Computer Science Women’s Network Hosts Second Annual Puzzle Day

April 10, 2017
Writer(s): Kristyn Childres

On Saturday, April 1, the Computer Science Women’s Network (CSWN) hosted the second annual Puzzle Day, a daylong competition that invites student teams to solve puzzles and brainteasers created by other Purdue students. Computer science students Austin Schwartz, Will Mandrola, Stewart Bailey, Brian Hays, Charles Christoffer and Cody Phrampus won the first-place prize.

“Puzzle Day is open to Purdue students from all across campus,” said Julianna Stevenson, CSWN president. “CSWN is all about promoting inclusivity, and Puzzle Day does just that. It takes students from all majors and puts them into uncomfortable situations, encouraging them to try new things. It brings people closer together and promotes cross-disciplinary team interaction.”

Computer science grad student and first-place team member Austin Schwartz said, “Puzzle Day was a great break from school stuff. Getting a chance to sit down with friends and work as a team through some interesting, novel puzzles made for a good weekend.”

This year’s puzzles included an escape room, ciphers and nonograms. Schwartz said, “The escape room was fun and challenging. I've always loved puzzles, mystery books, that kind of thing. It feels great being in the middle of a mystery, trying to figure out the clues, and ultimately finding your way out of the room. They're challenging, and so much fun to figure your way out of.”

Some participants signed up in teams, while others signed up by themselves. A team-building event took place before the competition, where solo competitors formed teams and solved puzzles while getting to know each other. “Many of the teams whose members didn’t know each other before Puzzle Day did really well. Puzzle Day is a great practice in teamwork,” Stevenson said. 

The event was sponsored by Bloomberg, Salesforce, Boeing, Qualcomm, Google and Union Pacific, who donated food and prizes. Bloomberg and Salesforce also created puzzles and had company representatives on hand to help teams with puzzles and share information about their companies. Puzzle Day was created by Bridgette Kuehn (B.S. ’16), who now works at Microsoft. Click here to view photos from the event.