On December 10, IGNITE Worldwide welcomed girls and non-binary students to a virtual field trip to Google along with a panel discussion with women STEM professionals working at Google.
Yao Wu and Chrystal Day welcomed everyone and shared some background information on IGNITE and Google. Since we all couldn’t be together on the Google Headquarters campus, they showed a video for everyone to get a feel of the campus. Wow! It looked like so much fun, it’s hard to believe it’s a workplace. She got us all hungry by noting that food was a big part of Google culture!
Yao talked about the many reasons why a career in STEM was a great choice including great salaries and a large range of opportunities across many industries. Then, the panelists all took turns sharing their stories and why STEM is important to them:
Monica Caraway – UX Researcher at Google. She loves her job because she gets to make experiences better for customers. She listens to stories from customers and shares ideas with Google employees to make changes. Her advice was to jump right in to any opportunity, it doesn’t all have to be planned out right away.
Amina Mansour – Senior Cloud Solutions architect at Google. She started making video blogs and thought it would lead to being a TV presenter. She didn’t have a school that offered a major in that, but selected Business Information Systems which had STEM components. Then she started working as a software engineer and always wanted to work at Google. Now she is living out her dream. Her advice is don’t let anything limit you – take it one step at time.
Amy Venier – Works on Stadia (new product that supports Video Game publishing by Google partners). Women in gaming are rare, so she’s used to being the only woman in the room. She’s been at Google for 5 years. Her career was a windy road, but you learn a lot about yourself along the way.
Radha Mathur – Product Manager, Google Cloud. She wished someone told her that coding wasn’t the only way to succeed in a STEM career. There are other things you can do in Science and Technology with a good foundation of computer science. She’s a product manager and develops what should come next in her product.
After hearing the panelists’ stories, students got a chance to ask questions. They asked the panelists to talk about the perks at Google:
- Salary and health benefits.
- Lots of opportunities to take a break a relax during the day
- Cool places to socialize or to go and think
- Surprises around the office – like a lego wall!
- Surrounded by intelligent, friendly colleagues that you can learn from everyday
- Opportunities to learn new things inside and outside of work (like cooking)
- Events like “Take your kid to work day”
- Participating in outreach events like Ignite
Then the participants engaged in an activity where they got to collaborate on improvements to Google products (like Nest, Maps, You Tube, Gmail, and more) with Google employees. In breakout rooms, they were asked to say who the feature was for and the benefit. The students used their creativity and own experiences to come up with fantastic ideas. They were able to elaborate on the idea through brainstorming and even name their idea. Everyone had fun with this activity while using a real-world strategy in developing a product.
Finally, the panelists offered some inspirational thoughts.
- Stay true to yourself and your values
- You don’t have to be a coder to be in STEM. There are all sorts of careers in technology.
- It may not come as easy to you as other people, but If you work hard at it, you will succeed.
- Take advantage of clubs in your school and more IGNITE events!
For one of the schools, the virtual field trip was followed by a MESA (Math, Engineering, Science, Achievement) meeting. During the meeting, all the girls who attended the virtual field trip shared their project, offered to collaborate with other students, and started brainstorming about future projects. The teacher noted that the IGNITE Field Trip with Google inspired the students to become leaders. They were very confident in the space, this was not evident in previous MESA meetings.
Thank you to everyone for attending and asking such insightful questions, and thank you to:
Facilitators Yao Wu and Chrystal Day
Tech Host Joshua Encarnacion
Panelists Monica Caraway, Amina Mansour, Amy Venier, Radha Mathur,
Breakout Room leaders Erin Keats, Jenica Welch, Alexandra Bertagnolli, Emily Glanz, Poorva Arankalle, and Wenqin Chen
Thank you for being your amazing, authentic selves, and inspiring IGNITE girls everywhere!
After attending this event:
Here’s what the students thought of the event:
Learning what people do when working at Google inspired me because they all had different experiences getting to where they are now. I also enjoyed learning what Google Headquarters has to offer. Ex. cooking classes – 8th grade
I was inspired to be more confident in STEM-related classes. I also learned that you don’t have to know exactly what you want to do for a job at first. – 6th grade
I think when everyone was telling their stories it inspired me because they were talking about how they didn’t think they would be able to work at a company like Google, but they ended working for Google. – 8th grade
This event inspired me by allowing me to understand that it does not matter if I am not the smartest person, just that I have the courage to succeed. This event inspired me to believe in myself no matter hard it may be. Thank you so much for taking the time to teach us about STEM and inspire us into the idea of pursuing STEM. Even though I did not talk a lot today, I promise I learned a lot. – 8th grade
Today this event inspired me to follow my dreams and maybe one day get into STEAM. Also, it made me think more about the apps we use. – 6th grade
Today’s event inspired me because I heard all the panelist’s stories and how they got to google and in a STEM job. Hearing their stories made me realize that even though I am not that good at coding I can still do STEM jobs. – 7th grade
Today’s event inspired me by knowing the opportunities at Google and the things you could do there even if you are not good at it since you will meet other people. I also got inspired by knowing what to do there and trusting myself. -6th grade
This event helped me see other females who have a STEAM career, and made me more comfortable in possibly pursuing a STEAM career in the future. – 8th grade
Today’s event inspired me to think outside the box to solve problems. It also inspired me to discuss ideas I have more. – 6th grade
Today’s event inspired me to pursue my dreams, and what we can do to improve things with STEM. -6th grade
It inspired me even more that women took a stand in their community to show that they could do the same thing men could. I would like to shoutout Jenica for helping and giving our group multiple chances to communicate in our discussion. – 7th grade
Today´s event inspired me because it showed that no matter your gender you can pursue the career you want. I was also inspired because I now feel like I can live my dreams with hard work. – 7th grade
This event inspired me because it taught me that working in STEM can be fun and exciting. I learned that you don’t have to be amazing at coding to get a job in STEM. – 8th grade
Today’s event inspired me because STEM careers seem so much more attainable! I now know that you don’t have to be amazing at math to be in a STEM field, and that knowledge is such a comfort. – 8th grade
It was really inspiring to see people of color and women (and non-binaries) that work in this field on a daily basis and are breaking the stereotype every day that women can’t be in STEM. Thank you so much for sharing your story and for inspiring girls like me. It’s really cool to see people that do this as their job and are thriving at it. I had a wonderful time! – 8th grade