Tag Archives: Education

Doodle for Google is back for its 13th year

2020 was a challenging year for many of us. As a mother of three young children, it was filled with important conversations and loads of feelings as we took on distance learning, quarantining and even  changes like wearing masks. 

No one knew how to parent through a pandemic (that wasn’t in the handbook) but my family's chats kept coming back to the concept of being strong – for ourselves and for others. While nothing could have prepared us for the highs and lows of last year, we somehow managed to grow a little stronger. 

That idea of inner strength felt like a natural theme to bring into our 13th annual Doodle for Google contest: The 2021 contest theme is “I am strong because…”  We’re asking students to creatively share how they keep moving forward when things get tough. When you make mistakes or get scared, what helps you clear the clouds above your head? When people around you are feeling down, how do you use your inner strength to lift them up?

This year we have an impressive judging panel helping us to determine our 54 state and territory winners and five national finalists, one of whom will go on to be the national grand prize winner. Dav Pilkey, best-selling book author and illustrator (“Dog Man,” “Captain Underpants” and “Cat Kid Comic Club”), Grammy Award-winning producer and artist Peter CottonTale and 2020’s National Teacher of the Year Tabatha Rosproywill join us as guest judges. 

Inner strength is something all of our judges have relied on. As a child, our first guest judge Dav was diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD and was often sent out in the hallway during class. While alone in the hallway, he drew and created stories that evolved into his books. Today, his #1 bestselling “Dog Man” series has 40 million copies in print, has been translated into 40 languages and is being developed as a feature film by DreamWorks. Dav explores themes like kindness, courage, empathy and doing good in his unique graphic novels, and he recently created a series of read-aloud and how-to-draw videos to encourage kids to be creative. This led to the launch of “Dav Pilkey at Home,” a collaboration with the Library of Congress and Scholastic which provides free online content for kids and families during the pandemic lock down.

Our second guest judge, Chicago native Peter CottonTale, is a Grammy Award-winning producer, composer, musical director and artist. Peter is known for his collaborations with Chance the Rapper, whose historic Grammy Award-winning album “Coloring Book” Peter executive produced. In 2020, Peter independently released his debut album CATCH, and composed “Together” for Google’s 2020 Year in Search campaign, in close collaboration with the Chicago Children’s Choir. Through his music and leadership in the studio, Peter hopes to help people freely express what they believe and who they are. 

Our last guest judge, Tabatha Rosproy, is a 10-year veteran Kansas teacher and the first early childhood educator to be named National Teacher of the Year. She teaches in a preschool classroom housed in a local retirement community and nursing home. Her inclusive classroom is an intergenerational program that provides preschoolers and residents with multiple daily interactions. As the COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of school buildings across the country, Rosproy served as a co-chair of the educator task force that helped compile Kansas’s continuous education strategy. Rosproy hopes to bring a voice to the important role of early childhood education and to highlight the value of social-emotional education for all ages.

Today the 2021 Doodle for Google contest opens to students based in the U.S., Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and is open through Friday, February 26.  For more details on how to enter the contest, resources for educators and parents, as well the contest rules, head to our website. The winning artist will see their work on the Google homepage for a day, receive a $30,000 college scholarship and the winner’s school will receive a $50,000 technology grant. We can’t wait to see some strong Doodles!

Live captions come to Meet in four new languages

This year has marked a dramatic shift in how many of us work, learn and stay in touch with one another. And as many of us learn to embrace remote tools and virtual communication for the first time, it’s incredibly important to have inclusive, accessible and fair virtual meetings, whether you’re planning a return to the office, going fully remote or using a hybrid model, with some people together in person and some remote. 

For years, Google has focused on building products that help level the playing field. Google Meet, for example, uses speech-to-text technology to provide live captions in meetings; this helps participants who may be deaf or hard of hearing follow along and stay engaged. We introduced live captions in English last year, and starting today, we’re expanding live caption support to four additional languages: French, German, Portuguese (Brazil) and Spanish (Spain and Latin America).

