On Friday April 17th, members of NYU's WinC and Columbia WiCS attended the Google Women in Computing Symposium. It was a day filled with inspiring talks, a candid panel, as well as honest and applicable advice given by Google engineers.
The event was initiated with a talk by Professor Julia Hirschberg of Columbia University. After giving an overview of her experiences at various companies, she highlighted the methods that allowed her to remain committed to her work. From taking defensive classes to banding with other women, she reminded the audience to ultimately remember and believe that, "You can win."
Afterwards, Lauren Kustner moderated a panel consisting of Google employees; Lindsay Hall, Yuanyuan Zhao, Ayslylu Greenberg and NYU Professor Rumi Chunara rovided more insight on how exactly they entered their fields and maintain a work-life balance. For example, in addition to being a software engineer, Yuanyuan also coaches a boys basketball team and Aysylu has taken up oil painting. In regards to how they found what they love to do, Lindsay had interned at Google all three summers of her undergraduate career while Rumi has reached her place in research after earning a bachelors in Electric Engineering and a PhD from Harvard-MIT!
The event was wrapped up with three presentations on the dangers of impostor syndrome, the importance of mentorship, and how it is possible to stay in the field of tech while enjoying it. Rui Zhang-Shen is a Senior Software Engineer at Google and she still finds her self dealing with impostor syndrome, the phenomenon of being unable to internalize one's accomplishments. She reminded the audience that it something that many go through and it gets better when one starts treating themselves with the same respect and kindness they show to others.
Next, Adriana Lopez-Alt highlighted the importance of mentorship in both her career as a PhD student and now as a software engineer and shared some tips on how to seek one out. Lastly, Site Reliability Engineer, Tanya Reilly, gave a riveting account of her 16 year career in technology and how through family commitments and the occasional discriminatory coworker, she was able to enjoy her work. She emphasized that the women who are staying in the field and are doing well is huge accomplishment in itself and should be something that all women find inspiring!
NYU WinC would love to thank our very own Crystal Butler and Googlers Lauren Kustner and Kurt Rosenfeld for creating such an amazing event as well as the Google employees who made everything run smoothly!
If you're interested in learning more specific details or want to contribute to the discussion, join the event's Google group at: bit.ly/1D0orOO