Hangouts On Air: Freshman Engineering Practicum

Uploaded by GoogleStudents on 02.02.2012


JEFF MOORE: Hi everyone.
This is Jeff Moore doing another Google
Hangout On the Air.
Really excited today.
We're talking about the Google Freshman Engineering
excuse me, I'm having a hard time speaking today, not a
good sign--
which is a really cool new exciting program we have here.
And I have two folks with me, one Googler, one non-Googler.
Which is exciting, our first person who is not a Google
employee, Tasha.
So welcome.
I have Jess and I have Tasha.
So why don't we let Jess get started.
Introduce yourself, what you do at Google.
And we'll go from there.
So my name is Jessica [INAUDIBLE].
And I work on our university programs in Mountain View,
And I am managing the Freshman Engineering Practicum
Program this year.
JEFF MOORE: Awesome.
TASHA: Tasha.
I am a sophomore at New Mexico State University.
And I am majoring in computer science.
JEFF MOORE: How's the weather in New Mexico today?
TASHA: lovely.
JEFF MOORE: Awesome.
It's cold in Boston, that's why I ask.
I digress.
Jess, tell us a little bit about the
Freshman Engineering Practicum.
What do we do?
So Freshman Engineering Practicum is actually a summer
internship program specifically designed for
college freshmen, or first year students in undergraduate
study at a university in the US or Canada.
And it's a full internship.
Students do get to work on production level code on real
projects at Google.
And they work in teams of three, with two hosts.
And in addition to this project there's also
skills-based training and professional development
involved in the program.
So it's a really exciting program that we just started
last year in 2011.
And this will be our second year, in 2012.
And it's very similar in format to our Engineering
Practicum Program, which is for sophomore going into
junior year students.
So we wanted to extend the opportunity to
students even younger.
So that's what we're doing.
Very, very, very cool.
And applications are soon?
JESSICA: Applications are now, and are due on Sunday.
So that is the last day to apply.
is where you can go to find that application.
So we're really hoping that students get their
applications in soon.
So fill out your applications and then watch the Superbowl.
JEFF MOORE: Perfect.
And now what do we look for when it comes to a candidate
for the practicum?
What do you look for in somebody.
JESSICA: So first off, this may seem obvious, but we have
gotten some applications that don't fit this criterion.
So we are looking for students who are in their first year of
undergraduate study at a university
in the US or Canada.
And we're looking for students who are performing strong
academically, who've taken at least one computer science
course, and maybe have a little bit that they're doing
outside of class.
So maybe they're working on a personal project to develop an
Android application.
Or maybe they're tutoring high school students who are
considering being engineering majors.
So we want people who are a little bit more
involved, such as Tasha.
So maybe Tasha can talk a little bit about her
background from before she was in FEP.
JEFF MOORE: Yeah, I was going to say, you just described
Tasha, I guess.
Yeah, kind of.
I guess a little bit of background on me.
Before I did Freshman Engineering Practicum--