More inclusive video calls

We know from our work with teachers and parents over the years how essential caption tools can be for students with learning disabilities, as well as English-language learners in both K-12 and higher education. Professional development experts often encourage the integration of this technology to make lessons more accessible, especially in the time of COVID-19. We’ve heard from Meet users about how helpful it can be to not only see who is speaking and view their expressions, but also read the text of what they are saying. By expanding live captions to more languages, we can help more students feel empowered to participate, and help more teachers share a space that is both accessible and inclusive. In addition, we’ve made captions settings “sticky,” so they’re even easier to use. This means that if you turn them on or off during a meeting, your preference will be saved, along with the chosen language, for future meetings.

Live captions in Spanish, French, German and Portuguese will begin rolling out to Meet web users across all editions starting today. Learn more about the rollout in our Google Workspace Updates blog.

Live captions in Meet in new languages

Making large meetings easier for more people

Earlier this year, we introduced breakout rooms in Meet to help educators create dedicated spaces for more focused discussions and track student engagement with attendance reports. We’ve continued to improve these experiences and have also made them available to more Google Workspace editions so that organizations can use group discussion formats. Below are the latest updates to these large meeting features that help organizations increase participation and engagement during a call. 

  • Breakout Rooms:A new countdown timer helps moderators keep everyone on task. Moderator requests call on the moderator to join a breakout room if participants need help or have a question, and dial-in participants and anonymous users can now participate in breakout rooms. 

  • Attendance Reports:Viewership data is now available for live streamed events like virtual all-hands meetings, and new advanced settings provide admins and hosts with additional controls over attendance reports.  

  • Hand raising:Participants can now let you know if they have a question or indicate that they would like to speak by raising their hand. In large meetings, this helps to increase participation while not disrupting the flow of the conversation and helps to prevent people from interrupting one another.

Staying connected over the holidays

As you turn to video to connect virtually with your loved ones this holiday season, Google Meet will continue to offer unlimited calls (up to 24 hours) in the free version through March 31, 2021 for Gmail accounts. This way, you can have enough time to keep up your holiday traditions virtually—and not get cut off before dessert.

Computer Science Education Week: More help for more students

Recent research shows that only 45 percent of U.S. schools offer computer science (CS) courses, and that Black, Latinx and Female students especially lack equitable access to a CS education.  So I beat the odds: I am a Black, female, computer engineer at Google.

Majoring in systems and CS at Howard University opened up so many opportunities in my life and career. Computing jobs are the number one source of new wages in the U.S.; clearly, these skills are becoming as important as reading and writing and we can’t afford to leave anyone out. Code with Google is our commitment to closing equity gaps in CS, and this year for Computer Science Education Week we're announcing two new initiatives to create more access.

 

Code Next goes virtual 

This year, as part of Code with Google’s portfolio of CS education programs, Code Next is expanding. Launched in 2015, Code Next offers free CS education with a focus on Black and Latinx high school students, providing the skills and inspiration they need for long and rewarding careers in computer science-related fields. Originally available only in New York and California, it’s expanded to 16 virtual clubs under a program called Code Next Connect.

Nadirah Pinney, a 2020 Code Next Oakland graduate, said she was reluctant to join the program at first because she wasn’t interested in CS. “I quickly learned to love the way that Code Next taught CS. It not only taught me lessons I didn’t think I could learn, it actually made me more comfortable with myself.” Having graduated from the program, Nadirah is now enrolled at San Jose State University where she’s studying to be a software engineer.  

Image shows two women sitting at a white desk talking over an open laptop. One woman has her back to the camera and is looking at the laptop screen, the other women is facing the camera, looking at the other woman, and smiling.

Nadirah working on a Code Next assignment alongside her Code Next coach Alyssa Lui.

Any student ages 14-18 can now apply to the virtual program starting in January 2021, with the ability to choose a CS-related curriculum track including game design, UX, hardware or intro to scripting. 

