Member of the Month - November 2017: Marvin Cao

Marvin has been a tremendous ACM mentor, read to learn more about him!

John Pham


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Member of the Month for November: Marvin Cao

Marvin Cao The Member of the Month for November goes to Marvin Cao! Marvin has been involved with ACM over the years and has taken a predominate role in ACM's Office Hours which provides peer-to-peer academic help for all students.

Who are you?

I am a junior Computer Science major at UCR. I am interested in artificial intelligence, graphics and parallel computing. I am a Vietnamese Eagle Scout. I like to spend my time either sleeping or watching random videos on the internet (a turtle eating a tomato). I love food in terms of cooking and eating.

What got you interested in computer science?

I got interested in computer science when I took a course in high school and it was one of the few classes where we made our own unique projects.

What made you want to be an ACM mentor?

I wanted to be an ACM mentor since I did not have one and I feel a mentor can be a good resource for their mentee.

What's the best advice you have received?

“You tend to be more productive when working with others.” because I don’t want to let others down, as opposed to personal work.

What's next?

Short term: I am looking for an internship for this upcoming summer. Long term: I am still unsure of what industry or jobs I want to pursue.

Member of the Month - October 2017: Jerry Jiang

Jerry is being recognized for his participating in UCR's ICPC team

John Pham

Starting now, ACM will be moving away from the Summer Member Spotlights to Member of the Month. This program is meant to recognize the achievements of our peers to inform and inspire others.

Our inaugural post goes to Jerry Jiang.

Who are you?

ACM ICPC My name is Jerry Jiang, I’m a 3rd year CS major and I’m an incoming Software Development Intern at Amazon Japan next summer. I’m the vice president and one of the founders of cyber@UCR (come to our meetings!). As you might have guessed from my internship choice, my limited free time is usually spent on anime, visual novels, and games.

What got you interested in ICPC?

ICPC Bootcamp I always enjoyed competing in things (previously was on our WRCCDC team) and I love programming. I felt like ICPC would be a really great combination of two things I really enjoyed, so here I am.

How was your trip to Barcelona?

It was fun but also surprisingly exhausting. Barcelona is a great city and my experience with the culture and the locals was great. I did not, however, get a carefree 2 week vacation - I spent every day except for one break day on 12-14 hour long bootcamp sessions. The day composed typically of taking the metro to the bootcamp, a full 5 hour competition, lunch, analysis, lectures and keynotes.

The bootcamp practice competitions were extremely brutal, as I would often find myself in the same pool of contestants as some former ICPC world final medalists. You definitely know which days were brutal when you’re 4 hours into the practice competition, 1/3rd of the competitors have not solved a single problem and those very top teams have barely solved half of the questions.

Lectures ranged from string processing algorithms by the founder of Codeforces (HackerRank but competitively ranked and VERY hard) to competitive programming specific data structures by coaches of multiple gold medal teams. It was a very unique educational experience that I wouldn’t have come across normally and provided me with valuable insight.

If anyone has been following the news, I also happened to be at Barcelona when Catalonia was voting to secede from Spain, so that was interesting. I did not expect to be in the middle of a possible political revolution, but I was too exhausted to care about the outside events most of the days. It didn’t seem quite real that hundreds were being injured in the square outside of my hostel room. It also didn’t seem quite real that humans were capable of solving some of those problems in a 5 hour span, so that was more immediately shocking.

What advice would you give to someone interested in ICPC?

Begin practicing now - a lot of teams practice for this competition year-round, as it really is the ultimate CS test. Anything in your classes (sets, maps, A* search, balanced binary trees, MSTs, nim games, recurrence relations, probability, turing machines, computational geometry, dynamic programming, traveling salesman, fermat's, lagrange multipliers and more) is fair game, and if you can do well in this competition you can probably do well anywhere. There are plenty of resources out there and a lot of opportunities to get practice, so please reach out to me and I can help get you started.

