Katie Yurechko ’24, co-authors a paper about TikTok and Algospeak

W&L senior CS major Katie Yurechko ’24 co-authored a paper titled “You Can (Not) Say What you Want: Using Algospeak to Contest and Evade Algorithmic Content Moderation on TikTok,”.  Katie collaborated with Ella Steen, a student at Gordon College, and Daniel Klug, a systems scientist at Carnegie Mellon University.  The paper was recently featured online in “Social Media and Society” published by Sage Journals.

This paper talks about how people who make videos on TikTok are starting to use special language called “algospeak” more and more. They do this to get around rules that they think are unfair about what they can and can’t post.  These video creators frequently come up with new words or change existing ones, or they might use emojis or hand gestures instead of words. They do this to stop TikTok’s algorithm from removing their videos.

Yurechko, who double majors in computer science and philosophy with a minor in poverty and human capability, is dedicated to backing marginalized groups and advocating for diversity within the field of computing.

Here is the link to the Columns article:

 

2024 Game Demo Day

Students in Professor Matthews CSCI 319 Video Game Design class  showcased their final games at the end of winter term.

Game Demo Day took place on Saturday, April 13 from 10:30am – 12:30pm in the Science Center Great Hall.

It was a great turnout as lots of people came and played video games!

2024 PBK Inductions

Phi Beta Kappa (PBK)  was founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary.   Its motto is “Love of learning is the guide of life.” The Gamma of Virginia Chapter was chartered at W&L in 1911.

Washington and Lee University’s PBK chapter welcomed 54 members of the junior and senior classes at the Convocation on Friday, April 5.   The honorees were inducted into Phi Beta Kappa based on their exceptional academic achievements in the arts and sciences.  Following are the computer science initiates from the Class of 2024 and 2025:

2024
Danish Bokhari
Julia Raskin
Will Xue

2025
Sarah Lathrop
Linh Nguyen
Ignas Volcokas
Lydia Yang

Congratulations!

CS major Katie Yurechko – First Marshall Scholar at Washington and Lee!

Katie Yurechko, ’24, a computer science and philosophy double major, was one of 51 Marshall Scholars chosen in 2023.   She is the first Marshall Scholar at W&L!

The Marshall Scholarship program was created in 1953 by an Act of British Parliament as a thank-you to former U.S. Secretary of State General George Marshall and the United States for assistance under the Economic Recovery Act, better known as the Marshall Plan. The scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic merit, leadership potential and ambassadorial potential.

Katie will receive a scholarship that fully funds one to three years of study at UK universities.  She will study at the University of Oxford and University College London.

Click here to read the full story.

https://columns.wlu.edu/wls-katie-yurechko-among-2024-class-of-marshall-scholars/

Congratulations, Katie!

CS’s Capture the Flag (CtF) event

On November 2 , the Computer Science Department held its first ever Capture the Flag event.

Capture the Flag (CtF) in computer security is an exercise in which participants attempt to find text strings, called “flags”, which are secretly hidden in purposefully-vulnerable programs or websites.

From unraveling cryptic codes to identifying vulnerabilities in simulated systems, student teams showcased their skills in ethical hacking and digital defense.  CS’s CtF served to foster a dynamic cybersecurity community on campus.

The success of this initial session set the stage for future exciting and intellectually stimulating CtF competitions!

Professor Tolley explains the rules, while Professor Khan looks on.
Students receive CtF instructions.
Teams focused on their CtF objectives.
Students working to find the “flags”!

2023 CS Halloween Party

The Computer Science Dept. Halloween party took place on Nov. 7.  The party, held at Professor Matthews’ house,  was fun and festive!
Check out these party pics!

outside decorations – spooky!
costume contest winners (L-R). Han Huynh, Beza Mengistu
costume contest winners (L-R). Han Huynh (Little Bo Peep), Beza Mengistu (spider hat!)
Group photo! (l-r). first row: Prof. Sprenkle, Xander, Han, Bianca, Naka, Carolyn, Prof. Matthews second row: Beza, Lakpa, Janeet, Brenda, Prof. Watson, Evan, Billy, Colin and Danish
Colin (or, Ken) and Billy (channeling Ted Lasso), chatting
Mark and Michelle show off their CS-themed costumes.
 
 

 

“Step Away from Your Screen” by CS Major Katie Yurechko ’24

Computer Science Major, Katie Yurechko, ’24,  provides a unique and compelling perspective on the use of social media in her feature “Step Away from Your Screen”.

Since this article was created exclusively for the Alumni Magazine,  it does not yet exist on the W&L website.  A  “go” link has been created that goes directly to Katie’s story via the ISSUU online platform flipbook.

Happy reading!https://go.wlu.edu/stepaway

CS Prof. Liz Matthews’ Advisor awarded National Award from President Biden!

Juan Gilbert, a University of Florida professor and graduate school advisor to Professor Matthews, received the prestigious National Medal of Technology and Innovation from President Biden.

His pioneering designs in election technology aim to make voting more secure and accessible and, ultimately, protect our democracy.

Click on the link to see the details.

https://youtu.be/jWRJHD7nR4g?t=1630

CS major Katie Yurechko – Truman Foundation Finalist

Katie Yurechko, ’24, is a finalist for the Truman Foundation!

Created by Congress in 1975, the Foundation was President Harry S. Truman’s idea. A pragmatic Midwesterner who did not attend college, President Truman did not want a brick-and-mortar monument. Instead, he encouraged a living memorial that would give life to the values of service that encompassed his career.  In that spirit, the Truman Foundation supports Americans answering the call to serve.  The Truman Foundation identifies aspiring leaders at an important inflection point in their development (college) and recognizes and rewards their commitments to careers in public service.

The selection committee appointed 199 students from 133 institutions to interview with the Foundation’s Regional Review Panels between March 2nd and April 4th, 2024.    In 2023, the Truman Foundation received 705 applications from 275 institutions.

Congratulations, Katie!

CSCI 340 – Final Ray Tracer Project

Professor Matthews’ W23 Computer Graphics course completed ray tracer images for their final project.  Ray tracers use reversed light rays and linear algebra to simulate the real world, including mirrored objects and refractive objects.  While pretty, images rendered by a ray tracer take a very long time to finish.  These images took DAYS to complete!

Ray tracer images

CSCI 340 Ray Tracer Projects are on full display at the entrance to the Computer Science Department.