 

A new Google.org grant for the Scratch Foundation

We’re building on our work with the Scratch Foundation—a creative coding platform used by more than 2 million students—with a new $5 million dollar Google.org grant. Last year, Google supported Scratch and the Office of CS in Chicago Public Schools to host Family Creative Coding Nights at New Chance Fund elementary schools so that students and their families could come together and create using code.
A woman looks at a laptop that is sitting at a table while two young children gather around to look at the laptop as well. Everyone is smiling.

Champika Fernando (center) from the Scratch team at a Family Creative Coding Night.

The work in Chicago inspired Scratch to create the Scratch Education Collaborative (SEC)—a global network of community led organizations, providing high-quality resources and training, based on the Scratch coding platform, for educators and young people who are historically excluded from computing. Scratch is currently accepting new applications for the pilot year of the SEC; visit the website to see if your organization would be a good fit.

These new initiatives are a part of Google’s larger commitment to CS education. Since 2013, Google.org has given more than $80 million to organizations around the globe working to increase access to high quality CS learning opportunities.

If you’re an educator, make sure to check outCS First Unplugged—our first Hour of Code activity that can be used completely offline and without a computer to support a variety of learning environments. Happy #CSEdWeek, everyone.

Learn to code with Grasshopper, now in Spanish

Ver abajo versión en español

Since Grasshopper launched in 2018, one million people have spent at least one hour learning to code through our app. That’s approximately 114 years spent learning the fundamentals of coding. We’ve also run a number of academic studies on the effectiveness of Grasshopper, and found two insights: after two weeks of use, students are more motivated to learn to code. And while women tend to start off their Grasshopper journey feeling a bit more unsure about learning to code, we see that confidence gap between men and women decrease by 18 percent.

Grasshopper app in Spanish

Feedback in Spanish for one of our initial lessons.

With our beginner-centered learning environment, we guide students through quick, visual puzzles that teach key coding concepts like functions, loops and variables. Students build coding skills and gain confidence in their abilities as they progress through the curriculum.

With the launch of Grasshopper in Spanish, Spanish-speaking students will be able to read through the instructions, get support and receive feedback in their native language so they can learn to code without having to constantly translate from English. 

As technical skills continue to become more important for employers around the world, it is crucial that we continue to build learning tools for everyone. Skills like coding help people thrive in today's job market. According to Code.org, computing jobs are the number one source of new income in the US and they're projected to grow at twice the rate of other jobs.

If you’re ready to start learning to code, Grasshopper is available on Android, iOS and desktop in English, and now, por supuesto, in Spanish.


Desde el lanzamiento de Grasshopper en 2018, un millón de personas han pasado al menos una hora aprendiendo a programar a través de nuestra aplicación. ¡Esos son aproximadamente 114 años dedicados a aprender los fundamentos de la programación! Hoy, como parte de Crece con Google, estamos lanzando Grasshopper en español. 

También hemos llevado a cabo unos estudios académicos sobre la efectividad de Grasshopper y hemos encontrado dos resultados interesantes: mientras que las mujeres comienzan con el programa sintiéndose un poco más inseguras sobre aprender a codificar, vemos que la brecha en este sentido entre hombres y mujeres desciende al 18%.

Con nuestro entorno de aprendizaje centrado en principiantes, guiamos a los estudiantes a través de acertijos visuales rápidos que enseñan conceptos clave de programación como funciones, ciclos y variables. Los estudiantes desarrollan habilidades de programación y ganan confianza en ellas a medida que avanzan en el plan de estudios.

Con el lanzamiento de Grasshopper en español, los estudiantes podrán leer las instrucciones, obtener apoyo y recibir comentarios en su idioma materno para que puedan aprender a programar sin tener que traducir constantemente del inglés.

A medida que las habilidades técnicas continúan siendo más importantes para los empleadores de todo el mundo, es fundamental que sigamos creando herramientas de aprendizaje para todos. Habilidades como la programación ayudan a las personas a prosperar en el mercado laboral actual. Según Code.org, los trabajos de informática son la principal fuente de nuevos ingresos en los EE. UU. Y se prevé que crezcan al doble de la tasa de otros trabajos.

