Recently, we hosted two Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship events in our Moscow and St. Petersburg offices. More than 80 Russian female computer science students joined us to learn about local technical projects, find out more about Dr. Anita Borg, hear from scholarship alumni and network with Googlers.
We asked three scholarship alumni to tell us about their Anita Borg experience:
1. Tell us a bit about yourselves…
Anna: I’m a graduate from the department of Mechanics & Mathematics at Novosibirsk State University. I currently work at the Institute of Computational Technologies, Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences where I do mathematical modeling and optimization methods for solving inverse problems. I’m also preparing my Ph.D. thesis.
Jelena: I graduated from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology in Bioinformatics. I currently work analyzing biological data.
Anastasia: I’m from Moscow where I graduated from the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute (MEPhI). Before graduation, I started working at the Institute for System Programming at the Russian Academy of Sciences (ISP RAS) where I worked on projects to test systems for document processing and develop tools for automatic testing of Internet protocols.
2. How did you find out about the scholarship and what motivated you to apply?
Anna: I found out about the scholarship through my university when it launched in Russia in 2008. My friends told me it sounded like something I should do so I applied. I also read Anita Borg’s biography and was inspired by her story to pursue a career in technology.
Jelena: I saw the scholarship advertised on a poster prior to starting my degree. I thought I matched the profile and was motivated by the competition aspect I had previously enjoyed so much when I participated in my school olympiads. Two years later, I became a finalist.
Anastasia: I first heard about the scholarship when a Googler came to give a lecture at the ISP RAS. As a Ph.D. student at the time, my interest immediately peaked, though my first thought was that I wasn’t good enough to apply. After deliberating, I decided to go for it anyway for the experience.
3. In what way has the scholarship had an impact on you and your future in technology?
Anna: I was a scholarship finalist three times. The achievement gave me the confidence to go on and win other competitions and participate in other tech conferences across the world.
Jelena: Being a finalist gave me confidence in my abilities and motivated me to work harder, especially on my programming. The scholarship also made me a stronger leader. I’m currently the co-chair of a committee which promotes biotechnology and explains to young scientists how to build a successful career after graduation.
Anastasia: Before the scholarship, I wasn’t confident enough in my skills. Nowadays, there are still times when I feel this way, but after meeting other girls like me at the retreat, I know that I’m not alone.
4. What was the highlight of the scholarships retreat for you?
Anna: I was continuously inspired by examples of new research and modern approaches to help maximise engineers’ time as well as the informal atmosphere which encouraged communication. The retreat gave me the motivation to work even harder in my degree.
Jelena: Meeting so many inspiring people. Another highlight was the poster session where I was able to discover the different technological problems addressed at various universities across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Anastasia: Meeting so many talented women from different countries and cultures. Together we had various interesting discussions about different approaches to education, industry and life as a whole.
5. Any advice for Russian students who are keen to become our next Anita Borg scholars?
Anna: Don’t be afraid and don’t underestimate yourself! Remember, other applicants like you received the scholarship. Work hard for what you want and don’t let social prejudices get in the way.
Jelena: Be great, passionate and sincere. Get involved in interesting projects at university, study hard and make sure to highlight your achievements in your CV.
Anastasia: During the application process, I recommend using diagrams, tables and pictures in your essays to better illustrate your ideas. Also make sure to reread your essays a few times, it might also help to get a second opinion on it from a friend or family member. Finally, even if you don’t win this time, don’t despair, try again!
The Google EMEA Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship is open to current female undergraduate or graduate students who will be studying at a university in Europe, the Middle East or Africa for the 2014-2015 academic year.
The deadline to apply is Monday, February 17, 2014, 17:00 GMT. Apply today!
For more on Google’s scholarships please visit www.google.com/students/scholarships.
Posted by Efrat Aghassy, Tech Student Development Programs Specialist, EMEA