About CS KickStart

CS KickStart is a one-week introductory class to computer science. Students learn how to program, meet computer science students and professionals, and are introduced to different areas of computer science. This program targets incoming UC Berkeley students who are curious about computer science and are interested in math, science or engineering. Students do not need to have any prior skills in programming. Our goal is to give them a hands-on experience in programming and to show them the creativity and power of computer science.


Floraine Berthouzoz

Colleen Lewis

Undergraduate Student Organizers

Sreesha Venkat

Saloni Shah

Amanda Chow

Natasha Shams

Parul Singh

Nisha Agarwal

Jill Barcelona

Amy Shu

Joan Barcelona

  • Jenna Huang
  • Megan Kristovich
  • Tracy Chen
  • Anita Rani
  • Vivian Fang
  • Katelyn Greene
  • Ana Farshi
  • Anais Miller
  • Tamika Bassman
  • Alicia Kim
  • Elaine Zhao
  • Shrishti Jeswani
  • Allyson Koo
  • Jamie Ni
  • Simin Liu
  • Rosemarie De La Melena
  • Jamie Delbick
  • Lauren Stoops
  • Natalia Layson
  • Subhiksha Mani
  • Ivette Flores
  • Judith Syau
  • Melody Valdez
  • Leslie Tsai

  • Faculty Sponsors

    Ruzena Bajcsy

    David Wagner

    Advisory Board Members

    Mike Clancy

    Armando Fox

    Dan Garcia

    Sheila Humphreys

    Susan Graham

    Tsu-Jae King Liu

    Dawn Song

    Claire Tomlin

    Kathy Yelick

    2015 Participants

    Azucena Castro

    Hello, my name is Azucena Castro, and I am from Compton in SoCal. My major is EECS. My experience in programming is limited, but I am excited to find my interests and learn more about the computer science field through CS Kickstart. I enjoy reading, listening to music, meeting new people, and volunteering in my community. I look forward to meeting all of you!

    Joan Zhu

    I was born and raised in the Bay Area and I'm so excited to spend the next four years here at Berkeley! I'm looking into a computer science major, especially for mobile app and web development. Ever since I was little, I've loved to read and write. I enjoy music and I love to hang out and walk around downtown. I can't wait to meet everyone!

    Natalia Layson

    Hi, I'm Natalia and I've lived in the Bay Area my whole life. That doesn't mean I enjoy perpetually staying in one place, though. My love of traveling has placed visiting all the wonders of the world near the top of my bucket list, right under mastering the E chord on the ukulele. I'm always down to try new things, so I'm excited for all the experiences Berkeley has to offer!

    Savannah Longoria

    My name is Savannah Longoria. I am from the central valley and live 30 minutes away from Fresno. For the past 3 years I've worked as a lifeguard and youth camp instructor. Throughout high school I participated in Swimming and Cross Country. I love to hike and be active! I am interested in computer science because I love math and being creative. What I like most about CS is that with CS skills I will have unlimited opportunities in the future.

    Rosemarie De La Melena

    My name is Rosemarie De La Melena! I am from am small city in SoCal. I have a twin sister who is also attending UC Berkeley in the fall, but she will be an MCB major. I got interested in CS by myself, no one I know does anything like it. I've always been interested in computers and how they work, are programmed, etc. I like to paint, apart from that my favorite TV show is Grey's Anatomy and my favorite thing ever is sweet tea!

    Angela Kwon

    Hi! My name is Angela Kwon and I'm from LA. Some of my hobbies include hip hop dance, singing, and listening to music. Although I've always been a SoCal girl, I love the bay area and I'm excited to be at Berkeley this fall as a CS major! Thanks to Girls Who Code, I was inspired to pursue a future in this field. I hope to meet all the other program participants, build enduring bonds, and have an awesome time coding -- which is usually what happens. :D

    Anais Miller

    Hello! I'm from Los Angeles, California and I am interested in majoring in Applied Mathematics, Computer Science, and/or Statistics. I have very little experience in CS, but I am very intrigued by the creativity and possibilities involved. In my free time, I enjoy baking, sewing, shopping, or going to the beach. I also love traveling and exploring new cities by foot. I am looking forward to this program and becoming a Cal Bear!!!

    Jennie Chen

    Hi! I'm from San Jose, California, and I'm going to be in the College of Letters & Sciences this fall as an intended statistics major. I don't have a lot of programming experience, but I'm very excited about having the chance to explore Computer Science through this program! In my free time, I like to listen to music, play the violin, play badminton, and read. I can't wait to meet you all!

