Paul G. Allen School Alumni Career Experience (ACE) Seminar

(formerly the Leadership Seminar Series)

CSE 492L, Winter 2023


Tuesdays, 1:30-2:20, Bill & Melinda Gates Center G10
Instructors: Dan Grossman / Ed Lazowska
A one-credit (CR/NC) seminar series


The Paul G. Allen School Alumni Career Experience (ACE) Seminar, CSE 492L, is a one-credit (CR/NC) seminar series, primarily targeted at upper-division Allen School undergraduates, that brings Allen School alums 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 (2011-2022). 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

Masking is no longer required at UW, but we certainly encourage it. It's especially worthwhile during the first few weeks of the quarter, when folks are returning from holiday travel and social events.

As the quarter unfolds, if you do not feel healthy, or if you believe you may have been exposed, or if you test positive, please stay home! (Send Ed email explaining your absence.) Missing one class session is not the end of the world! Your health, and the health of your classmates, is paramount!

UW's Covid information page is here.

Course email archive

Send email to course members by using the address cse492l_wi23 at

The archive of email is available here.

The lineup

Tuesdays, 1:30, Bill & Melinda Gates Center G10
Date Guest(s) Experience
January 3 Panel of recent alums:
   Shariya Ali, 2020 Computer Science B.S.
   Eunia Lee, 2020 Computer Science B.S.
   Robert Minneker, 2020 Computer Science B.S.,
      2021 Computer Science M.S.
Microsoft -> Apple
January 10 Steve Rutherford, 2013 Computer Science B.S. Google
January 17 Camille Birch, 2018 Computer Science B.S.,
   2018 Bioengineering B.S.
January 24 Dan Kim, 2018 Computer Science B.S.
Slides (pdf)
Bizible -> Marketo -> Adobe (through acquisitions) -> Marble (Co-Founder)
January 31 Erin Peach, 2015 Computer Science B.S.,
   2017 Computer Science M.S.
Slides (pdf)
February 7 Hunter Schafer, 2016 Computer Science B.S.,
   2018 Computer Science M.S.
Slides (pdf)
Paul G. Allen School faculty
February 14 Garrett Sato, 2013 Computer Science B.S.
Slides (pdf)
Amazon Web Services
February 21 Pooja Sethi, 2017 Computer Engineering B.S.,
   2024 Stanford M.S.
Slides (pdf)
Facebook -> Impira -> Meta
February 28 Steven Kwan, 2015 Computer Science B.S. Zillow (+ Technology Access Foundation board member)
March 7 Ian Ma, 2009 Computer Science B.S.,
   2009 Violin Performance B.A.
Slides (pdf)
Eggsprout (Co-Founder) -> Decide (Co-Founder) -> eBay (by acquisition) -> Amazon -> Amazon Web Services -> Tribute -> Stealth Startup