Enrollment in CS programs has exploded in recent years, however, dropout
rates have also been alarmingly high. Engaging today's students in traditional
CS courses is a significant challenge  and has led to an explosion of
research and strategies, given the high demand for STEM majors.
In this talk, I will present two ongoing projects targeted at improving
the retention and success of CS majors. I will present BRIDGES, an API that
facilitates the use of real-world data and visualizations in sophomore
level algorithms and data structures courses. I will present results from
the use of BRIDGES in the past 3 years at UNC Charlotte and its impact,
including its use by institutions external to UNC Charlotte.
In the second part of the talk, I will go over lessons learnt from BRIDGES
and the development of new interactive learning modules and ongoing
visual analytics work to further assist instructors and students in the