Selected as a 2014 Google Anita Borg Scholar, I was awarded a $10,000 scholarship and offered the opportunity to attend the annual Google Scholar’s Retreat. Google offers scholarships to female, veterans, disabled and other underrepresented students studying computer science in both undergraduate and graduate institutions. I’d definitely encourage Scrippsies to apply! I was actually quite surprised to know that I was selected, because I know many intelligent, well-qualified candidates from Pomona and CMC applied and only made it to the finalist round. This is an amazing opportunity and I am glad that I am representing Scripps in the community of scholars. The scholar’s retreat is a 4 day all expense paid event hosted at Google’s headquarter in Mountain View, CA.
We started the first day with ice breakers, welcome speech and some social activities. The second day consists of panel from previous scholars, technical workshops, brainstorming activities to bring back to our campuses, and a tour of Google. The third and fourth day are hackathon, a long period of programming to build something cool. It was an empowering experience for me to get to know a community of computer scientists who overcame/ are overcoming many struggles (physical, mental, societal) to pursue their goals and dreams. I learned about some cutting edge research that scholars are doing in different fields within CS; I was particularly impressed by a scholar’s research in applying robotics to help autistic children. I learned that the community of coders could and should look very different from what it is now. We need more diversity in the group of people who have the power to lead the future with technology. I also grew as a programmer through the 2-day hackathon, I learned to work with people whom I just met, and had really different background and expertise than me. It was quite challenging throughout the process; we had to come up with a good idea, establish an actionable plan, divide the labor, execute the plan well, and practice presenting. At the end, I gained a new sense of confidence to participate in more hackathons in the future and I came back with many ideas to promote code-literacy in Scripps in the fall!