are currently training to compete in the Department of Energy’s CyberForce Competition held virtually in Argonne National Laboratory.
While it is difficult to continue training for these competitions virtually, Jorge Campos says that their main focus as a club is to build a stronger team to compete with and improve their knowledge and understanding of cyber security. For those students who are interested in joining, please contact Jorge Campos at firstname.lastname@example.org or the cyber defense email at email@example.com.
Another club president that I spoke with is in charge of the Esports Gaming club in the department. Leonard Lucheck is the new president of the club and he is currently a senior in the computer science department. Previously, Leonard was the competitive coordinator for the club and he encourages everyone to play and to remember to have fun!
Currently, the club is meeting fully online to ensure social distancing is not an issue and everyone can participate. While there are casual gaming nights, the club is focusing more on competitive gaming activities this semester with League of Legends on Wednesdays and CS:GO on Saturdays. Hopefully, in the Spring semester the club can use their gaming center again and they will be placing dividers between each computer, along with enforcing masks and wiping down stations after use. This will be a great place for students to have fun and enjoy each other’s company.
I asked Leonard what he envisions for the club in the future and he hopes that in Spring semester that there will be room open for everyone to come in to play games they want, along with dedicated staff members to allow this to occur. Leonard and the club is also trying to get scholarships for those who qualify for competitive play on various teams, and dedicated coaches for the games.
For further information and those students who are interested, you can contact leonard at firstname.lastname@example.org or email the esports club at email@example.com. For those who actively use discord, you can also join their server at: https://discord.gg/R4PZUP7.
For those who are interested in enhancing their mathematical skills or those who are majoring in Mathematics, the Math Club has many events planned for the upcoming Spring semester. The Lewis University Math Club provides a space for social and professional interaction for those interested in Mathematics.
Dr. Marie Meyer is the professor advisor for the club and she hopes to attend competitions in the following semester. One anticipated event is a calculus competition with other ACCA schools. If you are interested, please contact Dr. Marie Meyer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have an interest in artificial intelligence, then the DataSAIL [Data Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory], is a great club to explore that interest and enhance your knowledge. The DataSAIL club here in the CaMS department engages faculty and students in projects related to interpreting large amounts of textual and visual data. In previous semesters, the group has built a tool that guesses which on-campus building a picture uploaded to a website depicted.
While image recognition is tremendously challenging, it is also an important task which DataSAIL tackled head on last year, with the help of our high-performance compute cluster. This club is led by Dr. Piotr Szczurek, director of our undergraduate and graduate data science programs. You can reach the director by emailing him at email@example.com if you are interested in learning more.
Another club that helps encourage our students to participate in the educational and professional aspect of their field is ACM-W [Association for Computing Machinery Women Chapter]. ACM-W helps play the additional role to encourage women to pursue careers in Computer Science and is dedicated to advancing the art, science, and engineering application of information technology.
ACM-W has the vision to support, celebrate, advocate, and inform. ACM-W wants to promote the visibility of women in computing and acknowledge the challenges faced as well. This chapter also wants to highlight the accomplishments of women within this field and to advocate the importance of understanding diversity in all areas of this field.
At Lewis University, we want to follow this vision of the chapter and to participate in our role as a university. For students who wish to join ACM-W, please go to http://www.acm.org/studentjoin to receive a one year free membership. Please also contact Dr. Cindy Howard at firstname.lastname@example.org to speak about joining the club at Lewis.