CS Tea is a weekly department event where students and faculty gather to discuss computer science related topics. Tea, cookies, and (usually) pizza are served. Below is a list of the special events planned for the Spring 2021 semester! New attendees are always welcome! 

Normally all CS Tea events take place at 11:30am in Ford 202. It's when we have weekly social chats and special events. However due to corona virus we will be hosting the social chats over Zoom. 

Interested in presenting at CS Tea? Please check out our schedule for this semester and contact our department head Fritz Ruehr at fruehr@willamette.edu.

Spring 2021

February 4th

11:30am - 12:30pm
Building Adaptive Educational Technologies using Reinforcement Learning

Online educational technologies provide opportunities to monitor what works for learners and modify instruction based on that monitoring. This provides rich opportunities to learn about what types of support are most helpful and to use that information to benefit future learners. In some of my recent work, my collaborators and I have used reinforcement learning to modify what version of an educational technology is provided to learners in real time. I'll highlight two deployments of this technology, one focused on incorporating learners' own explanations to benefit future learners and another focused on enabling instructors to use the adaptive system in their classes. However, adaptation also brings additional challenges, both in making generalizable conclusions from the collected data and in ensuring that the system is fair to all learners. I'll touch on some of these challenges and our initial approaches to addressing them.

Dr. Anna Rafferty earned her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and is currently an associate professor of computer science at Carleton College. Her work addresses questions at the intersection of machine learning, computational cognitive science, and education. Her undergraduate degrees were in symbolic systems and feminist studies, and as a computer science researcher, she has appreciated being able to work across disciplinary boundaries and the potential to have a direct positive impact when partnering with teachers and educational researchers.

February 11th

11:30am - 12:30pm
Megan McKissack, Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA), on Make-Think-Code

Make+Think+Code is “a technology-focused research studio, institute, creative incubator, and lab that brings together members of Portland’s vibrant creative, tech, civic, and educational communities to explore the powerful role that creativity and technology play in the search for imaginative and impactful solutions to complex and urgent problems” located at the Pacific Northwest College of Art. In this CS Tea talk, Make+Think+Code director Megan McKissack will offer a virtual tour of the center and highlight its creative possibilities.

Megan McKissack is the Program Coordinator of the Make+Think+Code lab at the Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA). She describes herself as “a live video and installation artist, creative coder, and a lover of data visualization.

February 18th

11:30am - 12:30pm
Saniya Lakka, Nike, “From Nike Internship to Full-Time Job with Data Science"

I received my Bachelor's Degree from Willamette University in Computer Science with a minor in Math and Art. Many of the classes I took at Willamette were oriented to the Data Science field, so I have continued to learn and grow as a Data Scientist at my job at Nike. Even though I came in as a Data Scientist, I have also had the opportunity to combine Data Science with web development, as well as working with AWS platforms and Airflow services. I am looking forward to continuing to grow my knowledge in Data Science and Software Engineering.

February 25th

11:30am - 12:30pm
Professor Lilly Irani, UC San Diego, "Towards Democracy for our Digital Infrastructure"

Digital infrastructures undergird our social relationships interpersonally, in our organizations and workplaces, and in the public sphere. Yet we have few mechanisms for democratic control over the systems as we learn of their possibilities, their shortcomings, their benefits, and their harms. In this conversation, I will briefly discuss three projects in which workers and community members sought more democratic control over technology: Google Maven protests, San Diego’s TRUST coalition, and Turkopticon. I then open it up to discussion about what capacities, organizing practices, and socio-technical imaginations we need to move towards democratic control.


Lilly Irani is an Associate Professor of Communication & Science Studies at University of California, San Diego. She also serves as faculty in the Design Lab, Institute for Practical Ethics, the program in Critical Gender Studies, and sits on the Academic Advisory Board of AI Now (NYU). She is author of Chasing Innovation: Making Entrepreneurial Citizens in Modern India (Princeton University Press, 2019). Chasing Innovation has been awarded the 2020 International Communication Association Outstanding Book Award and the 2019 Diana Forsythe Prize for feminist anthropological research on work, science, or technology, including biomedicine. Her research examines the cultural politics of high-tech work and the counter-practices they generate, as both an ethnographer, a designer, and a former technology worker. She is a co-founder and maintainer of digital labor activism tool Turkopticon. Her work has appeared at ACM SIGCHI, New Media & Society, Science, Technology & Human Values, South Atlantic Quarterly, and other venues. She sits on the Editorial Committee of Public Culture and on the Editorial Advisory Boards of New Technology, Work, and Employment and Design and Culture. She has a Ph.D. in Informatics from University of California, Irvine.

March 4th

11:30am - 12:30pm
Anna Neshyba (Willamette '18): Early Career and Advocating for Yourself: Navigating the Exploitative World of Technology as a Woman

As I close out my third year in industry, I reflect on the practices technology companies use to exploit and diminish their employees, particularly women. I will share the techniques that I used to protect myself, and to remain self-assured. I will talk about promoting yourself when you are getting the job, and after you have it. I hope that those who attend my talk will feel more prepared in entering the world of technology, and willing to use all of the power they have to situate themselves at every stage of their career.

March 11th

11:30am - 12:30pm
Daniel Smith (Willamette ’21) Internship Experience at Nike and Full time job interview with Amazon

Daniel discusses his personal experiences of interning with the WITS web development team and the Nike supply chain business planning team. He will also discuss his experiences doing interviews for companies such as Nordstrom, Boeing, and Amazon, and give a couple of tips on preparing for these interviews.

March 18th

11:30am - 12:30pm
Clara Shih's Sabbatical Reflections (CEO, Salesforce Service Cloud)

Clara Shih will outline her journey from her studies at Stanford University through the many different positions she has held in Silicon Valley. She will also discuss her decision last year to take a sabbatical from the 24/7 world of an entrepreneur to focus on the role of computer science in creating a better world, as described in the sabbatical reflections she posted earlier this year.

Clara Shih is CEO of Salesforce Service Cloud, the world’s #1 customer service, digital service, and field service solution that powers 360-degree customer experience conversations for over 150,000 enterprise organizations around the world. A digital pioneer, Clara has been named one of Fortune’s “40 under 40” and “Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs,” Fast Company’s “Most Influential People in Technology,” and a “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum. Clara is a member of the Starbucks board of directors and serves as Executive Chair of Hearsay Systems, a privately held digital software firm she founded in 2009. She was first in her graduation class in computer science at Stanford University, where she also received an M.S. in computer science. She also holds an M.S. in internet studies from Oxford University, where she studied as a U.S. Marshall Scholar.

March 25th

11:30am - 12:30pm
Spring Break

April 1st

11:30am - 12:30pm
Fall classes, registration information, new faculty, and Discord lounge

April 8th

11:30am - 12:30pm
Dr. Joanna Goode: Expanding K-12 Computing Education

Dr. Goode will share her thoughts about the state of K-12 computer science education in terms of curriculum, teacher preparation, and statewide policies that support computing in classrooms. She will focus the discussion on research-based efforts that have demonstrated success in addressing access, diversity, and inclusion issues for students from groups who have been historically excluded from computing education.

April 15th

11:30am - 12:30pm

April 22nd

11:30am - 12:30pm
Mark Guzdial and Barbara Ericson's Media Computation curriculum

April 29th

11:30am - 12:30pm
Willamette University

Computer Science

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Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.
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