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 stroll through the blog to check out other interns who have been featured on the blog throughout the summer! Also, our technical internships for summer 2015 are now open! Apply here.
Alice is a rising junior at the University of Chicago majoring in Computer Science and Economics. Her hometown is Rockville, MD!
Tell us one fun, outlandish fact about you!
In the fifth grade, I won a pie on Pi Day for reciting one hundred digits of Pi.
What inspired you to apply for this internship, and what made Google appealing to you as a potential intern?
The Summer Trainee Engineering Program (STEP) internship in EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa) was a great option for me, as it’s targeted at underclassmen seeking industry exposure to tech. Working in Zurich has been an invaluable learning experience – it’s shown me just how much international collaboration goes into so many of my favorite Google products. Not to mention, the “Zoogle” office itself is just plain crazy and fun.
For such a large, multinational corporation, I’ve found that Google does a surprisingly good job at retaining a startup-like culture. Googlers are constantly working on new and innovative projects (Google Fiber! Project Loon!), and they’re encouraged to pursue ideas that are different and wacky because you never know what might lead to something awesome. Moreover, I’m incredibly appreciative of the fact that Google is spearheading the diversity in tech movement through initiatives, such as Made with Code.
What team are you working on at Google? Can you provide us with a high-level description of your summer project?
I’m working with YouTube MDx (Multi-Device Experience) here at Google. We strive to make the YouTube viewing experience available across a variety of device platforms. For my project, I am making the multi-user experience on YouTube TV more engaging and social by delivering specific forms of visual feedback in response to user actions.
What’s the best part about working with your manager? What about your team?
My manager, Johnny, is super friendly and supportive. He had a fairly hands-on mentality toward this internship so I didn’t spend excessive amounts of time studying codelabs, but instead was able to pick up the skills I needed by jumping straight into my project. At the same time, he’s a treasure trove of knowledge and is always only a ping away. The level of autonomy and creative flexibility I’ve been given has been highly empowering. I constantly feel like my voice and vision are heard at design meetings and one-on-ones.
On Friday afternoons, right before TGIF, my team always has “video time.” Basically, this involves streaming funny cat videos and movie trailers on the big TV screen in the office. Granted, the unofficial Google motto is “Dogs are cool, cats are evil,” but something about being a YouTuber seems to make one partial to felines…
Outside of being a Google intern, what are some fun things you do outside the classroom/office throughout the year?
I’m really passionate about CS initiatives. At school, I’m currently working with a team to start a UChicago chapter of FEMMES (Females Excelling More in Math, Engineering and Science), which is a Duke-founded program that encourages elementary school girls to engage in STEM. At UChicago, we’re launching FEMMES with the specific mission to target the CS gender gap. We’re currently gearing up for a student-led day-of-coding event for next spring, where we’ll introduce girls from local low-income schools to CS through hands-on activities and mentorship.
Additionally, I’m involved with an entrepreneurship and innovation group called EnvisionDo. Earlier this year, we brought in Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian to speak to the student body about Internet entrepreneurship. Aside from that, you can find me spiriting for our Maroons on the UC Cheer Team!
Best intern event you’ve attended?
The Intern Pub Quiz was great. It took place during the intern summit, when a ton of tech interns from all over EMEA came to Zurich to meet and mingle. We competed in a bunch of kooky categories – what’s that close-up, name that sound, etc. – for three hours! Everyone was yelling and laughing and jumping around by the end. And best of all, my team won! The prize? A swanky Google swag bag … and eternal glory, of course.
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?
I love how laid-back the culture is. At the end of the day, we’re all here for the same reasons: to deliver a great product and make some real change. Like I said, there’s definitely a startup-y feel to Google, yet the systems are incredibly structured and precise, and they teach you a lot about working in a massive codebase. Furthermore, Googlers are really friendly and open to questions. I learn something new every day!
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?
Participating in ERGs (Employee Resource Groups) has been a huge source of enrichment. Ever since coming to Google, I’ve been fairly involved with GWE (Google Women Engineers). Last month, I was even given the opportunity to moderate a panel at the first-ever Zurich women’s summit! It was incredibly empowering to be in a room full of such ambitious, accomplished women. GWE at Zurich have a go-getter “If you can dream it, you can do it” attitude in terms of pitching and planning events, so currently, I’m working on implementing a female mentoring program for Nooglers. It’s crazy to see how much responsibility you’re allowed to take on as an intern. I love that we have the opportunity to make a real, tangible impact.
Best meal at Google so far?
The feta “salad” that started randomly appearing one day was pretty darn incredible. It was basically enormous blocks of feta cheese mixed in with the occasional olive.
Dream Google office to visit?
Krakow. I hear the bathrooms have hot tubs!
What does “being Googley” mean to you?
Being Googley means embracing the spirit of innovation. It means always questioning existing methods and ways of doing things in order to arrive at a brand-new, creative solution. It means keeping an open mind to new ideas and opinions, even when they differ from your own.
If you could give one piece of advice to potential student applicants, what would it be?
Just be yourself. Google celebrates differences, so take whatever makes you special and run with it. Don’t feel like you have to fit into a standardized template for tech. That being said, one concrete piece of advice is to prepare yourself mentally for the interviews. Coding on a whiteboard or over the phone requires a slightly different mentality, so give yourself the best chances possible by doing a few mock interviews in a realistic setting before the real deal.
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 Maggie Hohlfeld, University Programs Team