Tag Archives: students

My Path to Google: Keawe Block, Staffing Lead

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I was born in Monterey, California, and was raised in a city called Marina, down in the Central Coast of California. My three brothers and I were all raised by a single mother. We never had much, but my mother always found a way to make sure we had enough.

I attended Long Beach City College and played sports year-round, specifically football and track and field. I didn't have the best grades, but my track coach fought hard to get me into UCLA and after my 2nd year, I was offered a partial scholarship there. I eventually lost that (very small) partial scholarship, which left me unable to afford a food card or housing in the UCLA dorms, so I had to move off campus. During this time, I bounced around from sleeping on friends’ couches, sleeping on campus, and even sleeping in my car. I then had to take out more loans to pay for school, and somehow managed to make up classes and earn my degree in History with a focus on the colonization of the Pacific Islands in 2009.

I'm now married and have two beautiful sons. When I'm not working, I love playing sports with my kids, snowboarding, and am a passionate amateur cinematographer. Also, between my brothers and I, we've established a "Creative Collective" called "Hereaux" (HERO). We're also working on establishing a non-profit that is focused on developing, mentoring, and keeping kids creative.

What’s your role at Google?
I'm currently a Channels Specialist Team Lead, focusing on diversity in tech. Our team was established five years ago, and I've been able to have the opportunity to work on/with this team since its inception. We focus on hiring underrepresented engineers in tech. One of the cool projects I'm working on is up-skilling our partners throughout Google on what my team does and how we can scale that to ensure that we're looking for talent with the right lens.

What inspires you to come in every day?
I work with an amazing team, and coming in everyday to tackle the diversity issue within tech is beyond inspiring and gratifying. I'm extremely passionate about diversity and equal opportunity for all. I grew up in very diverse areas — Marina and Seaside, and Long Beach, where I went to junior college. When I first stepped foot onto UCLA’s campus, it was the first time I felt like a minority and began my interest and work on supporting/working with underrepresented communities. At Google, we're tackling this diversity issue. We were the first to release our diversity numbers and the first to identify that we have a problem that we want to solve. So coming in everyday, knowing that my work is changing lives and changing the landscape of not only Google, but the entire tech industry, is very inspiring.

My mom has had the same job for 20+ years and has never once gotten a raise because she doesn't have a degree. If I can help people who have non-traditional backgrounds get into Google, I get a sense of accomplishment doing what I wish someone could have done for my mom years ago.

Can you tell us about your decision to enter the process?
I've never in my life thought about applying to Google. When I graduated college in 2009, I had no idea what the tech industry was about and never even considered opportunities to be available at Google. I always looked at Google like some magic entity that was impossible to work at. My resume wasn't impressive. I was unable to gain any viable experience because of sports, as well as me needing to take random jobs to support myself through school. All of this meant I wasn't appealing to companies. I finally was able to get a job with a car rental company and worked there for about two years, but I was miserable and found myself depressed.

During that time, I had a friend that worked here at Google, and he wanted to put my resume in for opportunities. Again, I knew nothing about Google and didn't think someone like me could work here. I continued to turn down his offer until one day I had a bit of a meltdown and knew I needed a change.

My decision to enter the process, even though I thought I'd never end up here, was the best decision I could've made. You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. Just ask Wayne Gretzky.

How did the recruitment process go for you?
I called the friend I mentioned and asked him to put my resume in. Two weeks later, I interviewed, and a week after that I accepted an offer and moved my family up to the Bay Area. The job was for a recruiting coordinator position, which is an entry level role for staffing.

What do you wish you’d known when you started the process?
I wish that I understood more about Google, the tech industry, and how staffing/recruiting works overall. I came into the interview process and into Google extremely green. Growing up where I did and enduring the struggles that I did, thinking beyond what I initially thought I could accomplish wasn't something I was used to doing. I was a product of my environment and while I aspired to be successful in life, I never took the time to invest into what I assumed was impossible.

To finish, do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?

The tech industry overall, and especially Google, is changing in many ways. What we historically looked for in candidates, the "traditional backgrounds" is becoming a thing of the past. There is a large emphasis on diversity in all aspects. Demographic diversity, diversity of thought, of experience, of background, etc. We understand now more than ever, that we need to look beyond what we know will work, in order to find true talent. We're focused on ensuring that our workforce is representative of the communities that we operate in and that isn't a staffing-only goal; it’s a goal for all of Google.