    Alicia Kim

    Hello! I'm Alicia, currently residing in San Jose, California - just a hop, skip and a BART ride away from Berkeley. I'm an undecided major in the College of Letters and Science, but recently became interested in Computer Science during my last year of high school. In my freetime, I love hiking with my goldendoodle puppy, baking with and for my friends, and reading books with a warm cup of coffee in hand. Looking forward to meeting you all come this August!

    Jamie Delbick

    Hi! I'm Jamie Delbick and I'm from So Cal. Although I have barely any experience with computer science, I'm super excited to attend the CS KickStart program to explore my interest in the field. I'm undecided about my major at Berkeley, but I'm considering computer science, applied math, and/or cognitive science. In my free time, I like to eat good food, play soccer, go for a run, hike with friends, and listen to music. My favorite foods are bread and cheese and some of my favorite musical groups are Arctic Monkeys, Two Door Cinema Club, and Bright Eyes. I can't wait to meet everyone!

    Irani Mendez Velazquez

    Hi, I am from Los Angeles and I was originally from Mexico. Two things I love food and sleep but I also love taking adventures out in the world. In other words, I can be both really lazy or really active. I was interested in CS because I love using computers and all the little things it is made up of or what it's functions can develop. I also wanted to meet new people. People who may be doing what I will be doing. Programming. Plus I'm taking advantage of the opportunities thrown at me. If life give you lemons, make orange juice and leave the world wondering how you did it.

    Anita Rani

    Hello everyone! My name is Anita and I'm from Pittsburg, California, which is actually less than an hour away from Berkeley. I've always been interested in the tech field, however, I haven't been able to fully pursue my interests due to the limited opportunities that my high school offered. Currently, I'm undeclared in the College of Letters and Science but I am hoping to major in Computer Science. Some of my hobbies include listening to music, watching movies, and visiting new places. I'm really excited to begin my journey as a student at Cal and make the most out of these four years!

    Allyson Koo

    Hi! I'm Allyson Koo, and I'm from San Ramon, CA. I've lived in the Bay Area my whole life, and I'm a third generation Bear so I'm definitely excited to attend Cal! I'm an intended Computer Science major in the College of Letters and Science. Some things about me are that I love to read, I've played piano since I was in kindergarten and flute in school bands since I was in fifth grade (but mostly just for fun – music has never really been my forte), and I'm really good at making terrible puns. Ever since I was a little kid, technology has always fascinated me, and I can't wait to learn more about Computer Science through both CS Kickstart and UC Berkeley!

    Isabelle Townley-Smith

    Hi! I'm from Orange County, California, and I'll be entering the College of Letters and Science this fall as an intended CS major. I actually went to an arts high school, but I want to get involved in CS so I can work on technology integration in education. My hobbies include drawing, reading, playing volleyball, and video games. I have two guinea pigs, and their names are Chester and Percy (they are chubby and needy but adorable). In terms of CS experience, I have only what I've taught myself from codecademy lessons, but I'm looking forward to getting more immersed in coding through CS Kickstart. I can't wait to begin the program! =)

    Rasika Sudharshan

    My name is Rasika Sudharshan and I was born and brought up in Fremont, CA and recently graduated from American High School. For the last 13 years, I have been learning Western Classical piano, Indian classical singing, and Indian classical dance. I am currently a first degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and mixed martial arts. I am interested in pursuing computer science and applying this skill to the field of medicine which has intrigued me since my early childhood. I want to engage in bioinformatics-related research in the field of genetics and genomics which I believe will contribute to many medical advancements in the near future.

    Vivian Fang

    Hi everyone! I come from Mililani, Hawaii, a town that's 2,400 miles away from Berkeley and I'm an EECS major. I've been engrossed in computers ever since the days of Neopets and Windows XP (Microsoft 3D Pinball!!), so I'm thrilled to be able to continue working in this area. I'm really excited about spending some time at college before actually starting the semester. There's so much to explore! In my free time, I like to watch Law & Order (old lady alert), cook, hunt down boba drinks, and go the Internet. I have an unhealthy obsession with potatoes, simply because they are so versatile, starchy, and tasty. I can't wait to meet everyone; I hope you all love potatoes too!

