ICS Day 2014 showcases community

ICS Day 2014

The category is “History of Computing.”

“What was the first feature-length computer-animated film?” asks David Curtis, channeling Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek.

Hunched in front of MacBooks in two of the Kay Family Foundation Innovation Lab’s colorful, ergonomic swivel chairs, computer game science student Pavana Somisetty and his teammate, math major Albert Blattler, type frantically in search of the answer.

If this were Jeopardy!, the response would have to be in the form of a question. But this is ICS Day Jeopardy!

“System dot out dot print Toy Story!” Somisetty shouts, prefacing his answer with the required coding lingo. He’s correct.

The mock Jeopardy! game — developed in part and hosted by ICS Student Council (ICSSC) member Curtis — was just one of several activities at ICSSC’s seventh annual all-day festival, ICS Day. Sponsored by Taco Bell, Barracuda Networks and MSC Software, the event hosted roughly 400 members of the ICS community as they celebrated the end of the school year.

“[ICS Day] displays the unique talents and culture that make up our community,” ICSSC member Delian Petrov said. “[It’s] our day to show the world that we are so much more than meets the eye.”

A fun reprieve from end-of-the-year pressures, the event consisted of two coding competitions, tech-themed games, booths featuring student organizations, dance crew performances, interactive presentations, corporate recruiters, a photo booth and every student’s two favorite words: free food.

Petrov said the photo booth was his personal favorite. “The photo booth allowed people to take goofy pictures with friends while commemorating the spirit the day. It was really successful,” he said.

Upbeat music from artists like Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake filled ICS Plaza, along with crowds of students ambling through activities set up by ICS student organizations. The clubs present included: the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM); the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE); Management Information Student Society (MAISS); Video Game Development Club (VGDC); Design, Art, and Technology Makerspace (DATSpace); and Women in Information and Computer Sciences (WICS).

The WICS table beckoned attendees with a colorful assortment of “Snap Circuits” —educational toys that allow players to build electronics with parts mounted on plastic modules that snap together. Away from the hubbub of ICS Plaza, eight students set out to solve coding conundrums in an ICS classroom for a shot at $50.

Some students flocked to an inflatable jousting ring set up near the stairs of ICS Plaza, while others took turns at the most popular attraction: the dunk tank. Lecturer Shannon Alfaro, ICSSC’s faculty advisor, graciously volunteered to sit in the dunk tank (as she has done for several years). Armed with an orange-and-green Super Soaker, she matched students’ pitches with her own well-placed water shots. ICSSC begins planning ICS Day almost five months in advance. “We plan the budget, the events, the food, the shirts, and then we plan for when what we planned changes 180 degrees,” Petrov said.

With that much to coordinate, it won’t be long before ICSSC begins preparing for next year’s festivities.

— Story by Courtney Hamilton
— Photo by Bobby Farmer