After a "close call," a coding champion

Cross-posted on The Keyword

Eighteen-year-old Cameroon resident Nji Collins had just put the finishing touches on his final submission for the Google Code-In competition when his entire town lost internet access. It stayed dark for two months.

“That was a really, really close call,” Nji, who prefers to be called Collins, tells the Keyword, adding that he traveled to a neighboring town every day to check his email and the status of the contest. “It was stressful.”

Google’s annual Code-In contest, an effort to introduce teenagers to the world of open source, invites high school students from around the world to compete. It’s part of our mission to encourage and inspire the next generation of computer scientists, and in turn, the contest allows these young people to play a role in building real technologies.

Over the course of the competition, participants complete open-source coding and design “tasks” administered by an array of tech companies like Wikimedia and OpenMRS. Tasks range from editing webpages to updating databases to making videos; one of Collins’ favorites, for example, was making the OpenMRS home page sensitive to keystrokes. This year, more than 1,300 entrants from 62 countries completed nearly 6,400 assignments.

While Google sponsors and runs the contest, the participating tech organizations, who work most closely with the students, choose the winners. Those who finish the most tasks are named finalists, and the companies each select two winners from that group. Those winners are then flown to San Francisco, CA for an action-packed week involving talks at the Googleplex in Mountain View, office tours, segway journeys through the city, and a sunset cruise on the SF Bay.
Collins with some of the other winners from Google Code-in 2016
“It’s really fun to watch these kids come together and thrive,” says Stephanie Taylor, Code-In’s program manager. “Bringing together students from, say, Thailand and Poland because they have something in common: a shared love of computer science. Lifelong friendships are formed on these trips.”

Indeed, many Code-In winners say the community is their main motivator for joining the competition. “The people are what brought me here and keep me here,” says Sushain Cherivirala, a Carnegie Mellon computer science major and former Code-In winner who now serves as a program mentor. Mentors work with Code-In participants throughout the course of the competition to help them complete tasks and interface with the tech companies.
Google Code-in winners on the Google campus
Code-In also acts as an accessible introduction to computer science and the open source world. Mira Yang, a 17-year-old from New Jersey, learned how to code for the first time this year. She says she never would have even considered studying computer science further before she dabbled in a few Code-In tasks. Now, she plans to major in it.
Google Code-in winners Nji Collins and Mira Yang

“Code-In changed my view on computer sciences,” she says. “I was able to learn that I can do this. There’s definitely a stigma for girls in CS. But I found out that people will support you, and there’s a huge network out there.”

That network extended to Cameroon, where Collins’ patience and persistence paid off as he waited out his town’s internet blackout. One afternoon, while checking his email a few towns away, he discovered he’d been named a Code-In winner. He had been a finalist the year prior, when he was the only student from his school to compete. This year, he’d convinced a handful of classmates to join in.

“It wasn’t fun doing it alone; I like competition,” Collins, who learned how to code by doing his older sister’s computer science homework assignments alongside her, says. “It pushes me to work harder.”

Learn more about the annual Code-In competition.

By Carly Schwartz, Editor-in-Chief, Google Internal News

Google Travel Grant Application: 2017 Grace Hopper Conference — Apply Now!

As part of Google's ongoing commitment to increase the number of women in engineering, we are excited to offer travel grants to the 2017 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference taking place in Orlando, FL from October 4-6. Once again, this year’s conference will offer incredible opportunities for mentoring, networking and career development.

University students and industry professionals in the US and Canada who are excelling in computer science and passionate about supporting women in tech can apply for a travel grant to attend the 2017 Grace Hopper conference.

The Grace Hopper Travel Sponsorship includes:
  • Conference registration
  • Round trip flight to Orlando, FL (from within the US or Canada)
  • Reimbursement for ground transportation to and from the airport and the hotel
  • Arranged hotel accommodations from October 3-7
  • $75 USD reimbursement for miscellaneous travel costs
  • A fun event specifically for travel grant recipients on one of the evenings of the conference!

Please apply here by Monday, July 17. The Grace Hopper Travel Sponsorship winners will be announced by mid-August.

For questions, please email ghctravelgrant@google.com.

Attention Graduates! Take Your Content With You When You Graduate

Graduation is an exciting time: You’re packing everything up and starting your next chapter in life. Still, it can be stressful if you’re trying to download and save all of your digital files before you leave school.