Si estás listo para comenzar a aprender a programar, Grasshopper está disponible en Android, iOS y dispositivos de escritorio en inglés, y ahora, por supuesto, en español.

Learn to code with Grasshopper, now in Spanish

Ver abajo versión en español

Since Grasshopper launched in 2018, one million people have spent at least one hour learning to code through our app. That’s approximately 114 years spent learning the fundamentals of coding. We’ve also run a number of academic studies on the effectiveness of Grasshopper, and found two insights: after two weeks of use, students are more motivated to learn to code. And while women tend to start off their Grasshopper journey feeling a bit more unsure about learning to code, we see that confidence gap between men and women decrease by 18 percent.

Grasshopper app in Spanish

Feedback in Spanish for one of our initial lessons.

With our beginner-centered learning environment, we guide students through quick, visual puzzles that teach key coding concepts like functions, loops and variables. Students build coding skills and gain confidence in their abilities as they progress through the curriculum.

With the launch of Grasshopper in Spanish, Spanish-speaking students will be able to read through the instructions, get support and receive feedback in their native language so they can learn to code without having to constantly translate from English. 

As technical skills continue to become more important for employers around the world, it is crucial that we continue to build learning tools for everyone. Skills like coding help people thrive in today's job market. According to Code.org, computing jobs are the number one source of new income in the US and they're projected to grow at twice the rate of other jobs.

If you’re ready to start learning to code, Grasshopper is available on Android, iOS and desktop in English, and now, por supuesto, in Spanish.


Desde el lanzamiento de Grasshopper en 2018, un millón de personas han pasado al menos una hora aprendiendo a programar a través de nuestra aplicación. ¡Esos son aproximadamente 114 años dedicados a aprender los fundamentos de la programación! Hoy, como parte de Crece con Google, estamos lanzando Grasshopper en español. 

También hemos llevado a cabo unos estudios académicos sobre la efectividad de Grasshopper y hemos encontrado dos resultados interesantes: mientras que las mujeres comienzan con el programa sintiéndose un poco más inseguras sobre aprender a codificar, vemos que la brecha en este sentido entre hombres y mujeres desciende al 18%.

Con nuestro entorno de aprendizaje centrado en principiantes, guiamos a los estudiantes a través de acertijos visuales rápidos que enseñan conceptos clave de programación como funciones, ciclos y variables. Los estudiantes desarrollan habilidades de programación y ganan confianza en ellas a medida que avanzan en el plan de estudios.

Con el lanzamiento de Grasshopper en español, los estudiantes podrán leer las instrucciones, obtener apoyo y recibir comentarios en su idioma materno para que puedan aprender a programar sin tener que traducir constantemente del inglés.

A medida que las habilidades técnicas continúan siendo más importantes para los empleadores de todo el mundo, es fundamental que sigamos creando herramientas de aprendizaje para todos. Habilidades como la programación ayudan a las personas a prosperar en el mercado laboral actual. Según Code.org, los trabajos de informática son la principal fuente de nuevos ingresos en los EE. UU. Y se prevé que crezcan al doble de la tasa de otros trabajos.

Si estás listo para comenzar a aprender a programar, Grasshopper está disponible en Android, iOS y dispositivos de escritorio en inglés, y ahora, por supuesto, en español.

Expanding Google Arts and Culture with Expeditions

When I first joined Google 13 years ago, I was most excited by the company's sense of exploration and possibility. Search allowed you to look up nearly any fact in the world and Maps helped you find even the most remote destination. That spirit of possibility also led to the launch of Google Expeditions, a virtual reality (VR) tool designed to bring the world into every classroom. With this product, educators took students on new adventures to experience far-away places, travel back in time or learn about cultures unlike their own. It has been truly magical to see how educators and students alike incorporated our VR tours into their imaginative curriculums.

