Tuition-free summer CS 111

four female and nonbinary students work in a classroom with a Break Through Tech Chicago peer mentor

Take CS 111 with us this summer!

CS 111 is the UIC course that sets you on your way to a major or minor in computer science, data science, computer science + design, or computer science and linguistics. This might be your first-ever experience with a tech-oriented class, and guess what? The same will be true of almost everyone else in your classroom.

CS 111 is all about figuring out the basics together.

Each summer, Break Through Tech Chicago offers a tuition-free section of CS 111 that is geared toward helping new women and nonbinary tech majors to build their skills in an inclusive, supportive environment. Are you starting your tech education at UIC? Read on to find out how to be a part of it!


What you learn in CS 111

CS 111 introduces you to Python, one of the languages that programmers use to tell computers what to do.

This course is hands-on and designed to be fun, so once you have some basics of Python, you will use this computer language to be creative: producing artwork, simple computer games, visually appealing charts and graphs, and animations. In each assignment, you will practice key skills while making something unique that you can show to your friends and family.

In just 8 weeks, you will build a foundation in programming that will allow you to move on to the next courses in your major or minor.

screen shot of Simpsons computer game developed by a CS 111 student

This is an actual basic computer game created by a CS 111 student! On the left, you can see the code she learned to write in CS 111. The real-time display of her Simpsons game, enabled by that code, is on the right.

Facts about summer CS 111

  • This section of CS 111 is tuition free and open by application via Break Through Tech Chicago. Our mission is to help women and nonbinary students to launch rewarding, well-paying careers in tech. A great experience in CS 111 is the first step on that journey.
  • In addition to free tuition, students in this course also get free access to software tools that are used in class.
  • Your teacher will be Clinical Associate Professor Shanon Reckinger, a favorite computer science faculty member at UIC and a true advocate for women and nonbinary students in tech subjects.
  • The class runs for 8 weeks, starting the week of June 12 and ending the week of July 31.
  • The class meets 3 times per week. We expect the class sessions will be on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9 a.m. until 11:30 a.m., but we are still determining the exact schedule. In most weeks, the Monday and Wednesday classes will be in person on UIC’s campus, and the Friday sessions will be live online. During the week of July 4, all three class sessions will be held online to accommodate students who are planning to be away on vacation that week.

Extra support to get you started

Learning new concepts can feel like a lot, so Break Through Tech Chicago has assembled a welcoming, experienced team of peer teaching assistants — sophomores, juniors, and seniors who have taken CS 111 before — to help you when you need it. The tuition-free Break Through Tech Chicago section of CS 111 features:

  • One teaching assistant for every 10 students, to ensure that you always have a resource you can lean on
  • In-person office hours after the campus class meetings on Mondays and Wednesdays
  • Online office hours in the evenings and on weekends to make sure there’s a support option that fits your schedule

five CS 111 TAs

Meet some of your TAs

The students above have completed CS 111 and often return as teaching assistants for this course. Click below to read short statements they’ve shared about studying tech at UIC, taking their first-ever computer science course, and participating in Break Through Tech Chicago programs.

Hear from past CS 111 students!

How to apply for our summer section

***Applications for summer 2023 are now closed.*** We have left the instructions below for reference purposes only.

  1. New UIC students: submit your “Intent to Enroll” at UIC if you have not already. This is an essential step in becoming eligible to participate in the Break Through Tech Chicago section of CS 111 in the summer.
  2. Current UIC students (and new students who have already completed step 1 above): fill out the summer CS 111 application form (note: applications are now closed and this link has been disabled).
  3. The Break Through Tech Chicago team will fill the course (75 students maximum) as applications are received — so the sooner you complete steps 1 and 2 above, the better your chances of being a part of the class!
  4. The team will contact all students who receive a place in the class to provide information on next steps.

Questions? Either sign up to chat with us during our office hours or send an email to with the words “summer CS 111” in the subject line, and one of us will get back to you.