From Google Glass to Project Loon, Adwords to Docs, our interns have the opportunity to work on some of Google’s most cutting edge and innovative projects. Interns also work across sales and other business functions, bringing a fresh perspective to the work done at Google. To show you just how much of an impact interns make and to highlight their unique experiences, we’re bringing you a special blog series: Google Intern Insights. Make sure to look out for the different interns being featured on the blog throughout the summer!
Meet Ryan Drapeau, a rising junior at the University of Washington, majoring in Computer Science. Ryan is a Software Engineering Intern this summer at the Google Headquarters in Mountain View. Outside of his school work, Ryan is an avid photographer and loves experimenting with the different technical aspects of photography (his current obsession is welding glass photography
). Originally from Los Angeles, he also enjoys hiking and exploring amazing sites, with his camera in-tow, of course!Tell us one fun, outlandish fact about you!
In high school, I ate sushi for 8 consecutive days (sometimes more than once per day). Concerned for my health, my parents confiscated my wallet to keep me from buying more, unfortunately putting an end to the streak.What inspired you to apply for this internship, and what made Google appealing to you as a potential intern?
Google’s mission is to not only improve technology for those who already have it, but to also bring access to those who don’t. When designing a product, it can be easy to limit our scope to our own experiences, but at Google, it is essential to design around the user. Projects like Android One and Loon are bringing access to the world’s information and knowledge to the ~5 billion people around the world without Internet. Innovation does not come from mere 10% improvements - solutions that offer a 10x improvement push the industry and the world forward. This attitude and moonshot thinking is what attracted me to Google.What team are you working on at Google? Can you provide us with a high-level description of your summer project?
I work on the Accessibility Engineering team in Google Research in Mountain View, CA. As a team, we build innovative products and solutions to help make the world’s information universally accessible to everyone. We ensure Google’s technologies are accessible in order to empower people with disabilities to be socially engaged, productive, and independent. What’s the best part about working with your manager? What about your team?
The best part about working with my manager, Phil, is the amount of responsibility and ownership he gives me. I’m treated like any other member of the team and given the opportunity to voice my opinion during meetings. As an intern, it is amazing to have my input be considered and implemented in our project.
Some of the team heading to a meeting
My team is great! Everyone is friendly, welcoming, and extremely helpful. They have made the experience better than I could have imagined. Everyone on the team also knows how to handle a prank, which is good considering the interns ganged up and covered our coworker’s desk with water bottles we had saved up from the entire summer.
170 bottles in every space available (including the drawers)
We all know Googlers and interns love the food and the other benefits. Outside of some of the well-known perks, what’s your favorite part about working at Google?
The people. I’m constantly surrounded by people that are smarter than me and I think that is important. It creates an atmosphere filled with learning and opportunities for improvement. There is an incredible amount of knowledge here and plenty more waiting to be discovered. To be able to be a part of that as an intern is a wonderful experience.What does “being Googley” mean to you?
Being Googley, to me, means to not be afraid. Don’t be afraid to ask questions for help. Don’t be afraid to tackle problems too big for one person. Don’t be afraid to be curious. Having an audacious attitude is Googley. If you could give one piece of advice to potential student applicants, what would it be?
The biggest piece of advice I could give is to have passion and drive. Studying and memorizing data structures can only get you so far. To really succeed, find your niche within computer science and technology. Find out what inspires you in the field and industry at large and follow it. The more passionate you are about your work, the more you will accomplish.
But it doesn’t hurt to memorize these
either.Best meal at Google so far?
Any meal involving sushi (KitchenSync and Atom regularly serve it). Outside of being a Google intern, what are some fun things you do outside the classroom/office throughout the year?
When I can, I love to get outdoors and use my camera. Photography is a visual poetry in my mind; it’s a hobby where I can spend many hours trying to get a single shot. Some of my most memorable nights last year were spent editing photos until sunrise with a close friend. Whether I am shooting long exposures of Snoqualmie Falls, or trying to show my friend how to balance during a levitation pose, I enjoy every frame of it.
Best overheard conversation in a MK/cafe/elevator
I had a conversation with some Googlers about the possibility of the universe being a part of a Matrix-like simulation. Most people would laugh it off, but we had a serious debate about whether or not it would be theoretically possible.Dream Google office to visit?
Google Zürich because working in a ski lift for a day sounds pretty great.Best intern event you’ve attended?
The Intern Boat Cruise - I cannot think of a better way of meeting other interns than on a boat dressed in your finest 80’s clothes. Want to learn more about internships at Google? Check out our Student Careers Site. Additionally, follow Google Students on Google+ and use the hashtag #googleinterns to keep up with Intern Insights this summer.
Posted by Shawn Dye, Intern Programs Team