The Computer Science Club (CSC) at Orange Coast College provides a space for students to explore the world of coding in a collaborative and creative environment. Non-coding members also have the opportunity to discover the many aspects of computer science, such as theory, design, application and development. This peer-mentor program implements coding skills to use in and out of class.
“The club was created by our last president, Richie Vu, back in 2020 just before the COVID-19 pandemic in order to create an environment where OCC CS scholars can collaborate, interact and most importantly have fun with each other,” said Mark Nguyen, CSC president.
CSC leadership is split into four different roles: president, vice president, logistics and public relations. Nguyen, being the president, oversees what happens in the club. He also conducts the Zoom meetings and assists club members in whatever they may need. Vice President Ngoc Huynh works Nguyen to create meeting objectives. In addition, he is qualified enough to step in as a substitute president when needed.
Fiona Do, Anthony Montano, Connor Hoang and Zachary Sanchez are all part of the Logistics Department. Organizing and monitoring club events, projects and socials are all part of their everyday duties. Furthermore, they maintain the club spirit and are constantly on the hunt for new events to plan.
The public relations team is run by Simon Ho, Jenny Ly and Alexis Kleinbergs. Creating and managing the CSC’s creative aspects is a crucial role for them. They handle CSC’s Instagram account, advertise upcoming events and meetings, and distribute bi-weekly newsletters via email to all club members.
“We have bi-weekly meetings on Fridays at 12PM with our members to hold events and socials that are related to coding. For instance, over the past few meetings we had multiple guest speakers who have been/are entering the coding industry to talk about their experience being a computer science major and their job offers,” Nguyen said.
CSC accomplishments are to have been recognized by industry workers that have worked at the most popular companies in the world. Guest speakers from Blizzard and Amazon have generously spoken about their educational journey and advice to computer science majors.
There were also zero members in 2020. However, a year later, over 230 members have joined the CSC. Discord has also played a huge role in their success during the COVID-19 pandemic. Discord is an instant messaging and digital distribution platform specifically designed to generate communities among people. With Discord as an asset, CSC was able to take advantage of that platform.
“In times of the pandemic and isolation, our discord server helped grow a community among CS students in OCC to feel welcomed,” Nguyen said. “At first it was difficult getting members to join us as we couldn't have in-person meetings and everything was forced online. A way we fought this problem was to create a Discord server where we invited everyone who was interested in joining a computer science club. On our server, we have dedicated different channels where our members can talk about coding, life, [and] share memes among each other.”
Many members of the CSC have gained insight to their career path, such as club member Kanon Tromp.
“Joining the CS club has truly jump-started my educational and professional journey far more than I would’ve ever imagined. It has helped me get into programs that I never would’ve thought that I could get into, including one with Microsoft and one with CSUMB. I’m very glad to have joined when I did,” Tromp said.
His favorite part of the club is the unity it brings and hopes his journey in the CSC inspires others to join. The relatability members bring into the club provides a safe environment for learning; consequently, friendships are created.
“I’d have to say my favorite part about the club is the accessibility of everyone, whether that be through Zoom in our meetings, through our group chat via Discord, or even through email,” Tromp said. “Everyone is willing to help and share experiences with everyone. There are even some alum that are still active and eager to lend a hand. This club has tons of potential and I hope to run for a position at some point in my OCC lifetime.”
President Mark Nguyen is eager for the future of the CSC. He hopes the in-person meetings will change the stereotypical perspective of how society views coders. With new events on the horizon, the CSC is also accepting new members to join.
“Hopefully, when OCC allows in-person meetings we will change how people look at coders. Instead of being known as ‘nerdy’ and ‘weird,’ we will be looked at as motivated students who have drive and a passion,” Nguyen said.