currently I am an undergraduate research
assistant for a program called Young Women in Computing.
And basically the goal of that program is to get middle
school and high school girls
interested in computer science.
And so basically I develop curriculum and serve as a
mentor to young girls, et cetera.
JEFF MOORE: Awesome.
You do that now on campus?
TASHA: that now on campus, yes.
JEFF MOORE: Very cool.
That's neat.
And now tell me a little bit--
so you were in the practicum last summer.
Tell us a little bit about your experience, what kind of
project you worked, how cool your host was, all that kind
of fun stuff.
TASHA: So, well, my experience last time was fabulous,
definitely very fabulous.
I got to work on a team with my four fellow Freshman
Engineering Practicum interns.
There were only five of us since it was the first year.
So that was pretty fun.
We all worked with the Mobile Search team on iOS UI test
So basically our goal was to turn manual tests into
automated tests.
And that's what we did, pretty much all summer.
We worked with two hosts who were really cool.
They were able to help us out in technical problems and
anything else we needed help with.
Were you writing all the code?
Mostly Python?
Or Java?
TASHA: We were doing JavaScript.
JEFF MOORE: JavaScript.
TASHA: I had never done JavaScript before.
So it was fun getting to learn a new language.
JEFF MOORE: Has it helped you back at school?
TASHA: Definitely.
TASHA: Yeah.
Coding in general, just helped build on
those programming skills.
And it was good.
It was was better than having taken a whole summer break,
and not doing anything.
So, going to school ready, ready to work.
JEFF MOORE: Tasha, we are very different students.
I'm like, summer off?
That sounds great.
Sign me up.
What was it like to work on a team of interns?
Was a kind of similar to school, where you do projects,
or was it a completely different experience?
TASHA: It was fun.
I liked it.
It was different.
In school, in the lower division classes you don't
really work in team projects.
It's more individual based to that you're able to pick up
the programming concepts.
But I think it was good experience.
You get to learn how to communicate within a team, how
to collaborate and share ideas, et cetera.
And it was fun.
We're all from backgrounds, so we're all able to give
different inputs on different problems we had.
Did you just take any classes, too?
You had the internal classes with Google as well, right?
TASHA: Sorry.
JEFF MOORE: Did you take any classes externally as well
during the summer, or were you just doing the internship?
TASHA: No, just the internship.
But you took a ton of internal Google little
programs, too, right?
TASHA: Yeah.
JEFF MOORE: What was your favorite one of those?
TASHA: I think--

TASHA: We took an HTML5 class with the Engineering Practicum
students, and that was pretty cool.
Because that was fairly new.
And it was cool getting to see how that works, and how
different it is.
JEFF MOORE: Very cool.
Have you been able to tie that back to class as well?
TASHA: Not yet.
Not yet.
JEFF MOORE: Give you time, though.
Give you time, right?
TASHA: Yeah, give me a little bit of time.
JEFF MOORE: What was your favorite part of working at
Google for the summer?
TASHA: My favorite part.
I loved the atmosphere of the workplace.
Everybody's always really happy.
Everybody who works there is really intelligent and smart.
And I love networking.
And so it was fun getting to talk to different people from
all around, from everywhere.
That was one of my favorite parts.
Did you get to enjoy the cafes?
TASHA: Oh, definitely, of course, the food, yes.
The food is awesome.

And now what are you doing this coming summer?
Have you got plans yet?
TASHA: This coming summer I will be participating in the
Engineering Practicum.
And so I'm excited.
My project will be on Google+ photos.
JEFF MOORE: In Mountain View?
TASHA: Yes, in Mountain View.
So I'm looking forward to that.
JEFF MOORE: Congratulations.
TASHA: Thank you.
JEFF MOORE: Very cool.
And now we're about halfway done.
So I just want to remind everybody that's out there
listening live that this is another Google Hangout On Air.
I'm Jeff Moore with my friends Jess and Tasha.
And I want to talk a little bit about
the application process.
Jess, when do we start notifying people that
they've made it?
Will they hear next week?
Or is it going to be a few weeks?
What's the timeline on applications?
JESSICA: So we were hoping to get back to students starting
before the application deadline.
But due to overwhelming interest in the program, we've
just gotten a ton of applications, which is a
really exciting.
And we're really enjoying reading through all of the
great applications from students.
But it's likely that we won't actually start contacting
people until early next week.
So we'll be contacting students about the interview
stage next week.
All students who applied, as long as they met the minimum
criteria, can expect to hear back from us either way.
So you won't be left in the dark.
JEFF MOORE: Awesome.
That was a question from Zac at the University of
I would insert a Patriots Steelers joke here,
but I'll hold back.
Totally not about that, but whatever.
Very cool.
And now what does the process look like after
application, Jess.
Is there a phone interview, on-site interview?
What's that process like?
So the students will actually have two technical phone
interviews, both with Google engineers, some of whom are
actually going to be hosts this summer, some of whom have
just been very involved with these types of programs in the
past and love working with younger students.
So that's kind of basics.
It's just two phone interviews.
And then after that we'll do host matching, and make offers
just based on those two interviews.
But I was actually hoping that Tasha could talk a little bit
about what her interview experience was like.
So my interview experience.
Let's see.
I had two interviews.
And the way they did them was I had a Googler call me.
And they would share a Google Doc with me.
And that's where I would do the coding, or answer any of
the questions that they had.
And so that was different.
I had never even realized that that's how an interview could
be conducted.
And so it was great.
Basically the interviews, they pretty much just were composed
of the different CS core concepts that you learn in the
first year, maybe, of the CS curriculum.
And then there was a little bit of coding.
But they were good.
I was so nervous.
I was so nervous.