Engaging students in the classroom has taken on an entirely different meaning this year. As schools around the world reimagine education from the ground up for a hybrid world, we’ve also been thinking deeply about how to adjust our tools to meet the moment and simultaneously build for the future. We’ve heard and recognize that immersive experiences with VR headsets are not always accessible to all learners and even more so this year, as the transition to hybrid learning has presented challenges for schools to effectively use Expeditions.

Virtual field trips on Google Arts & Culture

Virtual field trips on Google Arts & Culture

Many schools and families use Google Arts & Culture, Google’s free initiative to bring the world’s art and culture online, to experience museums, heritage sites and wonders of the world from their classrooms and homes. To continue to add to the collection, and make Expeditions 360 tours available to everyone, we're migrating most of them to Google Arts & Culture, accessible from the free site as well as the app on iOS or Android, where users can view the tours in 360 or on the web from any device. As Arts & Culture will offer many of the Expeditions tours, we'll no longer support the Expeditions app, and the app will no longer be available to download after June 30, 2021.

With the transition to the Google Arts & Culture platform, educators and students will find a vast array of culturally enriching content from around the world with collections on Natural History, Black History and Culture, the road to equality for women’s rights, and other topics like invention and discovery or fashion. Google Arts & Culture is continuing to expand its augmented reality (AR) content using interactive camera features, such as Art Filter and Art Transfer, that help you learn about cultural artifacts in new and engaging ways that would otherwise not be possible to create in the physical world.

We hope this product evolution to Google Arts & Culture will provide educators with a bridge to continue to use immersive content to transform their classrooms and enrich the learning experience for their students. As always, we’ll continue to share updates, user tips and gather feedback, and we look forward to continuing our support for the educational journeys of people around the world.

Technology can help facilitate courageous conversations

In my classroom, making connections with students was at the center of my teaching practice and became vital for student success.  Educators are not monolithic. We are counselors, caregivers, social workers and student advocates. As the lines between school and home have blurred, guardians also play those roles in supporting their child with hybrid or distance learning. Teachers in school and families at home are looking for resources to communicate with their students and children about the world around them. Through the use of Google tools and apps and content from our partners, educators and families can begin to have these courageous conversations. 

Google tools can help you connect with students

Use Google Forms for daily mood check-ins, Google Meetto connect one-on-one with students, or younger students can use Google Drawings or Jamboard to illustrate how they’re feeling. For lesson plans and resources, check out Be Internet Awesome for online safety, and G Suite for Education additional services like Applied Digital Skills for lessons for educators on well-being, and Blogger as a journaling tool for students to channel their emotions and communicate how they are feeling. The Google Teacher Center offers a free training module with tips to foster creative community building whether teaching in-person or remotely. Families can also head to Google's digital wellbeing page for guides and resources for managing screen time and talking about digital wellbeing, as well as social-emotional learning (SEL). 

These apps can help, too

Chromebook apps like Classcraft, ClassDojo, Peppy Pals, Wisdom - Kingdom of Anger, and Headspace help students learn how to express their emotions, and apply what they’ve learned in school to their lives outside the classroom. You can find all of these apps on the Chromebook App Hub, along with great ideas on how to use apps like Adobe Spark for social-emotional learning. Additionally, Sanford Harmony has a curriculum designed to support social emotional learning to develop students into compassionate and caring adults.

Creating space to have courageous conversations

Many educators are finding it challenging to have conversations about social justice or racial inequity with students, especially while remote learning. There are many great resources out there from Google partners, including NEA EdJustice’s guide on creating space to talk about race or Tolerance.org’s empathy through critical discussion and listening are great places to start.  These resources can foster understanding and support as students process complex societal issues. There are also many book recommendations and conversation guides from The Conscious Kid to help facilitate hard conversations and talks about identity.

