University of Washington
Computer Science & Engineering

Leadership Seminar Series

CSE 390L, Winter Quarter 2015


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, 2013, and 2014. But it's up to you - you need to make it interactive!

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_wi15 at

The archive of email is available here.

The lineup

Take a look at the lineups from the 2014, 2013, 2012, and 2011 offerings.

Tuesdays, 1:30, CSE 305
Date Room Guest(s) Experience
January 6 CSE 305 Panel of young alums:
    Jennifer Apacible, 2014 UW CSE B.S.
    Mai Dang, 2012 U.W. CSE B.S.
    Clint Tseng, 2010 UW CSE B.S.
    Taylor Williams, 2014 UW CSE B.S.
These alums are still individual contributors - entry-level engineers - at:
    Intentional Software
January 13 CSE 305 Panel of CSE graduate students:
    Nicki Dell (technology for development)
    Greg Nelson (human-computer interaction)
    Jeff Snyder (visualization)
    Irene Zhang (distributed systems)
These CSE graduate students were undergraduates at:
    University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK
    Georgetown Univ. -> Deloitte Consulting -> Abt Associates
    Princeton Univ.
    MIT -> VMware
January 20 CSE 305 Mike Koss
Slides (pdf)
Microsoft (19 years) -> various startups -> Google
January 27 CSE 305 Brian Pinkerton, 1999 UW CSE Ph.D.
Slides (pdf)
NeXT -> WebCrawler -> AOL -> Excite -> A9 -> various startups -> A9
February 3 CSE 305 Brandon Ballinger, 2006 UW CSE B.S.
Slides (pdf)
Google -> Sift Science (co-founder) ->
February 10 CSE 305 Jason Murray, 1996 UW CSE B.S. BSquare -> Amazon (VP, Forecasting & Supply Chain)
February 17 CSE 305 Mohamed El-Zohairy, 2007 UW CSE B.S.
Slides (Haiku Deck)
Technivance -> Polar Mobile -> UBC (graduate school) -> NileTap (co-founder) -> CloudPress (co-founder) -> acquired by News Corp
February 24 CSE 305 Ben Hindman, 2006 UW CSE B.S. UC Berkeley (graduate school) -> Twitter (via Apache Mesos)
March 3 CSE 305 Carolyn Hughes, 2007 UW CSE B.S.
Tim Prouty, 2006 UW CSE B.S.
Slides (pdf) (pptx)
EMC Isilon
March 10 CSE 305 Robert Morton
Kristi Morton
Slides (pdf) (pptx)
National Instruments -> Intel -> Tableau Software
CSE graduate student