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.
Meet Elizabeth—a sophomore majoring in Computer Science at Stanford University. She participated in our Summer Trainee Engineering Program (STEP) in Zurich this past summer on the Google Security Team. Among her many responsibilities as a Google intern, Elizabeth, along with another intern, launched a Google Women in Engineering (GWE) Mentorship program. Read on to learn more about Elizabeth.
Tell us one fun, outlandish fact about you!
I played football when I was four years old. I was a pretty incredible running back, if I say so myself.
What has been your path to your current internship at Google?
I actually just started coding less than a year ago. I took a few classes in college and found that Computer Science was pretty fascinating to me, and programming appealed to my extremely logical yet creative approach to problem solving. I looked into internship opportunities with various tech companies and was pleasantly surprised to receive an offer to work for Google in the Zurich, Switzerland office!
I was extremely excited to have the chance to work for Google and visit Europe for the first time. I’d been very inspired by Google’s incredible commitment to innovation especially when applied to a social cause. They’ve been leaders in the movement towards bringing more diversity into the tech industry and are working on projects that are centered on increasing accessibility for users in developing countries. Google is making an impact in fields I deeply care about which made it such an appealing company to work for. And having the opportunity to work on a diverse team, with people from so many different countries and cultural backgrounds, has been an invaluable experience.
What’s the best part about working with your team?
Objectively speaking, my team is awesome. Everyone is really close, so much so that we’ve all eaten practically every meal together at Google this summer. I’m amazed at how well my teammates work together professionally and how many of them have formed close personal relationships with one another. Our entire team just went together to Mallorca, Spain, which goes to show just how much fun we have together inside and outside of the office.
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?
One of my favorite moments was getting to present my project at the EMEA Tech Intern Summit. I was given the opportunity to share my project with interns from all over EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa). However, I’m extremely proud of the women’s mentorship program that I co-founded and launched this summer.
Can you tell us a little bit more about the Google Women in Engineering (GWE) Mentorship Program you launched?
I, along with Alice Chang, a fellow intern, noticed a need for a program that would connect Nooglers and interns to the women’s network and community within Google Zurich. Working at Google is great in that if you ever have an idea or something you’re passionate about, everyone encourages you to pursue it wholeheartedly and see where you can take it.
We were able to talk to senior-level Googlers involved in diversity initiatives about our project proposal and to discuss how to go about designing such a program. We then did everything we needed to do to get the program off the ground: recruit experienced mentors from diverse professional backgrounds in Google Zurich, create a formal curriculum for the program, organize the dates, and match all of the mentors and mentees to ensure a successful and rewarding relationship. We are just about to complete our first mentorship cycle which we’re incredibly excited about.
Ideally, how would you expand this program?
We’ve contacted ambassadors in two other Google offices and we’re working with them to implement the program in their locations as well. We’re hoping to expand the program to all of the Google offices, and increase the number of Nooglers worldwide who are able to cycle through the program.
What impact has this mentorship program had so far that you’ve noticed?
So far, the program has definitely cultivated a greater community between experienced female Googlers and Nooglers like us! We had an amazing luncheon with all of our participants. It was a lot of fun to discuss the importance of mentorship and to initiate conversations about how to succeed as women in the tech industry.
What does “being Googley” mean to you?
Being Googley means celebrating your own diversity. It means embracing who you are—academically, professionally, culturally, and personally—and contributing your individuality to a diverse team. You are an incredibly unique, weird, and valuable individual. Own it, welcome the uniqueness of everyone around you, and come together to spark innovation.
If you could give one piece of advice to potential student applicants, what would it be?
Candidates shouldn’t be discouraged if they don’t have as much experience as others. Take it from someone who just started out programming, and who has definitely felt that overwhelming feeling when it seems like everyone around you has been coding since they were in diapers. If you work really hard and are willing to take on the pretty steep learning curve, you can be just as successful as a software engineer at a company like Google.
Outside of being a Google intern, what are some fun things you do outside the classroom/office throughout the year?
At school I’m involved in the CS 198 Section Leading program which is an opportunity for undergraduates to help teach introductory computer science courses. I also work with the Black Student Union and Society of Black Scientists and Engineers which promote community, achievement, and support among African American students within Stanford and in the surrounding communities. Otherwise, I love to play beach volleyball, read, and binge-watch TV shows.
Best conversation in a MK/cafe/elevator?
The best conversation I remember having was when I was eating dinner in Milliways Cafe and casually talking to a woman who was sitting across the table with her kids. Later on that night, I realized that I’d had dinner with Susan Wojcicki! Not recognizing her kept me from fangirling so it was probably for the better.
Dream Google office to visit?
So far I’ve been to the Mountain View, New York, Zurich, and London offices. I’d love to see the office in Sydney, Australia though!
Best intern event you’ve attended?
Definitely Noogler Prom. Nothing beats fancy dresses paired with Noogler hats.
Our technical internships for summer 2015 are now open! Apply here: http://goo.gl/7nmfXO
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Posted by Maggie Hohlfeld, University Programs Team