    Jessica Cherny

    Hello Bears! My name is Jessica, and I'm from San Mateo, CA (about 45 minutes away from Berkeley). I plan on majoring in L&S computer science. After taking APCS and fiddling with some code in robotics, I was captivated by what computer science has the capability of doing. Now I want to dive deeper into CS at Cal! Outside of CS, I love to listen to music, volunteer, watch Harry Potter marathons, eat lots of yummy food, go to art/history museums, read articles and books on feminism, explore new places, and binge on Wikipedia! I can't wait to meet all of my fellow CS KickStart sisters and form lasting bonds with them throughout my time at Berkeley and beyond!

    Emma Chiu

    Hi everyone! I'm Emma from Modesto, California, where the majority of the world's almonds are grown. I was born in Taiwan but immigrated to the U.S. when I was six. I'm an incoming EECS major with very little experience in programming! I do know four languages, but none of which are programming languages so I am super excited to be learning all about computer science in CS KickStart! Most of the time, you will find me baking in the kitchen or volunteering in the community. If I'm not doing either of those things, I will be playing tennis, playing board games with my friends, or relaxing with TV shows or a novel. I love getting to know new people so please feel free to talk to me! I cannot wait to meet you guys!

    Megan Kristovich

    Hi! I'm Megan, and I'm from Livermore, California. I am extremely excited to major in EECS at UC Berkeley! I have had some programming experience from classes at school, but I would like to learn more about how computers work and different applications of computer science. I love how computer science can be intertwined with many other fields, as I am passionate about learning almost any subject. During my junior and senior years, I was the president of a robotics club. While in high school, I was also involved in track and field, band, and a few other clubs. My hobbies and interests include reading, playing the piano, solving Sudoku puzzles, and traveling. My favorite destination so far has been Alaska!

    Subhiksha Mani

    Hi! I'm Subhiksha and I'm from a little city in the Bay Area called Hercules. I'm interested in a fusion of biology and CS and because of this, I'm enrolled in the College of Letters and Science so I can explore both fields. Besides a few lessons on Codecademy, I have very minimal programming knowledge. Hopefully entering KickStart will provide me with a network of enthusiastic individuals and a strong foundation in computer science that I can build upon throughout my time at Berkeley. During high school, I was greatly involved in UNICEF, badminton, a service project conducted at my local marsh, tutoring, and journalism. In my spare time, I enjoy singing, traveling, and photography. I'm excited to meet everyone soon!

    Akriti Singh

    Hey everyone! My name is Akriti, and I was born in India but raised in the Bay Area. I'm super excited to be attending Cal in the fall, and I'm hoping to major in Computer Science! I first discovered coding when I was 7 years old on Neopets (don't judge) and rediscovered it when I got a Tumblr and kept redesigning its layout. Over the past few years, I've taken classes in Java, Objective C, and Python, and found that I love how computer science requires you to think both creatively and logically. I'm obsessed with anything with sugar, Photoshop, anything to do with art (from DIYs to drawing portraits to makeup), reading through comments on controversial articles, and everything coffee-flavored. Go Bears!

    Dorrin Akbari

    Hello! My name is Dorrin Akbari, and I moved from Iran to California when I was seven years old.I only speak Farsi at home, so don't be surprised if I accidentally change languages in the middle of a conversation (it's happened more often than I'd like to admit). I became interested in CS after falling in love with the paradise that is the Googleplex at Google's Engineering Week, but I haven't had much experience in the field. I'm still uncertain about what I want to do with my life, so I've recently adopted a "say yes to things (that won't kill me)" policy. So far I've said "yes" to sitting on the ledge of a building to watch the sunset with my friends every night, a spontaneous camping trip, and CS KickStart. I look forward to meeting everyone in the program, and I can't wait to explore Cal together!

    Sona Jeswani

    Hello! My name is Sona Jeswani and I'm from Sacramento, California. I will be a freshman at UC Berkeley this fall and I plan to double major in Computer Science and Economics. Ever since I was little, I have always been fascinated by computers and other technology. I have been an integral part of Solar Car and Robotics teams in high school. I have also been involved in FBLA and varsity Speech and Debate competitions throughout high school. I absolutely love playing table tennis and I enjoy photography. I am a huge fan of the Food Network even though I am not that much of a cook (but hopefully I will be!). As part of my lifestyle, I enjoy going on daily jogs, eating healthy and exploring trails around my community. I am beyond excited to be a part of CS Kickstart and I can't wait to meet you all!

