Eden Zik

Fall 2015 UDR Recognition Prize Recipient

Eden, a senior and second year UDR for the Computer Science department, has embraced his UDR role to help make computer science more accessible to students as a whole and especially to those who are unsure if this field of study is for them.  He has organized events, including Meet the Majors and TechTalks, which have enabled students to meet faculty, representatives from industry, and each other.

The events that Eden helped organize during the fall semester were:

Meet the Majors event, attended by about 120 students and 90% of the faculty, was an event at the beginning of the year to introduce the faculty to students and the students to each other. This event was specifically marketed to students in the introductory course in order to give them the opportunity to talk with upperclassmen and faculty in a setting outside of a classroom.

The Summer Experience event was a new initiative this year.  Upperclassmen who had a summer internship/research opportunity discussed their experiences with other students in order to share information about the types of things one can do with a computer science degree. Many attendees said the information that was learned during the event helped them narrow down their interests and find internship opportunities in their area of interest. Holding the event prior to the career fair, which occurred two weeks later, was beneficial.

Interview Boot Camp, the second that Eden has held, was targeted to those preparing for job interviews.  It occurred immediately after the career fair. Upperclassmen, Eden included, gave mock interviews to other students. Eden prepared many review questions and went over the answers. He also had students who have been through actual interviews share tips about what they had learned from their own experiences.

Facebook TechTalk @ Brandeis launched a previously non-existent relationship between the computer science department and the Boston office of Facebook Inc. Using contacts he'd made over the summer, Eden had an engineer and a recruiter from Facebook come to Brandeis to give a two-hour talk to students about security at Facebook. This was an informal TechTalk attended by approximately 70. Not only was this an engaging talk, but it convinced the Facebook engineers that the department is a worthy recruiting location and a place they will return to for future TechTalks.

Pre-Registration Lunch is another event which Eden pioneered.  He invited faculty members to talk about courses they will teach the following semester. This was held right before registration, allowing students to find out more about the courses offered and to "put a name to the face". Pizza was an enticing addition to this event. Over 80 people came, which was a very high turnout for an event held at noon.

Yelp TechTalk, an annual technology talk with Yelp Inc., occurred during Yelp’s recruiting sprint.  Eden assisted with logistics and promotion of the event, which was attended by over 50 students.

Server Donation: To further foster Brandeis’ relationship with Yelp Inc., Eden spent many hours, along with the department systems administrator, working with Yelp Inc. to secure a server donation valued at $20,000. The role of these servers is unprecedented as they will allow students to host their projects free of charge, whether it be apps, websites, or other projects. The machines arrived in November, and should be operational by the end of the term.