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 Fiona Yeung, a User Experience Design Intern working at our Mountain View Headquarters. Fiona is a graphic designer attending York University/Sheridan College in Toronto where she is pursuing a Bachelors in Design. When Fiona is not designing something, you can probably find her on the water training and racing other universities with the York University Dragon Boat team. She also enjoys travelling, exploring, and photography.
Tell us one fun, outlandish fact about you!
I’ve climbed 1,776 steps up the CN Tower in Toronto, the world’s tallest metal staircase with my family for charity. I’ve also completed Tough Mudder, a 12 mile obstacle challenge last fall with my dragon boat team!
What inspired you to apply for this internship, and what made Google appealing to you as a potential intern?
I wanted to learn from some of the most talented and innovative people in the industry. I also wanted to gain experience working at a larger company. With Google’s size, even though I would be focusing on one product area, I knew I would still get the chance to learn about all the other innovative projects that Google is working on such as the Self-driving Car, Google Glass, and Project Loon. Lastly, the internship program itself is extremely well-developed with tons of classes, workshops, and tech talks catered to help us develop our leadership and teamwork skills.
What team are you working on at Google? Can you provide us with a high-level description of your summer project?
I’m a user experience design intern for Google+, specifically on the core mobile app team. One of the projects that I’m working on this summer is to redesign Google suggested posts such as “Communities you might like” or “Trending” posts so that they’re consistent across all platforms. I get to think about what the animations and interactions will be like so that users can use these suggested posts better, while having a smooth and delightful experience.
What’s the best part about working with your manager? What about your team?
My manager Brynn is incredibly inspiring because she is proactive and a great leader. I love working with her because of her enthusiasm, passion, and great energy. I’m lucky to have a mentor like Brynn to guide me through the internship. I also admire her involvement in the design community where she created an event series for women in design called XX+UX. I hope to help her spread these series to even more cities and host one when I’m back home in Toronto!
The best part about working with my team is how collaborative and supportive everyone is. Being able to walk around and check out what everyone is working on, as well as our weekly Mocktails where we all gather together to share ideas and show what we’ve been working on is something I really enjoy.
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?
My favorite part about working at Google is knowing that the work I’m doing will be impacting millions of users around the world. The culture at Google is also a huge plus. The environment is collaborative, open, and makes you feel welcomed. The people are humble and you really get a sense of community among each other.
What’s something you’ve accomplished during your internship (thus far) that you’re most proud of? Or something you’re looking forward to working on?
I’m proud of the iterations that I’ve created thus far because I get to push myself to think beyond the visual designs to really dig deeper into how users interact when using Google+. Working directly with engineers and project managers is something I’m new to so it’s been a really cool experience so far.
I also worked with the Google Doodle team as part of my 20% side project. As a designer, creating a Google Doodle has been on my designer bucket list for a long time so being able to work with the doodlers was a dream come true. The doodle I created was for the Tanabata festival for Japan.
What does “being Googley” mean to you?
Being “Googley” to me is about trying your best, doing the right thing, and being an all-around friendly and good person. Being genuine, humble, and having a positive attitude are all traits of a Googley person. It’s about striving for excellence, being proactive, having a good time all at the same time.
If you could give one piece of advice to potential student applicants, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Team up with friends or people you know and create things that you’re passionate about. A lot of skills are learned outside of school so go ahead and work on side projects. It’s also helpful to have an entrepreneurial mindset; to be self-starters and leaders that are passionate to work on challenging projects to help the world.
Dream Google office to visit?
All of the Google offices are so well-designed for Googlers but one that I’d love to visit is the office in in Zurich, Switzerland. I heard they have an aquarium relaxation room, and that they have ski gondolas as small conference rooms.
Best gFit class?
I try to attend about 3-4 different gFit classes a week such as yoga, cardio kickboxing, and body pump. One of my favorite ones is the Aerial Silks class because it’s something I’ve always wanted to try. It’s incredible that these kinds of classes are offered here at Google.
Best intern event you’ve attended?
The intern carnival was really fun with the inflatable obstacle course race and mechanical bull, but I have to say the Sky High Trampoline Dodgeball day was the best so far. Bouncing on the trampoline, while dodging dodgeballs is a pretty fun way to meet new interns.
Fiona’s Googler host for the summer is Brynn Evans. Brynn is a Design Lead on the Google+ Team. In fact, Brynn joined Google on June 27, 2011 – one day before we launched Google+! Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Brynn went to Stanford for her undergraduate degrees and UC San Diego for her graduate degree. Brynn looks forward to weekly time in the Pilates studio and is a member of the Google+ UX acapella group, the Whizzy Whigs.
Why did you want to work at Google?
I had worked previously at a startup, an agency, and as a freelance designer. I wanted to experience working at a large company, expecting that I’d learn new & different things.
What are you working on at Google?
I’m a UX Lead on the Google+ team. I started as an individual contributor, became Stream UX Lead, and then became a UX Lead for a larger team that’s responsible for the G+ core mobile apps, including onboarding, growth, and engagement.
Why did you want to host an Intern?
I never had an intern before, but I have been an intern and knew how immensely valuable it is to have good internships. I thought my team could provide a good environment for an intern. Additionally, I love teaching, mentoring, and advising — especially new grads. When I was recently out of school, I wish I had had a mentor to help guide me; instead now, I’m hoping I can be that mentor for others.
What’s the best part about your team?
The people! The designers on my team are incredibly talented, humble, and collaborative. They’ve taught me a tremendous amount and make coming into work everyday a pure joy. It’s true what they say: it’s the people that matter.
What’s the best part about working with your intern?
Her passion, excitement, and motivation! Fiona came into Google fired up and excited to get started on a project. Since then, she’s worked on an exploratory project, created a Google Doodle (which is extremely uncommon), and has also started her main intern project. Fiona’s got the talent to be good designer; but it’s her passion and motivation that will make her great!
What’s your favorite perk to utilize at Google?
Google offers Pilates Reformer classes that I take twice a week. It’s become such an important part of my routine that I never let meetings or conflicts get in the way of my two hours a week of “me time.”
What’s the thing you’ve accomplished during your career at Google that you’re most proud of?
Last October, I kicked off an event series called XX+UX — a monthly meetup for Women in UX. I quickly discovered that there is an eager & talented community of women UXers who love to connect and share stories. Until recently, there just hasn’t been an event series dedicated exclusively to bringing them together, so I’m proud to have played a role in that.
So far we’ve had events in the Bay Area, Austin, and Paris. This summer, we’ll be having inaugural XX+UX events in NYC, London, and Sydney!
What’s your favorite Google moment so far?
As a member of the Whizzy Whigs, the Google+ UX acapella group, we sang Bohemian Rhapsody at TGIF last year! It was incredibly fun being up on stage in front of the whole company!
What is one fun fact about you?
I can sing “If you’re happy and you know it” in Japanese.
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 Sidnie Davis, Intern Programs Team