Home » 2017 » May

Announcing the 2017 Google Scholarship Recipients!

Since 2004, Google has awarded almost 2,500 scholarships to students from underrepresented groups in technology to inspire and help them become future leaders in the field. We are excited to announce this year’s Google scholarship recipients in the US, Canada, Europe, the Middle East and Africa!

These students come from diverse backgrounds, are passionate about technology, and have proven themselves as leaders and role models within their communities. By supporting these students with an academic scholarship and a trip to Google for the annual Scholars’ Retreat, we hope to not only support their academic pursuits but also empower Scholars to encourage and inspire those around them.

We recently selected recipients from the following scholarship programs:

Congratulations to the 2017 recipients of these scholarships who represent 88 universities in 19 countries. These students will join a community of Google scholars who are actively changing the diversity status quo in the tech industry. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for these exceptional students!

Stay tuned for our announcement of the Women Techmakers Scholars Program for Asia Pacific.

Black History Month Pay It Forward Challenge Winners

This spring we announced Google’s annual Black History Month “Pay It Forward” Challenge as a way to recognize individuals who are making a positive impact in the Black community, while also remembering those who have paved the way in the past. We received many inspiring applications filled with personal stories and determination — a reminder that there’s always time to make a difference (even as a busy college student!). We’re excited to share the work of our three winners, and hope that you feel inspired too. On to the winners!

Meet Calvary Rogers
Calvary Rogers

Calvary believes that “we let injustice win the day when we conclude that there is nothing we can do about it.” When confronted with an incident of on-campus threats targeting Black freshmen students, he knew that his only choice was to take action. As Co-Chair of UMOJA, an umbrella group that serves to unite all students that identify with the African Diaspora at the University of Pennsylvania, Calvary planned a university-wide town hall where Black students voiced their concerns with administration, each other, and the nation as a whole. While documenting the administrative actions students wanted to see (and starting the conversation about what change would look like), Calvary and his peers realized that what they needed most was to learn from the past.

Through UMOJA and the Africana Department, Calvary is developing a database that will function to individually archive student activism initiatives and institutional/administrative feedback across universities in America in order to maximize social progress and institutional breakthroughs. By archiving Black history at universities and their surrounding communities across America, he believes that we can better learn how to ameliorate both the experiences of Black students and citizens across the world (and how they respond to them).

“When we step aside and hear the voices and stories of underrepresented groups to understand their circumstances on a human level, we dramatically shift the dynamics of our community… in doing so, we unify, gain courage, and learn new ways to advance our fundamental humanity in ways that work for everyone.”

Meet Kielah Harbert and Wilglory Tanjong
L-R: Wilglory Tanjong; Kielah Harbert

Co-winners Kielah and Wilglory are also familiar with the importance of sharing and disseminating information as a way to empower marginalized students. After submitting their college applications, they realized that without the help of the Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America (LEDA), they may not have been able to successfully apply to universities around the country. This led them to wonder: do students who do not have the help of LEDA (but were just as qualified and worthy) have the resources that they needed to prepare and apply to college?  

#Admitted, Kielah and Wilglory’s new book, provides those resources. It offers information that is largely unavailable to socio-economically disadvantaged Black youth by serving as a guide that empowers, gives positive representation, and inspires readers to reach higher by providing them with the guidance they need to succeed. Additionally, the guide teaches students how to self-advocate, think critically, and navigate the many obstacles they will face as low-income students who care about education.

“In a world where Black youth are depicted as gangsters and thugs in mass media, and forgotten communities have little or no positive role models in positions of influence, #Admitted shifts the narrative. We show them, through positive representation, that they can be successful through education — we tell them, they can.” -- Kielah Harbert

How can you help?
Calvary encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your stories and experiences with activism and how they have tapped into untouched areas of social justice by utilizing people and/or organizations who have walked their paths before them. If you’d like more information on helping UMOJA, head to the request form.  Wilglory and Kielah urge you to buy copies of #Admitted for youth in your community, spread the word to others, have the duo speak to students, and lastly, support their summer "I Can Too" project.