I would also like to say the most important thing in competitive programming is to put in the practice and not give up. It’s very easy to be intimidated and even more easy to feel like a complete idiot on these difficult problems, so the important part is to never stop trying to improve.

What's next?

Future I plan to hopefully support growth of competitive programming interest at UCR for ICPC, Code Jam and other well known programming competitions. It’s critical that we maintain a pool of interested contestants that will practice regularly to place well in these competitions. This can also be beneficial to students that want some solid interview practice that makes the average interview question look like 1+1. I want to help make UCR more relevant and help our school gain more notice in the world of computer science through these competitions.

For my career and academic goals, I plan to finish my bachelors and start making $$$. I hope Amazon Japan will be a great step towards that.


Check out what Karen Kong did over the summer at Facebook!

John Pham

Summer Member Spotlight 11

Our eleventh Summer Member Spotlight highlights Karen Kong at Facebook! This will be the last of our weekly Summer Member Spotlight but don't worry! We will be continuing highlighting the awesome things ACM members do on a monthly basis. If you've been up to some crazy things and want to share, get it touch with us!

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Interested in being featured? Reach out to us!

About Karen

Karen at Facebook

Hey folks! I’m Karen, a rising junior majoring in Computer Science at UCR. I am so incredibly grateful for my Facebook University software engineering internship this summer at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park.

What's the intern program like?

Facebook University is an immersive program for rising sophomores and juniors from underrepresented communities in engineering, business, and analytics. The first three weeks consisted of Codepath training in mobile development. During the last five weeks, we worked on teams of three to develop a mobile application from scratch. My team created an anonymous messaging app that helps Facebook friends with opposing viewpoints find common ground through conversations around topics.

What did you like about Facebook?

Everyone at Facebook has been very friendly and supportive. There hasn’t been a morning when less than two people have wished me a good morning before I even get to my desk. The software engineers are extremely intelligent and open to answering any questions. Our awesome manager oriented us in the right direction when we created new features and gave us plenty of constructive feedback. The office has an open floor plan to encourage collaboration, which means desks are placed in groups across the floor instead of inside individual cubicles. My team’s desks were right next to each other, which made discussing design decisions and debugging together effortless.

Facebook Locations

And there’s a plethora of photo opportunities.


The executives regularly host talks and Q&As. It was really inspiring and motivating to hear in person from Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, Brian Acton, and Ari Grant among others. The recruiting team also coordinated fun events nearly every week for the interns, including a field day, summer festival, and Giant’s game.

As you can probably tell by now from this glowing review, this summer at Facebook, with the people, activities, and fast-paced work environment, has been the most amazing experience and I honestly wouldn’t trade it for anything.

If you’re interested in Facebook, the first step is to build up your resume. Differentiate yourself from the rest of your class. Get some work experience. Create some personal projects. Add these to your resume, highlighting the impacts you made. Ask for feedback from professionals and recruiters and use it to improve your resume. Then, go for it and apply.

Check out the Facebook events on our campus during the school year to gain perspective on the company and reach out to the cool people that work there.


Check out what Gustavo Correa has been up to this summer at UCR's Aspin Lab

John Pham

Summer Member Spotlight 10

Our tenth Summer Member Spotlight highlights Gustavo Correa at UC Riverside's Aspen Lab.

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Interested in being featured? Reach out to us!

About Gustavo


What’s happening friends! My name is Gustavo Correa and I’m going into my third year at UCR for Computer Engineering. I got my internship with the help of a friend who is also working at the lab. He referred me to Professor Kassas who leads the lab, and after a couple meetings with the Professor and graduate students I landed the job!

What does Aspin Lab do?


ASPIN is short for the Autonomous Systems Perception, Intelligence, & Navigation Laboratory. The lab’s research that intrigues me the most would be the one answering this question: “What information is already available in the surrounding environment, and how can it be exploited for positioning, navigation, and timing?” The ASPIN lab is researching into using other signals of opportunity such as “audio (e.g., AM, FM), television (e.g., HDTV), cellular (e.g., CDMA, GSM, LTE), and satellite communication (e.g., Iridium)” for real time positioning and navigation. The research has lead to the development of MATRIX, which is a software defined radio designed to listen to the environment for these signals and process the signal to achieve a navigation solution.

