By Tonichi Lorenzana
For the second consecutive year, students from PUSO, the Filipino Club at Milpitas High School (MHS), were invited to attend Google’s annual Filipino Students Day sponsored by the Filipino Googler Network (FGN). The FGN is comprised of Filipino professionals at Google dedicated to community outreach; their overall goal is to increase workplace diversity in the tech industry by giving students of color an inside look at Google.
As part of the Filipino Students Day, MHS students, along with students from other local high schools were invited to Google’s Sunnyvale campus to explore what career opportunities Google has to offer. Students participated in a career panel where they met with Filipino Google employees from a variety of departments and fields including: legal, marketing, human resources, community outreach, Google search engine, Android programming, virtual reality, culinary, and more. The Google employees wanted to make it clear that Google careers are not limited to, as they put it, “just computer programming.”
Following the career panel, the students (from all of the schools) participated in a “design thinking” activity where they were mixed up and divided into groups, given a current world problem or challenge, and tasked with creating a tech-based solution. This activity asked the students to design a product to solve an issue; in essence, they were asked to “think and work like Googlers.” The groups then pitched their design ideas to the Google employees in a format similar to the TV show Shark Tank. Following the activity, the students had some fun exploring Google virtual reality programs and eating the delicious (and free!) food at the Google cafe. The day concluded with a large group discussion, led by some young Googlers, about how culture, heritage, and family expectations affected their college and career choices. The employees gave the students an in-depth look into their personal lives, educational backgrounds, and other influences that helped get them to where they are today. They ended the discussion with a poignant lesson about how the path to success is not always a straight line.
The FGN has proven to be a very dedicated group with regards to exposing our students to a variety of career opportunities. Aside from inviting the students from PUSO to Google each of the last two years, FGN, in conjunction with the Asian Pacific Islander group at Salesforce, hosted a Made with Code Party at MHS in October. This event specifically targeted female students and aimed to expose them to the field of computer programming. The young women learned some programming basics to design games, create music, and even create clothing for a digital fashion show.
Events such as the Filipino Google Day and the Made with Code Party serve a great purpose in exposing our students to potential future careers, and both Google and Salesforce have pledged to continue to invite our students to events in the future. Hopefully, these events spark new curiosities within our students and set them on the road to a successful future.