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  1. Although undergraduate enrollment in Computer Science has remained strong and seen substantial increases in the past decade, retention of majors remains a significant concern, particularly for students at the freshman and sophomore level that are tackling foundational courses on algorithms and data structures. In this work, we present BRIDGES, a software infrastructure designed to enable the creation of more engaging assignments in introductory data structures courses by providing students with a simplified API that allows them to populate their own data structure implementations with live, real-world, and interesting data sets, such as those from popular social networks (e.g., Twitter, Facebook).more »BRIDGES also provides the ability for students to create and explore {\em visualizations} of the execution of the data structures that they construct in their course assignments, which can promote better understanding of the data structure and its underlying algorithms; these visualizations can be easily shared via a weblink with peers, family, and instructional staff. In this paper, we present the BRIDGES system, its design, architecture and its use in our data structures course over two semesters.« less