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

CSE 492L, Winter 2024


Tuesdays, 1:30-2:20, Bill & Melinda Gates Center G01
Instructor: Ed Lazowska (normally joined by Dan Grossman, but he's on sabbatical this quarter)
A one-credit (CR/NC) seminar


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 (2011-2023). 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 you are welcome to maskt. 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_wi24 at

The archive of email is available here.

The lineup

The current lineup for 2024:

Tuesdays, 1:30, Bill & Melinda Gates Center G01  
Date Guest(s) Experience
January 9 Panel of recent alums:
   Ethan Chau, 2020 Computer Science (Data Science) B.S.,
      2020 Linguistics B.A., 2021 Computer Science M.S.
   Andrea Dang, 2022 Computer Science B.S.
   Pat Kosakanchit, 2020 Computer Engineering B.S.,
      2021 Computer Science M.S.
   Savanna Yee, 2020 Computer Science B.S.,
      2020 Informatics B.S., 2022 Computer Science M.S.
January 16 Nick Anderson, 2017 Computer Science B.S.,
   2018 Computer Science M.S.
Slides (pdf)
January 23 Christina Quan, 2015 Computer Science B.S.
Slides (pdf)
Microsoft -> Niantic -> Square -> Microsoft -> Riot Games
January 30 Han Sarayli, 2020 Computer Science B.S.
Slides (pdf)
Zulily -> Bluecrew
February 6
(Ed away)
Leilani Battle, 2011 Computer Engineering B.S.,
   2013 Computer Science M.S. (MIT),
   2017 Computer Science Ph.D. (MIT)
University of Washington Postdoctoral Scholar -> University of Maryland faculty ->  
   University of Washington faculty
February 13 Armon Dadgar, 2011 Computer Science B.S.
Slides (pdf)
kiip -> HashiCorp (Co-Founder and CTO)
February 20 Natalie Fetsch, 2019 Computer Science B.S. Microsoft -> Amazon; also part-time University of Washington lecturer
February 27 Lia Campbell, 2017 Computer Science B.S.,
   2017 Informatics B.S.
Slides (Google slides)
ExtraHop -> Microsoft -> OctoML
March 5 Erin Earl, 2003 Computer Science B.S., 2003 Music B.A.,
   2003 Piano B.M.,
   Indiana University Jacobs School of Music (no degree),
   Harvard Law School J.D., 2012
Indiana University -> Google -> Harvard Law School ->
   Law Clerk, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ->
   Law Clerk, United States Courts for the Ninth Circuit ->
   Perkins Coie LLP