CDIS Students Network and Learn About AI at Chicago’s Talking Tech Event

This spring, a group of students from the School of Computer, Data & Information Sciences (CDIS) journeyed to Chicago to network with Badger alumni at the Talking Tech event hosted by CDIS and the Wisconsin School of Business.

Students attended a panel discussion where experts discussed artificial intelligence’s impact on the future of work and the evolving role of the tech professional. They also had the opportunity to network with fellow Badgers and tech professionals.

Panelist Jay Laabs (BBA ’98), the founder and chief executive officer of Spaulding Ridge, listens as Aatisha Cyrill (left) asks him a question alongside Shelcia David during the Talking Tech in Chicago event on Thursday, April 21, 2024, at the Microsoft Technology Center in Chicago, IL. (Paul L. Newby, II /UW-Madison Wisconsin School of Business)

“Creating connections and networking opportunities between alumni and students is crucial for bridging the gap between academic learning and real-world application. These interactions not only provide students with valuable industry insights and mentorship but also inspire them to pursue innovative solutions and career paths they might not have considered otherwise,” says Natalie Singer, CDIS Advancement Program Manager.

Thirty students across CDIS disciplines attended the event. MS in Statistics student, Abigail Sikora, was one of the attendees. She chose to attend the event to learn more about current AI practices and gain networking opportunities.

“My key takeaway from the event is that AI augments human intelligence and doesn’t replace it. It is important to learn how to effectively use and implement AI in the workplace,” says Sikora.

After graduating this spring, Sikora joined the Analytics Leadership Development Program at Cigna Healthcare.

Sikora says she would recommend events like Talking Tech in Chicago to other students.

“These events allow students to connect with other like-minded individuals, gain industry insights, and expand their professional network. The knowledge and connections gained can be invaluable for personal and professional growth,” says Sikora.

Brendan Casey, Director of Experiential Learning at the Information School, believes these opportunities allow students to take their learning outside of the classroom.

“Students should be afforded every opportunity to connect general ideas from the classroom to the granular reality of their implementation in industry. Learning how disruption actually affects a business forces students to take a more measured approach as they consider the ‘next big thing’ when it comes along,” says Casey.

Opportunities like Talking Tech in Chicago are generously funded through contributions to the CDIS Annual Fund. During Day of The Badger, UW—Madison’s annual giving event, supporters raised more than $25,000 for events like Talking Tech.

Give to the CDIS Annual Fund.