As the iCons program kicked off its eighth year, ten of our alumni returned to the UMass campus to present the second edition of the iCons Survival Guide, our annual event focused on preparing current undergraduates with the tools they need for success in the iCons program.

The event started with a series of four presentations, one focused on each of the four classes in the iCons curriculum. To speak about iCons 1, the first of the iCons classes, we had Eric Wuesthoff, a current undergraduate, who discussed the four elements of a successful iCons 1 experience.

Jacob Lytle tackled iCons 2, the course focused on imparting communication skills. His Harry Potter-themed presentation was as illuminating as it was entertaining.

The presentation on iCons 3, a practical, lab-based course, was given by Sean McGrath. It included a tech talk, discussing essential digital tools for iCons students. Chief among these were LaTeX, a technical typesetting program ideal for creating scientific documents, and Anaconda, a scientific distribution of the Python programming language.

Last up was Harli Weber, who discussed her experience finding a research topic she was passionate about and how she turned that work into her iCons 4 thesis.

The presentations were followed by a panel discussion, where the presenters were joined by the other alumni to discuss how their iCons experiences have helped them in their lives and careers. Finally there was a long Q&A session.

A big thank you to all the iCons students who attended, and all the alumni who participated - we had an excellent turnout and a great time!