We’ve got your back with a new tool that makes it easy to copy and transfer the emails and content you created with G Suite for Education to a personal Google Account. From term papers you spent months writing to email threads with classmates, you can move it all to your personal account before you graduate, in less time that it takes to pack the car. Just a heads up that his tool is only available if your school administrator has allowed it and you can learn more about that here.

GraduationGIF (3).gif

All you need to transfer your content is a personal Google Account. Don’t have one? Visit accounts.google.com/SignUp to create one for free now.

Move your digital life in a few clicks
After you log into your school account, go to the transfer tool. There, you’ll be asked for your personal Gmail address so that the tool can transfer everything over to your own Google Account. Your Google Account’s free Gmail address will be your username followed by @gmail.com.

After you’ve provided your personal Gmail account address, copying and transferring your email and content is a snap -- just follow these four easy steps:
  1. Select “Get code.”
  2. Check your personal Gmail inbox for a confirmation email from Google. In the email, select “Get confirmation code.” A new tab will open with your code.
  3. Return to the Transfer tool page (make sure you’re still logged into your school account) and enter the code from your Gmail account, then choose “Verify.”
  4. Choose the content you'd like to transfer, then select “Start transfer.”
If you want to transfer files that were shared with you (but that you don’t own), add those files to Drive on your school account so they can be transferred with the rest of your files. We suggest you do this before beginning your transfer.  
After you’ve started the transfer process, your files may start appearing in your personal Google Account within a few hours, but may take up to a week. When everything’s been moved over, you’ll get an email at your personal Gmail address telling you it’s all done. Got questions? Check out this handy Help Center article.

We hope this helps you take your schoolwork and digital memories with you as you head into the wide world that awaits after graduation. Congrats — we look forward to hearing about all the amazing things you'll do next!

My Path to Google: Job Wiley, Director of Immersive Design

Welcome to the third 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 Jon Wiley. Read on!

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m a native of Austin, TX, where I received a degree in Theatre from the University of Texas. While performing improv and sketch comedy on Austin's famous Sixth Street, instead of waiting tables I honed my web design skills. Eventually that paid the bills better than comedy and, following several years of professional design experience, I convinced Google to hire me in 2006.

What’s your role at Google?
I'm the Director of Immersive Design for Google. I lead the team of UX (user experience) designers, UX researchers, and UX engineers in creating great products for VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality). Our team is responsible for things like Google Cardboard, Tilt Brush, Earth VR, Tango, JUMP cameras, Google Expeditions, and the Daydream VR platform and Daydream View VR headset.

What inspires you to come in every day?
Time is our most precious resource and it's nearly impossible to get more. I think the ultimate goal of technology is to give people more choices about how they can spend their time. I see the work I do at Google as expanding that choice. For example, before working on VR I worked on Google Search. With Search, if we could provide a better answer, faster, we could give back a little bit of time to that person — time they could use for other important things. With VR and AR, I think we can (within a decade or so) dramatically improve people's productivity with computers, thus giving them back quite a bit of time.

Can you tell us about your decision to enter the application process with Google?
I'd been designing for Web for nearly a decade when I decided to apply to Google. It had never really occurred to me that I could work at a company like Google, but I realized it didn't hurt to apply.

Once I started going through the process (building up my portfolio and resume), I realized that I actually had a lot to offer. So I approached the interviews confident that I had what it takes, but also thinking it was a long shot anyway. I took the application very seriously, but I was pretty sure I wouldn't get it even so.

Part of my doubt was that I didn’t feel strictly qualified. The role typically called for a degree in computer science or human-computer interaction. I had a degree in theater. I knew I had the skills and experience, but I lacked the degree. And I wasn't sure how strongly Google felt about that.
How did the recruitment process go for you?
Everything went about the way I expected from having read about it. Short phone call with a Googler, a design exercise, surprise at being invited to interview in person, interviewing with several Googlers.

Early on I was asked for my GPA. My GPA was not good (under 3.0) so I sent it along, but I also wrote what amounted to an essay on why my GPA was low. I'd spent much of my time in college creating and building independent and successful things. For example, I co-created what was, at the time, the world's largest improv and sketch comedy festival. I wanted to show that I was much more than a score.

I never heard if that essay made a difference or not. Probably didn't hurt. :) Today, GPA isn't nearly as emphasized as it was when I was hired 10 years ago because we've learned that there are much better signals.