About the Internship

Aspin 2

This internship is by far the best opportunity I’ve had since I started school here at UCR. The ASPIN lab has provided the perfect avenue to learn and apply what I’ve been wanting to learn in art and engineering. I’ve been able to learn a ton of skills in graphic design, general programing, app development, and website development since I started working here. On the larger scale I have learned so much about the graduate student’s work and its importance in the area of navigation. It’s a great opportunity to be part of the team researching the theory and developing the technology that will have a huge impact in the world.

The Importance of hackathons

The Team

What has prepared me the most for my success in this lab would be going to hackathons, hackathons, and more hackathons! It’s amazing to see how everything that I learned at each hackathon has been applicable in all the projects that I’m currently working on in the lab. I would definitely recommend hackathons to anyone anyday. You’ll never know when you’ll need those fast arduino prototyping, mobile app and web development skills. When the day comes that you do, you won’t regret those many 36 hour hackathons where you had at most 2 hours of sleep, only ate Subway, and drank energy drinks all day long.


Zach's been interning at one of the hottest startups in Silicon Valley. Check out what he's been up to this summer.

John Pham

Summer Member Spotlight 9

Our ninth Summer Member Spotlight highlights Zach Zimmerman at Google.

.Tech Domains .Tech Domains is sponsoring ACM's Summer Member Spotlights! Checkout .Tech Domains if you're looking for a .Tech URL for your personal projects. Use the promocode ACMUCR to get your domain starting at $0.99!

Checkout our previous Summer Member Spotlights:

Interested in being featured? Reach out to us!

About Zach

Zach with the O Hi everyone! I’m Zach and I’ll be serving as the graduate student advisor for ACM in 2017-2018. I am a computer science PhD student and am going into my third year of the program here under my advisors Dr. Brisk and Dr. Keogh. At UCR, my research focus is on high performance computing and how we can utilize different sources of acceleration (GPUs, FPGAs, TPUs, etc.) to accelerate data mining and machine learning tasks. In particular, I am interested in time series data; examples of this are EEG and seismology readings. If you have interest in any of these topics, want project ideas, or want some feedback on resumes feel free to send me an email and I’ll respond as I have time.

The Google Internship

Zach at Moffet Place This summer, I am working as an intern at Google. In particular, I work on Google Cloud in the tech infrastructure team. My project involves improving the way Google runs applications in the cloud; improving the performance and security of these systems. My project is interesting, but what is even more interesting are the people. Everyone here is really smart and you learn a ton just by being around them. Many I am truly impressed by Google, both in how the company is run and the amazing things that get built here. I had high expectations coming into my internship and Google exceeded them. I highly recommend you apply now if you are interested in an internship next Summer.

Interviewing with Google

The interview process for Google can be tough, I actually interviewed 3 times for an internship with them before I got the job. As a graduate student, even if you pass the technical interviews there is no guarantee that you will find a team to work with; that is what happened to me last year. However, with lots of practice and some core classes under your belt, you should have the skills you need to pass the interviews. From there it is just practice, there are tons of places you can practice interview questions, I recommend trying, which is what I used to practice. ACM also runs mock interviews, contact Henry Doan for details.

Word of Advice

Finally, one message I want to give the undergrads that are reading this is to really get involved in what you do, whether it be the your school or outside activities. Really take the time in your classes and projects to understand what you are doing, rather than rushing through it just to get it done, you’ll be surprised how things become extremely relevant at the strangest times. Just try to give an effort to everything you do and be persistent, opportunities will fall into your lap if you do. In the end, the most important thing is to enjoy what you do, it is the best way to stay motivated. Find that thing that makes you excited about tech and roll with it!