JESSICA: But, to that point, there are a lot of students
who have been emailing me nervous about
the interview process.
We do understand that students are a little bit younger.
And so these interviews are tailored
to the younger audience.
So we don't want you to be too freaked out about the
interview process.
Because we do know that you are just starting out in
computer science.
JEFF MOORE: Absolutely.
I would shamelessly plug the recruiting tips and tricks
blog right now.
Shameless plug.
All kidding aside.
When should people have the final decision?
They should know mid-March?
JESSICA: We are actually hoping to have all the final
decisions in the first week of March.
JEFF MOORE: OK, awesome, cool.
And now we're actually getting some live questions, which I
know is really cool.
So we have a question that, Jess, is right up your alley.
Tasha, I think you can talk about it too.
Some of the skills based training and personal
development classes, talk about a couple of those.
What kinds of things can people expect when it comes to
those things?
And I'll let Tasha chime in on this, too.
But we are building a customized curriculum that's
just for program participants.
We're actually partnering a bit with the Engineering
Practicum Program, so some of the courses will overlap.
But the idea is to prepare students not just for their
internship at Google, but for beyond Google.
So we really want to make sure they're successful in their
time here, as well as after their time here.
So this can be anything from coding classes and coding labs
to more soft skills training, such as how to work in a team.
Because for many students this is something that's
brand new to them.
Tasha, want to talk a little bit about some of your classes
from last summer?
TASHA: Yeah.
So definitely I think it's a really important part of the
I liked that aspect.
Of course there's technical skills workshops, and then
there's soft skills workshops.
I think one of my favorites--
the soft skills workshop that I went to was called Giving
and Receiving Feedback.
I didn't really realize that there was a good way or a bad
way to receive feedback.
I guess I wasn't really--
I never really thought about it.
So it was great to see it from both--
JEFF MOORE: You've never gotten bad
feedback, have you, Tasha?
TASHA: Yeah.
I have.

That was definitely--
and of course the technical skills,
those are always important.
And it's fun to see the different technical skills you
need to work, say, at Google.
So it's good insight.
JEFF MOORE: Yeah, absolutely, cool.
We have another question that just came in, from James
[? Kim, ?] who came in on Google+.
His questions says, as Google interns are we entitled to 20%
projects or will we have time to think at all based on the
scheduled activity?
Will they have time for 20% projects, basically, based on
all of the activities from the Engineering Practicum.
JESSICA: So, first of all I want to say hi to James.
James was in our Computer Science Summer Institute
program from last summer.
So I know James well.
So hi, James.
I hope you're doing well.
So 20% projects, that's actually a common question we
get for interns.
So what we generally tell interns is that they're here
for a very limited time.
For Freshman Engineering Practicum it's only going to
be 10 weeks.
So generally they want to be as productive as possible
within their project while they're here.
That being said, interns do have the opportunity to meet
other teams and other interns.
And if they feel they have the time, they are allowed to work
on smaller projects.
And I believe actually Tasha and her group did actually get
to work on a small project last year, just because they
blew away their hosts' expectations, and knocked
their project out of the park.
So Tasha, do you want to talk a little bit about the project
you guys got to work on?
TASHA: So, like I said, there was five of us on the team.
And essentially we kind of broke off into
three different paths.
After we started automated tests, and we figured out, we
kind of got really good at that.
And so some of us broke off into more--
I don't know if I should go into these projects, but
different projects.
And so it was exciting because we got to work on something
else while we still at the same time working on our test
JEFF MOORE: That's great.
TASHA: It was good.
JESSICA: It all depends on the project, and each individual
intern experience.
So we don't want to guarantee it.
But it's definitely within the realm of possibility.
JEFF MOORE: I think I would just add, based on Tasha's
comment earlier about networking, getting to know
people, you've got a limited amount of time.
You want to really do an awesome job on your core work,
so you've got those folks in your network.
And people like Jess can say hi to you up at Google+.

