17 March, 2015

Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship

I am too late for this post, but its better to be late than never. :D

Dr. Anita Borg was not only an accomplished computer scientist who developed cutting edge systems, she was also passionate about dismantling barriers that keep women and minorities from entering this field of work. She founded the Institute for Women and Technology, began an online community for technical women called Systers, and co-founded the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. We’re proud to keep her memory alive through the scholarship program.

21st July 2014, one of the most memorable day of my life, when I received a mail stating "Congratulations!  We are super excited to let you know that you've been selected as a scholarship recipient of the Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship - Asia Pacific for 2014. " along with an invitation to the Scholars’ Retreat on September 16th to 19th, 2014 at the Google Tokyo Office. 

 I was one of the 23 girls from the Asia Pacific region (including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Srilanka, Australia, Japan, Korea, Singapore) and among 7 girls from India to be selected for this distinction.

This scholarship is awarded to "the women in computer science who have strong academic and research background. In addition to the leadership qualities, they possess to inspire and encourage other women in the domain of computer science."

The retreat at Tokyo, an awesome experience. An opportunity unparalleled so far as networking and up-gradation of skills are concerned. It was a unique platform studded with interactions with people with different languages, different cultures and different research background. 

The summit included various talks on latest topics pertaining computer science, motivation for women in computer science, leadership skills so and so forth. Some speakers who were highly experienced with functioning of startups threw open new horizons on my career.

There were some fun-loving collective efforts and brainstorming group activities for strategy building and planning.

The coolest thing was "The Robo War" where we were randomly divided into teams and were asked how to prepare sumo robots by building up the physical model along with coding part in just 3 hrs.

We also had a chance to have an office tour at Google office, which is located at Roopongi Hills, the posh area of Tokyo.

After serious deliberations through out the summit, my evenings used to be fun filled, whether sailing on the cruise, or enjoying the parties or roaming around the city with Japanese scholars or personifying with the local Japanese life.

In a nutshell, it was an excellent experience and invaluable exposure. Google attaches highest significance to women, their diversity and leadership skills. Now, in Japan I witnessed the practical application of these values, as I saw Google aiming at presenting every scholar to be a role model to their community to inspire other women. 

I returned home with my kitty filled up with unique experience, rich knowledge and firm determination to put in untiring efforts for development of women in my homeland, the Google and Anita Borg way !

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