September 29th - October 1st

What is Reflections | Projections?

Reflections | Projections is a tech conference organized and run by students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

We draw students, speakers, and companies from around the world. Join us to listen to tech talks from across the industry, to participate in an Artificial Intelligence programming competition in Mechmania, to solve puzzles throughout the conference during PuzzleBang!, and to attend our job and startup fairs.

The conference is free and open to anyone regardless of age, major, job, or affiliation with the University of Illinois. So come join a discussion led by some of the brightest minds in the business about the bleeding edge of the tech industry!

Job Fair

Meet some of the best companies in the country

Startup Fair

Interact with hot new startups


Come listen to some of the industry's best


Compete for glory in this AI Hackathon


Challenge your mind with puzzles


Interact with Alumni from ACM and the University

Special Events

Startup Panel

Don't miss out on the first event of the conference! Join us for our Startup Panel to kick off the event. Come and listen to some of the best in the industry.

Jake Radkiewicz

Engineering Director @ Uptake

Evelyn Gillie

Software Engineering Manager, Flexport

Ryan Debenham

Senior Engineering Manager, Data Platform, Qualtrics

Jared Tame

Senior Software Engineer, Tophatter

Alumni Event

We are always proud to have alumni come to R | P. Because we know our alums like to meet each other while in town, we are hosting an Alumni Get-Together at Murphy's Pub on Green St. Hope to see you there!

ACM Social Hour

Alumni, students, and all attendees are welcome to come take a break from our awesome talks and socialize in the Siebel Atrium with some foods and beverages!

Thursday, September 29th

12:00pm - 1:00pm Startup Panel Siebel 2405
  2:00pm - 5:30pm Startup Fair Atrium
  6:00pm - 6:50pm Speaker: Ben Jun Siebel 1404
  7:00pm - 8:00pm Dinner, sponsored by RetailMeNot Siebel 1404

Friday, September 30th

  9:00am - 10:00am Breakfast 2405 Siebel
  10:30am - 4:30pm Job Fair Atrium
  5:00pm - 5:50pm Speaker: Gabrielle Allen Siebel 1404
  6:30pm - 7:30pm Dinner Atrium
  7:30pm - 8:20pm Keynote Speaker: Basil Alwan Siebel 1404
  9:00pm - 11:00pm Alumni Event Murphy's
  9:00pm MechMania Kickoff Siebel Center

Saturday, October 1st

  9:00am - 10:00am Breakfast Atrium
  10:00am - 10:50am Speaker: Santanu Kolay Siebel 1404
  11:00am - 11:50am Speaker: Laura Gómez Siebel 1404
12:00pm - 1:00pm Lunch Atrium
  1:00pm - 1:50pm Speaker: Nicole Hu Siebel 1404
  2:00pm - 2:50pm Speaker: Don Dini Siebel 1404
  3:00pm - 4:00pm ACM Social Hour Siebel Atrium
  4:00pm - 4:50pm Speakers: Maesen Churchill & Grace Huang Siebel 1404
  5:00pm - 5:50pm Speaker: Clare Curtis Siebel 1404
  6:00pm - 7:00pm Dinner Atrium
  7:00pm - 7:50pm Speaker: Brad Nicholas Siebel 1404
  8:00pm - 9:00pm Mechmania Closing Ceremony Siebel 1404

Basil was previously President of Alcatel-Lucent’s IP Division (IPD) with overall responsibility for the company’s portfolio of IP/MPLS and Multiservice switches and routers, and Network and Service management. He was also responsible for the portfolio strategy for the Carrier Group. Formerly, he was the founder, President and CEO of Timetra, a start-up focused on service routers for IP/MPLS networks, which later became the IP Division. Prior to TiMetra, Basil held executive positions in Silicon Valley start-ups as well as large companies. He served as a member of the boards of directors of multiple Silicon Valley based companies including 2Wire, Omneon Video Networks, CiiNow and WiChorus. In 1984, he graduated from UIUC with a BS in Computer Engineering.

Basil Alwan

President of IP/Optical Networks at Nokia

Brad is responsible for on-asset computing platforms and distributed analytics at Uptake, a Chicago-based Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) startup. He has 9 patents awarded or pending covering embedded and distributed computing and real-time billing. He brings extensive engineering, product and general management experience from multiple startups and larger companies across several industries including automotive, consulting, internet applications and telecommunications. Brad holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Tech and an MBA from the University of Michigan.

Brad Nicholas

Lead IoT Architect at Uptake

Benjamin Jun runs HVF Labs (hard/valuable/fun), which is Max Levchin’s company creation laboratory. HVF launches companies in areas where technically differentiable solutions can unlock world-changing value. HVF alumni include Yelp, Affirm, and Glow. Ben was co-founder and CTO of Cryptography Research, which provides core security technologies for payments, smartphones, digital content, and the manufacturing supply chain. His security components have shipped in over 25 billion consumer devices. Ben serves on the Board of Advisors of the RSA Conference. He formerly worked at IDEO Product Development, Bain & Company, and the Institute for Defense Analysis.