    Anahita Farshi Haghro

    Hey everyone! I was born in Iran but ever since I was a baby I moved from one country to the next. So, I have lived in Iran, Japan, the Netherlands, Germany, and America. As a result of all this moving, learning new languages is one of my hobbies. Since I have forgotten Japanese and German, I am currently trying to re-teach myself those languages as well as learn French and Spanish. Another one of my hobbies is drawing; I love to create portraits of people in graphite and charcoal. Currently, I am working on a portrait of Neymar and one of Messi for my friend. Additionally, I have always had a passion for computers (hence my participation in the CS KickStart program); however, I do not have a lot of experience with programming. So, I am very excited for CS KickStart and very eager to meet everyone!

    Elizabeth Schafle

    Hello! My name is Elizabeth Schafle, and I am from Napa, California, and am entering Berkeley this year as a prospective Computer Science Major. My mother was a software developer in the 80's working at HP, and she told me about her job there when I was a little girl. Ever since then it has been my dream to be a programmer! My experience in Computer Science so far is pretty much limited to what I learned in AP Computer Science this year, which was definitely one of my favorite classes that I have ever taken! Some things that you should know about me are that I am a big fan of Doctor Who, Marvel, and science fiction and fantasy media in general.I am a swimmer and waterpolo player, and my hobbies include hiking, reading, and painting. I am so excited to meet all of you, Go Bears!

    Florence Lau

    Hi! My name's Florence. I've lived in Cerritos, CA for most of my life, but I've also lived in Hong Kong. First, I just want to say how excited I am to be attending Cal! It has been my dream school for three years. My interest in CS started after learning about the amazing inventions people can create all because of CS. Although I have little programming experience, I find CS extremely fascinating and I hope to develop more programming skills through CS Kickstart. My primary interest is in using CS to help people in third world countries. I have no idea how to accomplish this yet, but I believe that CS Kickstart and college will help me figure it out. My dream is to travel the world someday, especially Florence, Italy, because we have the same name and I feel like we have a special connection. I can't wait to meet everyone! Go Bears!

    Lauren Stoops

    Hi! I'm Lauren from Los Altos, California (next to Stanford). I've been a Cal Bears fan since birth, and I plan on majoring in Computer Science in the College of Letters and Science during my time here at UC Berkeley. I don't have a strong background in computer programming, but I love solving problems with logic and creative thinking. I hope to improve my coding knowledge through this program. I also look forward to making friends with other girls interested in CS. Outside of learning, I enjoy playing the violin, backpacking, playing computer games, and participating in philanthropy. I'm a server at California Pizza Kitchen in Stanford Mall and babysit for several families in my town. I'm interested in wide range of movies, tv shows, and music. I look forward to meeting you all! :)

    Tamika Bassman

    Hello! My name is Tamika, and I'm from Alameda, California, which is about half an hour's drive from Berkeley, traffic permitting. I was admitted as an Engineering - Undeclared major and am considering majoring in EECS. I don't have a lot of previous experience with programming or computer science, so this summer I've been exploring a couple different programming languages for fun. With its omnipresence in society today, even a basic understanding of CS seems like a relevant, exciting, and powerful skill to have. In high school, I was a Key Club member, violinist in my school's jazz band, president of my school's Chamber Music Club, and track team captain. Some other fun facts about me are that I am left-handed (but am no Jimi Hendrix - I play right-handed violin) and Wasian (can't go wrong with pho and boba). I'm really excited to meet all my fellow CS Kickstarters!

    Simin Liu

    Hi everyone! I'm Simin and I hail from Albuquerque, NM, home to America's darlings, High School Musical and Breaking Bad. I'm in Engineering Undeclared, but I'm confident that this program will provide me with some clarity about career paths. I got my first taste of CS at MIT's Women's Technology Program, where we had a crash course in Python. In particular, I'm motivated by the challenges of AI; among them is that actions which are intuitive to us require a vast amount of programming for a robot to replicate. It thrills me that programmers often examine things at the most deconstructed level and gain great insight into the world this way. In my spare time, I run for fun, worry about worrying too much, follow my neighbor's cat, read lots, draw, and do community service. My favorite television shows include Modern Family, iZombie, and Dance Moms (no shame). I'm eager for the program to begin and to meet you all!