Another question just came in.
They just keep coming.
I'm worried about relocating.
Will Google help me relocate to Mountain View?
So students accepted into the program will receive
relocation assistance, both monetary assistance as well as
assistance from the team in helping them to find housing
and all of that.
So students should rest assured.
We've gotten a lot of questions about this through
the email alias, particularly for students who are
worried about it.
Additionally, I will add that this is a paid summer
So students will be paid for their time at Google.
So it's not something that will cost you
money, to come here.
JEFF MOORE: Fantastic.
Another question, this one specifically for Tasha.
JEFF MOORE: Can you believe it?
Just teasing.
Can you speak about some of the fun activities that you
got to participate in as an intern.
TASHA: Fun activities, oh boy.
JEFF MOORE: Besides Hangouts On Air with Jeff and Jess.
There were lots of fun activities.
Let's see, here.
Within our intern group we did a couple things.
We took a trip to San Francisco.
We went and played some trampoline dodgeball.
And then we got to do some activities with the larger
group of interns.
We went on an intern boat cruise.
That was so fun.
Karaoke and dancing.
And it was great.
That was one of the best activities.
And then I played Ultimate Frisbee with a
group of the interns.
And we were called the Google Ultimate Interns.
That was super fun.
JEFF MOORE: Sounds about right.
We have one last question.
I'm going to ask it to both of you guys.
And Jess we'll start with you, just so you're on the spot.
Any advice for students who are considering applying for
the practicum?
What two tips would you give someone who's going to apply?
JESSICA: Two tips.
So number one would definitely be, for anybody considering
applying for the Freshman Engineering Practicum, apply.
So this is my advice to everybody whenever I'm on
campus, whenever I'm talking to students.
It can never hurt to apply.
The worst we can say is no, and you're in the same exact
place than you are now.
So I really encourage people to spend some time and put
together their application.
The other thing is to actually take some time
to write your essay.
So there is an essay component of the application.
And I do recommend that students take time, and take
that piece seriously, because we will be taking into
consideration in the process.
So don't just submit a two line answer.
Do try to take some time and formulate your words, and
really think about it.
JEFF MOORE: Awesome.
Tasha, do you have two tips for people?
TASHA: Well, Jess took a lot of mine.
JEFF MOORE: You can copy.
TASHA: So, I copy Jess.
Plus you've just got to be yourself,
especially in the interview.

It's really nerve wracking.
But it's good experience.
And even if they don't pick you, you still can say I
interviewed with Google.
How many freshman have done that?
Not very many.
JEFF MOORE: That's a great point.
TASHA: It's a really good experience.
And yes, apply, apply, apply.
It's a fabulous program.
JEFF MOORE: Awesome, cool.
Well with that we will end our Hangout On the Air.
Again, this is Jeff Moore from Google, hanging out with Jess
and Natasha.
I really appreciate you guys joining.
And hopefully this swamped you with applications and we'll
have a crew that's as ultimate as Tasha's team was last year.
JEFF MOORE: And Tasha, special thanks to you.
I know you're between classes.
That pretty much rules that you're willing to hang out
with us between classes.
TASHA: Oh, you know.
JEFF MOORE: Now go to class and do well.
JEFF MOORE: Thanks guys.
I appreciate it.