University of Washington
Computer Science & Engineering

Leadership Seminar Series

CSE 390L, Winter Quarter 2014


Tuesdays, 1:30-2:20, CSE 305 (refreshments and further discussion, 2:20-2:45)
Instructors: Ed Lazowska / Hank Levy
A one-credit (CR/NC) seminar series


The UW CSE Leadership Seminar Series, CSE 390L, is a one-credit (CR/NC) seminar series, primarily targeted at upper-division CSE undergraduates, that brings CSE alumni and friends to campus to describe how to be effective in a startup, small company, large company, or less common environment. Our guests will discuss topics such as:

  • How do you position yourself to work on interesting projects?
  • In a large company, what strategies can make you influential, vs. a cog in a wheel?
  • What is life like in a startup?
  • If your goal is to start and grow your own company, where do you begin?
  • What are the pros and cons of less common career options, such as teaching high school computer science?
  • What do you need to know in order to succeed, that you don't learn in your classes or during an internship?
  • Why might you choose graduate school vs. tech industry employment after graduation?
These should be great, informative, interactive sessions. This seminar was very well received during the offerings in 2011, 2012, and 2013.

Course requirements

Regular attendance, active participation. Please read up on the individual and his/her employer(s) in advance of each course session.

Course email archive

Send email to course members by using the address cse390l_wi14 at

The archive of email is available here.

The lineup

Take a look at the lineups from the 2013, 2012, 2011 offerings.

Tuesdays, 1:30, CSE 305
Date Room Guest(s) Experience
January 7 CSE 305 Panel of young alums:
    Jenny Abrahamson, 2013 UW CSE B.S./M.S.
    Steph Dietzel, 2013 U.W. CSE B.S./M.S.
    Jenny Sloan, 2013 UW CSE B.S. (also B.S. in
These alums are still individual contributors - entry-level engineers - at:
    Tableau Software
    VoiceBox Technologies
January 14 CSE 305 Sabra Rossman, 1997 UW Math B.S., 2001 UW
    CSE M.S.
Slides: pptx, pdf
Duet Technology -> Intel -> Cadence Design Systems
January 21 CSE 305 Panel of CSE graduate students:
    Lilian deGreef (ubiquitous computing)
    Greg Nelson (human-computer interaction)
    Jeff Snyder (visualization)
    Irene Zhang (distributed systems)
Undergraduate at:
    Harvey Mudd College
    Georgetown Univ. -> Deloitte Consulting -> Abt Associates
    Princeton Univ.
    MIT -> VMware
January 28 CSE 305 Lisa Boucher, 1999 UW CSE B.S.
Notes from her talk
2Way Corp. ->
February 4 CSE 305 Anthony Wu, 2005 UW CSE B.S.
Three blog posts written after class
Varolii -> Google -> YouTube -> LearnSprout (co-founder)
February 11 CSE 305 Chris Scofield, 1979 UW Physics B.S.,
    1984 Brown U. Physics Ph.D.
Slides: pdf
Nestor, Inc. -> -> INRIX, Inc.
February 18 CSE 305 Christophe Bisciglia, 2003 UW CSE B.S. Google -> Cloudera (co-founder) -> WibiData (co-founder & CEO)
February 25 CSE 305 Jason Tan, 2006 UW CSE B.S.
Yaw Anokwa, 2012 UW CSE Ph.D.
Zillow -> Optify -> BuzzLabs (CTO) -> Sift Science (co-founder and CEO)
Nafundi (co-founder and CEO)
March 4 CSE 305 Edward Balassanian, 1989 UW CSE B.S. Microsoft -> BeComm -> Be Labs -> Vital Juice
March 11 CSE 305 Brian Ma, 2005 UW CSE B.S. (also EE)
Slides: pdf
Microsoft -> Zillow -> Real Property Associates -> Eggsprout (co-founder) -> (co-founder) -> angel investor -> Weave