Together with Calvary, Kielah and Wilglory, we can give voices and resources to all students both now and in the future.

My Path to Google: Adriana Jara, Software Engineer

Welcome to the second installment of our blog series “My Path to Google.” These are real stories from Googlers highlighting how they got to Google, what their roles are like, and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.

Today’s post is all about Adriana Jara. Read on!

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I grew up in a small rural town in Costa Rica called Candelaria de Naranjo. I grew up surrounded by coffee plantations and nature. I used to help my family during the harvests and always joke that in spite of knowing the coffee making process from bean to cup, I must be one of the very few software engineers who doesn’t drink coffee! After high school, I moved out of my small town to go to the Universidad de Costa Rica for college, where I graduated with a Bachelor in Computer Science.

Besides being a software engineer at Google, I'm a dancer. I've been doing contemporary dance for 12 years, and I also practice salsa and West African dance. Dance has helped me see the world from a different perspective. It helps me clear my head and make better decisions as an engineer.

What’s your role at Google?
I'm a software engineer. I recently transferred to the Shopping Syndication team, where I hope to make shopping ads outside of google.com more useful and less annoying!

What inspires you to come in every day?
The people I work with. I also thoroughly enjoy solving problems, especially problems that have impact on our users. It’s rewarding to work with so many inspiring people to help make our users’ lives easier. I'm excited about connecting people with opportunities, and sharing the advantages that our products bring to more users.

Can you tell us about your decision to enter the process?
It started with Gmail when I was in college. I very clearly remember opening my Gmail account and being so inspired by the people that changed how we do email (something that I thought was fine as it was). They made it so much more intuitive and effective that I remember thinking to myself “I want to work with people like that, people who don't take the status quo for granted, people who wonder how can we do better."

About 8 years later, I got the first email from an @google address (my recruiter’s) and got so excited about the chance to work with the people I had always admired. I never thought I could make it from my small town to the Googleplex. I never thought I would end up working in a place where you can impact millions of users around the world.

How did the recruitment process go for you?
I was super excited to even be in a Google office for the interviews, but at the same time, I was scared to death of the possibility of having to move by myself to a whole new country and start a different life. I remember my first phone interview didn’t go so well. At that point, I was losing hope, but got a surge of strength thinking “I’m a good engineer and I want to work at Google, but I’ll be fine even if it doesn’t work out.” The burst of confidence seems to have helped — I did well on my second interview, came onsite for interviews, and now I work here!

What do you wish you’d known when you started the process?
I had the perception that Google was only looking for geniuses who knew everything and could come up with the best solutions in minutes. I wish I could go back in time to tell myself how wrong that perception is—it would’ve definitely removed at least a bit of the pressure of the interviews.

Now as an interviewer myself, I’ve realized that Google engineering interviews are basically just conversations about solving problems. Essentially, they go like this: If we were to work on [x] problem together and given [y] set of tools, how would you approach it? Had I known that this is the actual approach, I think I would've been more relaxed going into the process.

Can you tell us more about the resources you used to prepare?
Various coding exercises, an algorithm class (there are a lot of those on Coursera and other education sites), and a whole lot of practice. I knew several people who were also interviewing and we shared resources we found, did 'code reviews' on challenges, and did mock interviews together.

I also absolutely loved the ’How To’ videos from the Life at Google channel on Youtube.

To finish, do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?
Don't be afraid to try! There is nothing to lose by trying. If you want to work at Google, go ahead and apply. Prepare yourself for the interviews by sharpening your knowledge of data structures, algorithms, and coding. If you try and fail, don’t give up! There are many factors that might lead to a failed round of interviews—everyone has bad days—so prepare yourself and try again.

Visit google.com/students to learn more about life at Google and our opportunities for students. Be sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and G+!