One other thing — my last interview of the day was really difficult. The interviewer asked some very challenging questions. I left feeling like I'd done well right up until the end, then bombed. It was stressful. But then I reminded myself that I'd never dreamed I'd have gotten as far as I did in the process and I went and had a cheeseburger at In-N-Out and felt much better.

What do you wish you’d known when you started the process?
I read every single thing I could about the interview process before I went through it, so there were no surprises.

Do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?
My very best interviews, both as the interviewer and interviewee, have always been when we get on a topic that the interviewee is very excited about (that's relevant to the role). Google is a good place for folks who are really, really interested/excited about a thing and can basically talk forever about it. I think that's what ultimately got me the job and why I've been successful - I'm just super excited about the details, tools, and challenges of user experience design.

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+!

Google Summer of Code 2017 statistics part 2

Now that Google Summer of Code (GSoC) 2017 is under way with students in their first full week of the coding period we wanted to bring you some more statistics on the 2017 program. Lots and lots of numbers follow:


Students are working with 201 organizations (the most we’ve ever had!) of which 39 are participating in GSoC for the first time.

Student Registrations

Over 20,651 students from 144 countries registered for the program, which is an 8.8% increase over the previous high for the program.

Project Proposals

4,764 students from 108 countries submitted a total of 7,089 project proposals.

Gender breakdown

11.4% of accepted students are women. We are always interested in making our programs and open source more inclusive. Please contact us if you know of organizations we should work with to spread the word about GSoC to underrepresented groups.


The 1,318 students accepted into the GSoC 2017 program hailed from 575 universities, of which 142 have students participating for the first time in GSoC.

Top 10 schools by students accepted for GSoC 2017 

University Name Country Accepted Students
International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad India 39
Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani (BITS Pilani) India 37
Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur India 31
University of Moratuwa Sri Lanka 24
Delhi Technological University India 23
Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani, Goa Campus India 18
Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee India 18
Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay India 15
LNM Institute of Information Technology India 15
TU Munich/Technische Universität München Germany 14

Another post with stats on our GSoC mentors will be coming soon!

Stephanie Taylor, Google Open Source

Google Summer of Code 2017 statistics: Part one

Since 2005 Google Summer of Code (GSoC) has been bringing new developers into the open source community every year. GSoC 2017 is the largest to date with 1,318 students from 72 countries accepted into the program who are working with a record 201 open source organizations this summer.

Students are currently participating in the Community Bonding phase of the program where they become familiar with the open source communities they will be working with. They also spend time learning the codebase and the community’s best practices so they can start their 12 week coding projects on May 30th.

Each year we like to share program statistics as we see GSoC continue to expand all over the world. This year there are three students that are the first to be accepted into GSoC from their home countries: Qatar, Tajikistan and Zimbabwe. A complete list of accepted students and their countries is below:

Country Students Country Students Country Students
Argentina 3 Ghana 1 Qatar 1
Armenia 1 Greece 29 Romania 11
Australia 6 Hungary 6 Russian Federation 54
Austria 13 India 569 Saudi Arabia 1
Bangladesh 2 Indonesia 2 Serbia 3
Belarus 3 Ireland 5 Singapore 10
Belgium 6 Israel 2 Slovak Republic 6
Bosnia and Herzegovina 1 Italy 23 Slovenia 2
Brazil 21 Jamaica 1 South Africa 2
Bulgaria 4 Japan 13 South Korea 8
Cameroon 8 Kazakhstan 1 Spain 19
Canada 27 Kenya 1 Sri Lanka 54
China 49 Latvia 1 Sweden 8
Colombia 1 Lithuania 2 Switzerland 5
Costa Rica 1 Macedonia 1 Taiwan 1
Croatia 1 Mexico 1 Tajikistan 1
Czech Republic 6 Moldova 1 Turkey 11
Denmark 2 Netherlands 14 Ukraine 12
Ecuador 2 New Zealand 1 United Arab Emirates 1
Egypt 10 Nigeria 1 United Kingdom 16
Estonia 1 Pakistan 8 United States 126
Finland 4 Peru 1 Uruguay 1
France 20 Poland 19 Vietnam 4
Germany 55 Portugal 10 Zimbabwe 1

In our next GSoC statistics post we will delve deeper into the schools, gender breakdown, mentors and registration numbers for the 2017 program.

Stephanie Taylor, Google Open Source

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.

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 Contest 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.