    Kiva Uhuru

    Hello, world! I'm an EECS major from San Jose, California. I was on the FRC robotics team at my high school for 4 years and I've dabbled in a few coding languages, ranging from Arduino to C# to Javascript. Beyond my studies, I'm working to be a social activist in STEM education; I spoke at the NAPE PDI Conference in Alexandria, VA, and the national PLTWSummit in Indianapolis on inequity in representation in STEM and the media. In the summers I help design programming curriculum to help encourage girls to become empowered and conscientious media developers. I almost always have my guitar with me, it's a old habit I picked up in the 8th grade. My favourite places to play are anywhere around people, and I've been told my sound edges on soulful and alternative rock. My major influences are the Districts, Billie Holiday, Bebel Giberto, Beruit, and Little Dragon.

    Shaili Patel

    Hi, my name is Shaili and I am from Cupertino, California. I was admitted to Berkeley as computer science major. I don't have too much CS knowledge but my interest began last year when I took JAVA at my high school and attended a few local hackathons. I'd like to pursue computer science because it gives you the power to create so many different things that can be applied to any field of work. I like the idea of being able to create anything I want related to my interests. In terms of what I like, I love music and I'll listen to any type -- my music library is full of English, Spanish, Hindi, even some Arabic songs. I like to sing, play the piano, learn languages/word roots, write, play recreational sports, and play games (I'm kinda competitive when it comes to these). I'm really looking forward to CS kickstart and all I'm going to learn!

    Leslie Tsai

    Hello! I'm Leslie. I'm from Sunnyvale, California, but I was born in New Jersey. I'll be in the College of Letters and Sciences in the fall, intending to major in either computer science or cognitive science. I became interested in CS just this past year and have been learning a little programming, but I'm looking forward to learning more about what CS can do. In my free time, I enjoy singing, playing and listening to music, running, reading, and watching horribly addicting reality TV shows. I'm excited to be a part of CS Kickstart this year!

    Cassie Yin

    Hey there! My name is Cassie, an incoming EECS major excited to be a part of the CS Kickstart program. I am the girl who has a curiosity for coding, playing guzheng and Go. I love to travel, seek out new foods, and call myself a real foodie.

    Alejandra Ibarra

    My name is Alejandra Ibarra and I am from Oakland, California. I recently developed my passion for CS by participating in my schools AP CS class and attending various hackathons.

    What are they up to now?

    Here's what some CS Kickstart alumni are doing this summer!

    Linda He


    I've been helping out every summer with the program since then - it's a great opportunity to see the industry and make lasting connections. This summer, I'll be interning at LinkedIn as a software engineering intern.

    Anran Li


    I will be starting in July as a Software Development Engineer at the 343 Industries studio at Microsoft working on the Halo video game!

    Elena Herbold


    I am now studying EECS and Japanese. I spend my free time lab assisting for Berkeley's CS61A class, volunteering at Berkeley Animal Community Services, and tutoring in Berkeley public schools.

    Vivian Nguyen


    Hey! I'm junior studying Computer Science at Berkeley. This summer I'll be interning at a start-up called Virool! CS Kickstart helped me meet one of my closest friends and gave me a lot of opportunities. Meeting the professors and engineers was awesome, it really helped me see the industry side and academia side.

    Amy Tang


    Postgraduation, I'll be traveling to Turkey, Greece, and random bits of South America. I'll start working at Facebook late July.

    Elizabeth Lin


    I will be returning to Khan Academy as a Product Designer. Before starting, I plan to spend my summer exploring Europe's fashion capitals and art museums. CS KickStart helped me understand how computer science can be creative. I also met a large network of valuable women I've become close to over my college career, and I hope to keep in touch with in the future!

    Robyn Zhang


    Hi everyone! I am currently a junior at UC Berkeley declared in Computer Science. CS KickStart was such a great experience for me and over the past couple of years I've really gotten to know the intelligent and inspiring women that have participated in this program. This summer, I am very excited to be at Salesforce as a software engineer intern on the Analytics Cloud team.

    Hannah Huang


    This summer I'm interning at Raytheon. It's hard to believe that two years ago I went through CS Kickstart, struggling through python and seeing UC Berkeley for the first time. CS Kickstart introduced me to the amazing support and teamwork that the Berkeley CS program fosters, and encouraged all of us to provide the same experience for the generation as well.


  • 100% of participants began their freshman year with friends who are also interested in computer science.
  • 99% of participants had a better sense of what computer science is after participating in CS KickStart.
  • 97% of participants would recommend CS KickStart to a friend who doesn't have programming experience.
  • 96% of participants felt more prepared to take their first computer science course at UC Berkeley.
  • 95% of participants agreed that CS KickStart had a positive effect on their motivation to pursue computer science.
  • 95% of participants agreed that CS KickStart had a positive effect on their programming skills.