Paul G. Allen School Leadership Seminar Series

CSE 492L, Winter 2022


Tuesdays, 1:30-2:20, Bill & Melinda Gates Center G10 except the month of January which will be on Zoom
Instructors: Dan Grossman / Ed Lazowska
A one-credit (CR/NC) seminar series


The Paul G. Allen School Leadership Seminar Series, CSE 492L, 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:

  • What do you need to know in order to succeed, that you don't learn in your classes or during an internship?
  • 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?
  • Why might you choose graduate school vs. tech industry employment after graduation?

Think of these presentations as "postcards from your future" - what did these alums learn in their first few years after graduation that they wish someone had told them beforehand?

These should be great, informative, interactive sessions. This seminar has been very well received during its past offerings (2011-2021). But it's up to you - you need to make it interactive!

Course requirements

Regular attendance (attendance will be taken periodically), active participation.

Please read up on the individual and his/her employer(s) in advance of each course session, and come prepared to interact and ask questions.

Come to class prepared to take advantage of the knowledge and experience of these alums.


You should expect and demand to be treated by your classmates and the course staff with respect. You belong here, and we are here to help you learn and enjoy this seminar. If any incident occurs that challenges this commitment to a supportive and inclusive environment, please let the instructors know so that the issue can be addressed. We are personally committed to this, and subscribe to the Allen School Inclusiveness Statement.


We welcome your feedback! Should you have issues or concerns that you are not comfortable raising directly with the course staff, there are a number of mechanisms available to you. They're listed here.

Covid Protocol

The first class session will be on Zoom. You will be emailed the Zoom link. Please:

  • Camera on
  • Microphone off
  • Ask questions via chat

We expect subsequent sessions to be in person. All students, faculty, and guests will be vaccinated, masked, and healthy.

Please! If you do not feel healthy, or if you believe you may have been exposed, or if you test positive, stay home! (Send Ed email explaining your absence.) Let's keep each other healthy!

UW Covid policy does not allow eating in classrooms. Hydration is important - we are allowed to lower our masks briefly to sip hydrating liquids. That's it, though. Additional detail is available here.

This is an in-person interactive seminar. If there are a significant number of health-related absences (after UW returns to in-person instruction) we will likely stream it. We won't record it - this is essential in order that our guests feel they can speak freely (about, for example, a negative work experience).

Missing a class session is not the end of the world! If you have health issues, inform us and stay home! Your health, and the health of your classmates, is paramount!

Course email archive

Send email to course members by using the address cse492l_wi22 at

The archive of email is available here.

The lineup

Tuesdays, 1:30, Bill & Melinda Gates Center G10
Date Guest(s) Experience
January 4 Recent alums:
   Andrew Luo, 2019 Computer Science B.S.,
       2019 Bioengineering B.S.
   Alison Ng, 2019 Computer Engineering B.S.
   Hannah Werbel, 2019 Computer Science B.S. -> Apple -> OctoML
Microsoft -> Twitch
January 11 Melissa Winstanley, 2012 Computer Science B.S.,
   2013 Computer Science M.S.
Facebook -> Convoy
January 18 Solai Ramanathan, 2014 Chemical Engineering B.S.,
   2015 Computer Science B.S.
January 25 Amin Shaykho, 2018 Computer Science B.S. Apple -> Kadama (Co-Founder and CEO)
February 1 Pascale Patterson, 2017 Computer Science B.S.
Slides pdf
Verily Life Sciences
February 8 Hakim Weatherspoon, 1999 Computer Engineering B.S.,
   2006 UC Berkeley Computer Science Ph.D.
Slides pdf pptx
Professor of Computer Science, Cornell University, and
   Exotanium Inc. (Co-Founder and CEO)
February 15 Colin Miller, 2015 Computer Science B.S.
Slides pdf
Whitepages -> Zillow
February 22 Saloni Parikh, 2015 Computer Science B.S.,
   2015 Public Health B.S.
Slides pdf
DF/Net Research -> PicoBrew -> Providence St. Joseph
   Health -> Change Healthcare
March 1 Michael Petrochuk, 2017 Computer Science B.S.
Slides pdf -> AI2 -> WellSaid Labs (Founder and CTO)
March 8 Mid-career alum:
   Jeremy Claeson, 2003 Computer Science B.S.;
   2009 Gonzaga University MBA
   Slides pdf

  Ford Motor Company -> Mazda North America -> Amazon ->
   Microsoft -> -> Amazon -> Shopify