An interview with Jason Leigh, faculty advisor to the UH ACM student chapter.

Hi Jason. Can you tell us a little about ACM student chapters in general?

ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) is the premiere membership organization for computing professionals. When I was an undergrad, I was an ACM chapter officer, and of course a member. An ACM student chapter  gives students an opportunity to engage with each other as well as with outside computing professionals in activities beyond the classroom.

What are you planning for the ICS ACM student chapter? What kinds of activities will the students participate in?

This ACM chapter will be different from others in that it invites students outside of the computing profession (such as biologists, artists, electric engineers, astronomers) to work together with computer science students to solve real world problems using computer technology (and have fun doing it). For example teams will be formed to develop applications taking advantage of emerging technologies such as Google Glass or 3D printers. In fact the current ACM officers (Julie Rybarczyk, Blake Vilas, and Alexandra Mink-Flacco) are about to receive an Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) award of $10,000 to buy such equipment for the ACM.

The end result could just be something to answer a research question, or could even be a prototype for a possible commercial product. In any case these projects will definitely enhance a studentʻs resume by showing employers that they arenʻt just good at taking exams but are good at actually solving real problems in a creative way.

If a student wants to get involved, how should they go about it?

Students who want to get involved should contact one of the ACM chapter leads by visiting the ACM Web site. They do not have to be a member of the ACM to join, and they certainly donʻt have to be in computer science. They can also join the ACM Facebook page so they can get announcements on events, which are usually accompanied with food 🙂