- How has your Google internship informed your experience as a woman in tech?
A week into my Google internship, I came to a realization: in our team of 30-40 people, there are only four women. Only two of those women (including me) are technical. This realization also came with perplexity. Why is it just that the observation feels drastic and my experience doesn’t reflect that? I’ve found that my co-workers always treat me with respect and I felt immediately welcomed. There is a tremendous support network in Google for women in tech, as I quickly noticed by attending GWE and by talking to my mentor about statistics around gender disparity. I’ve been incredibly humbled and grateful to be surrounded by a supportive community, but I’ve learned that the issue really doesn’t lie in outright sexist behavior or mistreatment (while that is definitely an issue elsewhere); the issue is the lack of opportunities presented to women in tech, the lack of resources and exposure for women to reach the goals that they would like. I am aware that I have received a lot of love and privilege through this Google internship and I would hope that other women in tech could have these same opportunities.
As a woman in tech, Google has readily equipped me with the tools to better myself as an engineer and as an individual working in industry by gaining self-confidence. I’ve also learned that these endeavors do not stop with me. When an issue such as closing the gender gap is so complex where it touches areas from education equity to portrayals on media, I think it is important for any of us with more opportunities to help those around us (and even those from other communities) and to expose tech to them. I think tech has so many far-reaching applications that it can positively impact, and I want to give those tools to as many people as possible.
- What do you hope to gain by attending GHC? How do you plan to share your GHC experience with your community (including your school community) after the conference?
Aside from the summer internships, I am always surrounded by people my age who are going through similar struggles of finding their passion and preparing themselves to navigate the real world. I see GHC as an opportunity to not only find a community of women in tech that encourages and uplifts one another, but also as an opportunity to hear testimonials from women in tech who are older and much wiser than I am. There is so much to learn from people who have been walking this world longer than I have, and I think mentorship is so valuable in providing a diversity of perspective that will better inform the decisions that I choose to make later on. I hope to build relationships with both peers and mentors during my time at GHC and bring back the lessons and stories that I learn to all of my communities, whether it be the community where tech is underappreciated or the community that advocates for women in tech but has lost sight of why it is important to have a support system for women in tech. I’ve become an avid blogger the past few years, and I see storytelling as one of the most powerful forms of conveyance and cathartic forms of communicating. I hope that in my last year in college, I will be able to bring in testimonials and even people that I may have encountered at GHC to tell their story in a less structured manner. Honestly, I feel strange trying to turn this into a concrete actionable item, but at the very least I can guarantee that the bonds and relationships I form at this conference will be beneficial to me and those around me to learn more about the glass ceiling, the challenges, and the good with being women in tech.