 

Advice and resources from educators around the world

It’s also important for educators to lean on their community right now, as they’re impacted by these changes and are responsible for talking to their students about them. You can join a Google Educator Group, a global group of educators who share best practices and ideas. We’re also hosting Twitter chats to bring educators around the world together, including one today at 3pm PST on social-emotional learning with Dwayne Reed

More ideas for social emotional learning

If you’re looking for more ideas for improving student SEL, visit the website forCASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning), which offers resources such as webinars, more on Common Sense Media's app recommendations, and Lalilo’s SEL Lessons and Activities for Distance Learning. You can watch our webinar on SEL, and visit Teach from Anywhere, Google’s hub of information and tools to help teachers during COVID-19.

$10 million to increase diversity in Bay Area STEM classrooms

Editor's Note:This guest post comes from Dr. Allison Scott, Chief Research Officer of the Kapor Center, a nonprofit aiming to increase diversity and inclusion in technology.


Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (also known as STEM) play a critical role in our society, touching every aspect of our lives. STEM occupations are among the fastest-growing and highest-paying, and contribute significantly to our nation’s economy. To get students on track for STEM careers, they have to start early: students who take advanced STEM courses in high school are much more likely to major in equivalent subjects in college and specifically, Black and Latinx students who take advanced Computer Science (CS) in high school are 7-8 times more likely to major in CS in college. 


AP Stem

But unfortunately, access to advanced STEM and CScourses is not evenly distributed. Low-income students and students of color across California are less likely to have access to computer science courses than their peers, and as a result, students of color are underrepresented across every AP® math, science, and CS course in California. But we can change these trends.

AP Stem

With a $10 million contribution from Google.org, we’re launching the Rising STEM Scholars Initiative to increase the number of low income students and students of color in AP STEM and CS courses across the Bay Area. Through a partnership with Equal Opportunity Schools, UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education, Kingmakers of Oakland, Donorschoose.org, we’ll collaborate with districts, schools, administrators, educators, students and families to place and support 3,000 students of color and low income students in Bay Area AP STEM and CS classrooms. The project started last year in 15 schools across the Bay Area. Within the first year, the number of Black and LatinX students taking AP STEM classes doubled. 

The Rising STEM Scholars initiative will address the challenges in STEM and CS equity by providing data insights on equity gaps, coaching schools to address these gaps, and providing professional development opportunities for teachers. We’ll also provide money for educators to get resources for their classrooms and find ways to inspire students to take AP courses.

Students sitting in high school classrooms right now have the potential to become future leaders in fields from technology to education—they just need the opportunities to get there. Let’s ensure all students in the Bay Area have access to the classes they need to succeed. If you’re located in the Bay Area, help us spread the word to join the movement


Investing in the next generation of NY tech talent

New York City is my home. I’m a proud graduate and parent of three children in the New York City public school system, and I chose to stay and build my career here. Twelve years ago, after a career on Wall Street, I joined Google and currently serve as Chief Information Officer (CIO) and co-site lead for Google’s growing New York campus. Like me, Google has been fortunate to call New York home and is committed to connecting students, teachers and job seekers to the local tech economy. 


Today, as part of Google’s commitment to the continued growth of our city’s current and future tech workforce, Google.org is announcing $3.5 million in grants to three local organizations: Pursuit, ExpandEd Schools and CS4All


Supporting organizations like these is especially important as the COVID-19 pandemic has unearthed unsettling truths about equity and access to resources, especially in underserved communities of color. As we navigate the short and long term effects of the pandemic, we must come together to create equitable solutions that meet the needs of the moment and provide a strong foundation for the future. This starts by making sure every New Yorker has access to a quality education and the training and resources needed for in-demand jobs—these grantees are working to make this possible. 


Pursuit: Connecting New Yorkers to careers in tech 

Pursuit creates economic opportunity for adults from low-income communities by training them to code and build careers in technology. Their fellows come from groups that are historically underrepresented in tech and are made up of majority Black or Latino people, women, immigrants and those without Bachelor’s degrees. Upon completing the fellowship, they go on to work at top tech companies, increasing their salaries from $18,000 to $85,000 on average. With $2 million in funding from Google.org, Pursuit will build on its work to remove systemic barriers preventing low-income communities from accessing careers in technology and connect 10,000 New Yorkers with jobs in the tech industry. 

