Union, N.J. – Kean University’s Exceptional Educational Opportunities (EEO) program hosted Google on Campus on Thursday, November 10, with the assistance of Kean’s departments of computer science and mathematics. The enthusiastic panel discussion highlighted the many professional opportunities for students in technology, engineering and mathematics. Panelists included Google Software Engineering Manager Andrew Walker, Program Managers Sam Morales and Rima Pitte, Product Manager Willie Maddox, and Google intern Alyssa Peters.
EEO Executive Director Yvonne Segars, J.D., and EEO Academic Advisor Elis Sosa welcomed attendees at the event.
“We have such a diverse and talented student population, and we want our students to know that their dreams are attainable,” said Segars. “Google is a global company and the speakers were very clear to underscore the point that diversity in thinking is required in order to solve complicated problems and that success is grounded in inclusion.”
The featured panelists came to Google via disparate pathways. Walker, a native of Jamaica, studied mechanical engineering at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad before earning his master’s degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He was working at an internet startup as vice president in charge of client engineering when his firm was acquired by Google. Sam Morales started at Google as a temp on a 3-month assignment. Ten years later, he has conducted over 400 interviews for the company.
“When people think of Google, they think of search,” said Morales. “Our mission as a company is really to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
At Google, “you may not always have a vote but you always have a voice,” said Morales. The company even has internal site where people will sometimes post memes to voice disagreement.
Morales described Google’s culture as one of openness and innovation. When he started at Google, Blackberry ruled the mobile market. Today, Google’s Android platform is the dominant mobile operating system and there are over one billion Android devices worldwide. Morales went on to address the unique challenges first-generation and economically disadvantaged students often face.
“A lot of people come into Google with impostor syndrome,” said Morales. “This is something that you may feel at university, especially if you're a first generation college student. Google provides a lot of support. We try to lift one another up.”
In her opening remarks Sosa said, “No one can dream what they have not seen.”
Thanks to the insights shared by the Google panelists, Kean’s EEO students may be a little closer to realizing their dreams. Kean University’s EEO Program provides educationally and financially disadvantaged students with access to higher education. EEO offers student-centered advising, counseling and academic support services designed to promote retention and student achievement.