Ben Jun


Laura is the founder and CEO of Atipica, a data-driven, machine learning recruiting startup focused specifically on company's internal applicant databases for business intelligence optimization. Atipica's features highlight all applicants and provide insights to demographic and diversity trends while interrupting biases in the matching process. Laura previously worked at Twitter where she was a founding team member of the International team and lead product expansion into 50 languages and into dozens of countries. She has been featured in hundreds of publications and television programs around the world, including New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, etc.

Laura I. Gómez

CEO and Founder at Atipica

Santanu is an accomplished technology leader with a passion for building winning products. As Senior VP of Engineering, Santanu leads all engineering efforts across Turn’s DSP, DMP and analytics platform. He is also responsible for data science and Turn’s technology infrastructure that supports more than 3M queries per second. Prior to Turn, Santanu was a distinguished engineer at eBay where he lead the applied research team responsible for delivering next generation recommendation systems. Santanu has published many academic papers in areas of data-mining and advertising technology and holds multiple patents.

Santanu Kolay

VP of Engineering at Turn

Nicole is the CTO and Co-Founder of One Concern - an A.I. startup which predicts structural damage immediately after natural disasters; helping emergency managers gain critical situational awareness. She was named by the Forbes magazine as one of the world's top thirty innovators, in its Forbes 30 under 30 edition, for Enterprise Tech. Nicole holds a graduate degree in Computer Science from Stanford University. Prior to Stanford, she had the opportunity of working on exciting projects at Flipkart, one of the fastest growing e-commerce platforms in India.

Nicole Hu

CTO & Co Founder at One Concern

Don has been practicing, teaching, and writing about data science and intelligent systems for over ten years. He studied CS and AI at UIUC and USC. While at USC he was a lecturer in SC and worked on applying AI to various real world problems, such as understanding city populations through simulation, and systems to provide security against unknown attackers, which has been used many institutions. Today, Don is a principal data scientist at AT&T where he works on applying intelligent systems to manage the complexity of supporting modern communication networks. Don is also a data science lecturer at Udacity, where he co-created the course, Model Building and Validation. He is the AI advisor for FoodRev, a non-profit that uses tech to distribute food to the hungry.

Don Dini

Data Scientist at AT&T

Clare is a member of Yelp’s Revenue team, a UIUC alum and former Yelp intern. Her current work involves servicing Yelp’s billing system and finding meaning in inline comments that were written before time began.

Clare Curtis

Software Engineer at Yelp

Maesen is a software developer on Pinterest's search team. She's worked on trending searches, and autocomplete, and her current focus is Universal Search. Maesen joined Pinterest after graduating from Stanford. In her free time, she enjoys running, hiking and reading.

Maesen Churchill

Software Developer at Pinterest

Grace Huang is currently a Data Scientist in Discovery Science at Pinterest. Her current focus is on better understanding of user experience and content ecosystem health around Machine Learning products at Pinterest. In the past, she has applied Machine Learning algorithms and statistical methods to tackle problems in domains such as genome sequencing and cancer subtype prediction, e-commerce retail recommendations and search relevance optimization, and projects around ML for social good. She has a PhD in Computational Genomics from the joint program in Carnegie Mellon University and University of Pittsburgh Medical School.

Grace Huang

Data Scientist at Pinterest

Gabrielle Allen is a Professor of Astronomy at UIUC and the Associate Director for Computational Research and Education Programs at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. Gabrielle served as a Program Director in the Office of Cyberinfrastructure at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in Washington DC, developing programs in software and computational and data-enabled science and was responsible for learning and workforce development activities including CAREER, REU and the CI-TRACS postdoctoral fellowship program. At the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (2012-2014) she worked on establishing the IT and cyberinfrastructure vision for Skoltech as the interim Chief Information Officer.

Gabrielle Allen

Professor of Astronomy at UIUC

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to register to attend?

Nope! But registering is the only way you'll be guaranteed a t-shirt and a chance to submit your resume to our resume book. Click here to register.

Do I need to register for Mechmania?

Yes! The registration will be opening up soon!

Is the conference free?

Yes! Reflections | Projections is completely free! This includes Mechmania and other events.

I'm a company! How do I sponsor?

Please email us at

Will food be provided?

All food at the conference will be free the entire weekend.

I want to volunteer! How do I get involved?

Please join our Facebook page.

What's the difference between the Startup Fair and the Career Fair?

The Startup Fair is for pre-IPO companies, and the Career Fair is for established companies.

Coming from Willard Airport

Willard Airport is located south of UIUC. If driving, head north from the airport on the 45 and turn right onto Springfield – you'll soon find yourself on UIUC campus! Alternatively, you can catch a cab or Uber from the airport, headed towards Matthews and Stoughton.

Coming from Amtrak Station

Siebel Center is located 1 mile from the Champaign Amtrak Station. Most buses will take you to campus. The 100S and 120E run every few minutes. Ride one of these buses to the intersection of Wright St and White St, then walk east on Stoughton and you will find yourself at the Siebel Center!

Getting around Campus

Most amenities are available within walking distance of the Siebel Center. However, if walking isn't for you then Champaign-Urbana's public transit system can take you where you need to go. Routes can be mapped using Google Maps or the CUMTD app and each ride will cost you $1. No change is given on the buses, so bring exact fare with you!