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    Nordic game tested the skills of high school students

    This year's Meet FI! weekend has come to an end, attracting three dozen of computer enthusiasts from secondary schools.

    The organisers from the Friends of Nordic Wildlife Society run the programme annually. This year again, they had an adventurous program full of lectures, workshops and games up their sleeve. There was also an opportunity for getting to know Brno and networking with our students. The event was traditionally supported by the home Faculty of Informatics of Masaryk University (FI MU) and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports with a subsidy to support talented students at FI MU.

    The goal of Meet FI! is already revealed by the motto of the event: 'Try out how to (not) study at FI'. Over three days from 16-18 February 2024, students experienced a taste of university life through expert lectures and workshops from faculty research groups. They thus got a glimpse into the nooks and crannies of computer science and the topics they will pursue during their studies. They were also treated to unconventional computer games, during which they got to know the faculty from a different perspective. At the same time, they got to know our students and teachers.

    What does a typical day of an event participant look like? At FI, we have breakfast, lunch and dinner. The morning and afternoon are then filled with alternating professional programs, logic games or cipher games. Friday and Saturday include an evening programme and networking, after which the Brno participants go home and the others take advantage of the accommodation provided.

    Specifically, this year, the high school students got to experience what the practical course exercises look like (Fundamentals of Programming, Non-Imperative Programming, Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science) and listen to a lecture on network routing. The workshops then offered topics such as using AI for image analysis, using git and GitHub, digital circuits, writing quality code, and using AI for data recognition. The adventure program offered a tour of the FI building, networking with students, and several games in which participants had to think algorithmically and collaborate with each other. They also explored the faculty's surroundings in a cipher game, and at the end they experienced first-hand how the internet works.

    The heart and soul of the whole event is the executive team from the Friends of Nordic Wildlife Society, or Zvěřinec, which is a group of students not only from the Faculty of Informatics, who share a passion for computer science, natural sciences and their popularization. Together, they organise activities to pass on knowledge to high school students in an interesting and fun way and get them excited for further studies. For example, the Correspondence Seminar in Computer Science or the InterSoB urban game come from their works. Their enthusiasm is almost contagious and their doors are always open to new members. "This year we had two participants from last year's Meet FI! and some from earlier runs on the organizing team. Other participants were also among the helpers," says Veronika Burgerová, chairwoman of Zvěřinec, about how the association manages to make new friendships with like-minded people and inspire each other.

    The joy of a job well done was supported by the positive feedback after the event. High school students appreciated the opportunity to experience the faculty environment in a playful way, as well as the chance to talk with our students and scholars. The professional program provided new insights and tips in various areas of IT as well as how to prepare for college and what to expect. "I went last year as well and enjoyed both years. I have refreshed some information about the study options," said one of the participants. Others add, "I've had probably the best game for understanding the basics of programming." Or: "I learned how to use Git from the console. Plus, I got a list of basic commands on paper so I can try it at home. It was nice that we got to try everything hands-on right away at the workshop." Thanks to everyone for attending, and we look forward to seeing familiar faces in September in freshman year!

    Thanks also to the organizers from Zvěřinec, students and FI staff. Thank you for allowing young talents to get to know FI better! We look forward to more events together.

    The Meet FI! event was made possible thanks to the support of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, grant for Supporting Talented Students at the Faculty of Informatics of Masaryk University 2024 (project no. 0022/7/NAD/2024).

    Are you interested in Zvěřinec activities? Join the Friends of Nordic Wildlife Society.

    Author: Marta Vrlová, Office of External Relations and Partnerships at FI MU

    Original bulletin in the Information system.