 

ExpandEd Schools: Supporting after-school educators  

ExpandEdsupports a strong after-school system that enables students to thrive and educators to grow. Google.org's $1 million investment in ExpandED Pathways Fellowship Computer Science (CS) track will empower aspiring teachers of color from underserved communities to fulfill their professional goals through a 10-month after-school teaching practicum. Ultimately, this will help increase the number of diverse CS educators in New York City and nationwide.


CS4All: Sustaining Computer Science education in public schools

Computer Science for All (CS4All) began in 2015 as an innovative public-private partnership with the NYC Department of Education to train 5,000 teachers and bring equitable CS education to all 1.1 million public school students in NYC by 2025. As the program hits its halfway point, Google.org is providing $500,000 to fund their CS Leads program facilitated by the Fund for Public Schools. This will help provide more than 200 teachers with a comprehensive leadership training program focused on equity in CS education, peer coaching and in-school leadership.


The creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of New Yorkers is one of the reasons Google calls this city home. And I’m proud that the work we do helps nurture that spirit. Whether it’s standing alongside 26 CEOs from the largest employers in New York to launch the New York Jobs CEO Council with the goal of hiring 100,000 traditionally underserved New Yorkers by 2030, committing to additional hiring efforts focused on Black+ talent in NY or developing alternative pathways into the workforce, we believe tech should be for everyone and we’re committed to making that a reality. 


exploreCSR puts students on a path to computer science research

Nimeesha Chan is looking for “a-ha” moments. She’s a student at the University of Illinois at Chicago studying computer science (CS), and equates it to connecting dots between different concepts, like “keeping wires and spare parts to repurpose them to fix something else.” Last year she attended a workshop hosted by exploreCSR awardee Dr. Shanon Reckinger.

exploreCSR funds faculty to host workshops for undergraduates from underrepresented groups in order to encourage them to pursue CS research. As part of Google’s commitments to racial equity in education, we’ve provided exploreCSR awards to 50 institutions around the world for the 2020 academic year. In 2018 and 2019, an average of 59 percent of students surveyed by exploreCSR identified as women of color. In 2020, 89 percent of U.S. and Canada awardees plan to engage Black and Latinx students. 

Here’s what Nimeesha had to say about what she learned from the exploreCSR workshop and what’s next for her journey in computer science research.

A group of young women collaborate on a project.

Nimeesha, second from left, and peers collaborate on a computer science research project at the University of Illinois Chicago 2019 exploreCSR workshop.

What did you take away from the workshop?

I learned how non-linear the path to research is. Some go straight to graduate school, and some go into industry first. Some know exactly what they want to explore, and some figure it out along the way. Engaging with the faculty members, graduate students and alumni who shared their journeys made applying to graduate school a lot less daunting, and a much more tangible path to pursue. The common denominator is a drive to push beyond what we already know, and make improvements and new discoveries, and I am so inspired by that. I also made new friends who I can both lean on and support as we get through college together!


What are you looking forward to in the year ahead?

Working on two research projects, learning to be more effective at tutoring our Data Structures class, and doing more work to support underrepresented groups in CS. The pandemic, as unfortunate as it is, has stimulated major growth in data-driven medical research, both in industry and academia, and I am so excited to be a part of that space when I graduate next spring. 


What advice do you have for others curious to start their journey in CS research?

Do something today! Schedule a meeting or send an email to your CS professor or TA, share your interests, and ask about their research and resources they would recommend looking into. Alternatively, pick a random tech talk/event to attend, whether in or out of school, or online, and explore current research. The earlier you start, the more holistic your view of the field will be, and you may be surprised at what you discover!


Congratulations to the faculty across 50 institutions who received our 2020 exploreCSR awards. We look forward to the opportunities this year’s awardees provide to students like Nimeesha, influencing a diversity of future CS researchers to shape our world for the better.