At Google, we value diversity and inclusion and support individuals who do the same. In this series, the Google University Programs team is celebrating diversity and honoring Black History Month by showcasing four of our student programs alumni who have done incredible things in their community. This week we’re catching up with Elizabeth Davis, who participated in our 2014 Summer Trainee Engineering Program (STEP) in Zurich.
It’s great to catch up with you again. What’s one of the most exciting things that has happened to you since we last featured you on the blog?
This past fall, I had the amazing opportunity to travel with Google to the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in Phoenix, Arizona. The conference was an incredible experience for me as it was the first real chance I’ve had to connect with so many women of color in Computer Science. I was inspired by the thousands of women present who are not only techmakers themselves, but also passionate about supporting other women techmakers from all over the world. I left the conference with some phenomenal new mentors and friends.
|Elizabeth at Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, October 2014|
Can you give us a quick recap of the Google Women in Engineering Mentorship Program you launched and how it has developed since your internship ended?
During my internship this past summer, I, along with another intern, saw the need to cultivate a stronger community for women at Google. We realized that female Nooglers (new Googlers) needed to feel supported as they began their careers. With that in mind, we worked with the president of Google Women in Engineering (GWE) in Google Zurich, and the Google Head of Diversity for EMEA and decided that our best approach to addressing this need would be to start a mentorship program that connected female Nooglers to experienced employees. We completed an incredibly successful cycle of the program at the Zurich office over the summer, and have actually expanded the program to two other offices: Munich and Krakow. At the end of the summer we also had the chance to talk to the Google Global Diversity and Inclusion Director Yolanda Mangolini who has helped us plan out how we can continue to expand the Google Women in Engineering Mentorship Program (GWE-MP) globally.
What other initiatives have you been working on since being back in school?
As a section leader for our introductory programming course, I have the opportunity to teach undergraduate and graduate students who are trying out programming for the first time. This is a unique opportunity for me to not only help my students build a strong foundation in programming methodology and concepts, but also dispel any misconceptions they may have about the field and hopefully keep them involved in Computer Science.
I’m also involved in she++ which is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering women in the technology industry. We are currently organizing our national #include Fellowship Program, which provides resources and support to high school students who want to start grassroots initiatives to increase Computer Science education in their local communities. Diversity is really important to me so I have also recently begun working with professors in the Stanford Computer Science Department to figure out how to increase the representation of Black and Hispanic students in the CS major.
Why do you think it’s important to give back to others?
Giving back and helping others in need is a huge part of my core values and beliefs. I want everyone to experience the opportunities I’ve had as well as the confidence to pursue their dreams without feeling like an outsider in a largely homogenous community, or feeling like an imposter due to stereotype threats or other factors. I believe everyone has their unique talents and is capable of so much, and I want people of every gender and race within the technology industry to feel confident and empowered.
For information on additional Google student programs, visit google.com/students/programs.
Posted by Maggie Hohlfeld, University Programs team