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Get to know your SEPCs: Computer Science

The+computer+science+SEPC+plans+events+for+computer+science+students.
The computer science SEPC plans events for computer science students.

By Ridhika Agrawal

agrawalr@grinnell.edu

The SEPC for computer science consists of Ajuna Kyaruzi ’17, Michael Owusu ’17, Ying Long ’17, Aleksandar Hrusanov ’18, Lukas Resch ’19 and Maddie Kirwin ’19. The SEPC has many functions ranging from organizing events for students to serving as a medium of communication between the students and the professors.

“Our main duties are hosting study breaks just generally, kind of getting the department together. We gather feedback from students to give to professors about how classes are going. So if students want to say something about the professor, about a class or they have any compliments or complaints they can come and tell us and then we pass it anonymously to the professors,” Kyaruzi said.

Additionally, the SEPC is responsible for faculty reviews when hiring new professors, as the department did recently. They receive training for this role including implicit bias training.

“People from very very large colleges have a different time coming to Grinnell because of how small it is. Our department is very welcoming but also sort of casual. The professor student bond is strong in my opinion,” Kyaruzi said.

The computer science SEPC plans events for computer science students.

The SEPC discusses issues among themselves and communicates with the faculty.

“We meet with our department chair [Samuel Rebelsky] once a week and talk to him about anything we have heard about classes from student. We have a group chat which is always a lot of fun. I like everyone in the SEPC- they are all really cool people,” Kyaruzi said.

Together, they plan a lot of events for computer science students including pub nights and jeopardy nights. They also have a computer science picnic every semester with the math department.

“I remember pub night several years ago and all the professors came and we had questions about the professors on a list. They formed a team and the rest of us kind of answered. For example, one of our professors was in a rock band so we had to guess which of the professors was in a rock band in college- everyone was trying to guess ‘oh my god is it him or is it her? Which professor would have been that cool in college to have been a part of a rock band?’ That was fun and I felt a good connection with the professors in the department,” Kyaruzi said.

There has been significant positive change in the SEPC as a result of the evolution of computer science as a stream of study.

“The department has changed since I have been a part of it. I joined it as a first year and I have been a part of the SEPC for two years. It’s grown a lot because of the interest in computer science growing. We try to get people in the intro level classes interested and excited about computer science and try to make them feel welcome. That to me is the main role of the SEPC so that they know that we are available as a resource to them if they want to talk about anything going on in their classes,” Kyaruzi said.

The SEPC also represents the inclusiveness and diversity that is fundamental to the computer science department.

“We come from different walks of life which is really nice. I feel like we represent a good mixture of people in the department–a couple of us are international students; some are domestic students, while some are students of color. Everyone from different walks of life can feel like they have someone who represents them in the SEPC,” Kyaruzi said.

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