By Clive Cheong Took
It was the first time that the Department of Computing hosted an alumni gathering on the 16th of May. The event started with a casual chitchat session; many of our alumni students were happy to catch with their previous colleagues and lecturers. Name badges also helped, as most of the attendees took this opportunity to network with other alumni students.
Professor Steve Legg, Visiting Professor at the University of Surrey and IBM University Programs Manager, formally opened the event with a warm welcome to all attendees, and why he thought it was a good location (at IBM in London South Bank) to host such an event, as most alumni students are working in central London. We could not agree more, especially given the fantastic view of the Thames Riverside!
He then invited Computing alumni Caroline Stewart (2010) and Julian Holmes (1993) to share some experience of “Life after Surrey”. Caroline told the audience how her degree not only showed her the ropes in Computing, but also how to see the potential in others in order to have a successful team. As for Julian, he highlighted the importance of teamwork and how he managed to organise and lead the squash club at Surrey without emails, mobile phones or Facebook invites, but by using pigeon holes at the Student’s Union, which he visited a few times a day.
Our current student, Lachlan Munro, was so amazed by Caroline and Julian’s speeches that he forgot his own! Joking aside, Lachlan gave us some insights into “Surrey Computing today”, from his own student perspective. He told the audience how it was still common for students to forsake a night’s sleep to ensure they submitted a good coursework, and how the labs were normally packed with students when the deadline of a coursework was approaching, and that the Penguin and Swan labs were still there, scribbles from past students and all. Professor Tony Ho gave a brief presentation about the current research in our beloved Department and about Surrey University’s aspirations for the future. We are now in the top 8 in the university league list of the Guardian!
Dinner was then served. A buffet of canapés and finger food was available so that each and every one could easily mingle with others. Needless to say that some pictures were taken to capture the moment, wine was at hand to unwind us at the end of a long week, and everybody was having a good time! Our alumni were also encouraged to drop their business cards in a box, as there was going to be a raffle for some Surrey-branded Goodies.
Professor Gloria Benson, who is also a Visiting Professor and our Chair of the Industrial Advisory Board, announced the winners of the raffle and encouraged our Computing alumni to also share their success story with us and to contribute to our Department in any way they like. We are happy that our Computing Alumni appreciated this event and keen to help our Department. For instance, Ruchir Sanghavi said, “I had a great time on Friday, and found the event very useful…If there are any computing events (you mentioned a few in your short presentation), then I would be happy to get involved. It would be a good chance for me to try and inspire the current students.” And Julian Holmes also gave us also a positive feedback amongst a few others: “Thanks again to everyone for organising the event. It was a pleasure to speak. I also look forward to the next event and the possibility to working closer with the Computing department in future. ”
Thanks to all those who made this event successful, especially to Miss Sarah Turnbull, Dr Lilian Tang, and Professor Steve Legg.