Kaitlin Gu ’12, a software engineer at Google, took a group of Upper School Spence students and one recent graduate to Google’s office in Chelsea for a tour, Q&A and Wonder Woman
-themed coding exercises.Click here to see a gallery of photos.
The event was sponsored by GoogleServe in partnership with Made with Code, an organization that encourages teen girls to pursue their love of science and technology.
Pei C. ’17, Sarai V. ’20, Zoe C. ’18 and Yaqara P. ’18 and a student from The Hewitt School started the day working in groups on coding exercises; each problem they solved unlocked scenes from the blockbuster movie, Wonder Woman.
In the Q&A, students asked Kaitlin questions about travel, machine learning and some of her hardest projects. Kaitlin told them about her work on Classroom, a platform used by students and teachers for creating and grading assignments. She said her typical day usually involves working on feature requests—listening to feedback and suggestions from students and teachers—forums and other projects.
Pei talked about how in her computer science classes at Spence, she learned that there was a variety of ways to approach a problem.
“There was never one way to implement the solution,” Pei said. “There were all different ways to write the code. Do you ever feel like there might be a more efficient answer but you don’t know what it is?”
“Oh yeah, like all the time,” Kaitlin said. She explained that there are code reviews at Google so that colleagues get a chance to provide input on each other’s work and suggest more efficient ways to tackle an issue.
After the Q&A, students received a tour of the 8th Avenue Google office, where they saw several cafeterias, micro-kitchens, a Lego room, a game room and a terrace. The students also heard about some of the perks to working at Google, including being able to take cooking classes, using the gym equipment, trying new food from guest chefs and going to talks in their theater, where leaders in entertainment, history, politics, technology, art and more come to talk about their craft to Google employees.
The students left the office carrying bags with Google and Wonder Woman swag as souvenirs from their trip.