Logo: University of Southern California

TechFest 2008

Viterbi Students Meet the Software Engineers Behind the Technology

November 02, 2008 — Microsoft showcased some of its latest products, including MSTV, WEX/Direct X, Windows Networking and Sharepoint, at TechFest 2008, held in the Engineering Quad Oct. 29 for the benefit of Viterbi School engineering students.
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Jamie Dodds passes out raffle prizes during TechFest 2008, held recently for engineering students in the Viterbi School E Quad.  (Image/Claudia Melendez)

The festival was designed to give students an opportunity to meet software engineers who have helped develop these products and ask them about their careers. The festival drew scores of students and interested passersby during the day.

"This is a chance for students to walk around, speak to the representatives and see great technology in small groups," said Jamie Dodds, a Microsoft recruiter for USC.  

She said an event dedicated solely to one company is a much better way to meet Viterbi School students than career fairs, which are held twice a year on campus. The career fairs are popular and usually draw big crowds but do not give companies enough space to display their products or enough time to talk with students one-on-one.  

Dafei Yin, a computer science graduate student who was talking with one of the software development engineers, said he appreciated the opportunity to meet Microsoft engineers in an informal way.  "It really gives us an opportunity to come in contact with the engineers face to face," he said.
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Computer science graduate student Gersh Payzer has been an intern at Microsoft for three summers. (Image/Claudia Melendez)

Gersh Payzer was proud and excited about his participation at Microsoft, where he has worked as an intern for three summers.  He was part of the team that helped develop Windows Azure, MS’s recently launched platform.
"It's been great.  I had offers at Google and Apple and I turned them down,” he said.  “The history of computer science is right now and no other company has the same influence."

Payzer said he was looking forward to returning to Microsoft in August, when he'll be working on the next generation of computers, which will exist only in the Internet.

Mansi Karani, a master's degree student in computer science, appreciated the variety of Microsoft representatives who were present because it gave her a better glimpse into the company’s inner workings. 

"Students in every field can get insights into what goes on in the [development] teams, how they look,” she said.  “This is very helpful."

Hosted by the Viterbi School’s Career Services Office, the event was also an opportunity for students to drop off their resumes and participate in a raffle for a 4GB Zune and other prizes.  Not to mention enjoying a free lunch.