Student Opportunities

Upcoming Hackathons and Conferences!

Hackusama: Use Substrate to build/update a blockchain, or build/update any project in the Open Hack for the Kusama ecosystem. Available prizes total $30,000. Deadline is August 14. Details and registration:

Wells Fargo 2020 Campus Analytics Challenge: Students can compete individually or as a team to create a machine learning model using provided data sets. Challenge opens on July 6 at 11am Central, and the deadline to submit is August 17 at 11am Central. Cash prizes are available. Learn more and participate.

AWS Data Exchange Challenge: Build (or update) a data-driven solution that tells a story using one of the challenge’s categories—data visualization, data analysis, and machine learning—and at least one third-party data product from AWS Data Exchange providers. More than $35,000 in prizes available. Deadline is August 24. Details and registration:

PyTorch Summer Hackathon: Build projects using PyTorch in one of the three categories: PyTorch developer tools, web/mobile applications powered by PyTorch, or PyTorch responsible AI development tools. More than $25,000 in prizes available. Deadline is August 25. Details and registration:

U.S. Department of Energy CyberForce Competition: Participants work to solve cybersecurity challenges related to energy. Details and registration at Application deadline is October 2. Students will be notified by October 9 whether they have been accepted to the competition, and if they choose to take part, participation materials will be delivered on November 2.

Why do hackathons?

participants in Google Tech Challenge

We strongly encourage UIC CS students to sign up for hackathon competitions. Here are some reasons why:

  • Meeting new people. Not just potential employers—who might watch a hackathon for potential new hires—but also fellow students.
  • Developing your résumé. Hackathons let you showcase the skills you’ve developed in class and build some new ones.
  • Enhancing your job interviews. Hackathons make you a more interesting interviewee. You can talk about how you approached a problem, the solutions you considered, and which skills you brought to the table.
  • Winning! (Of course.)

Research Experiences for Undergraduates

student attending an REU at another university

Research experiences for undergraduates—called REUs for short—offer undergraduate students the opportunity to complete career-building research projects over the summer. REUs are competitive (with students chosen for the research positions by application) and often are held at universities other than your home institution. They are sponsored with funding from the National Science Foundation and typically come with a stipend that you can use to cover living expenses and other costs.

REUs make excellent résumé entries and offer valuable hands-on experience that you can talk about in job interviews. If you have your eye on a master’s degree or PhD after graduation, REUs provide a head start on building your research experience and could give you insight on what you might like to pursue in graduate school.

Think of REUs as a great way to get research experience while trying out living in a different place.