Egla Hajdini, a third year Computer Engineering bachelor student, was recently awarded the prestigious Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship. As a Google Scholar, she participated the Annual WOMEN TECHMAKERS SCHOLAR RETREAT 2017 in London.
Dr. Anita Borg proposed the "50/50 by 2020" initiative, so that women earning computing degrees would be 50% of the graduates by year 2020. The percentage of Computer Science degrees earned by women, however, is still far from 50% in most countries. Therefore, Google is furthering Dr. Anita Borg’s vision of creating gender equality in the field of computer science, through the Women Techmakers Scholar Program, formerly the Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship Program. All 20 scholars of Women Techmakers for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, were invited to attend the 3-day annual Women Techmakers Scholars’ Retreat, which took place in Google London Office. The most important part of the program was the sharing of the experiences, the stories and passion for computer science related fields.
The second day of the retreat began with a welcome speech and a presentation of Google by Yossi Matias, Vice President, Engineering at Google. It continued with inspiring stories and projects of previous scholars, such as LearnITGirl and me.code() program. After those presentations, the scholars had the chance to play Launch & Iterate, a team cooperative card game which describes the Google Development Process, with the goal of launching products in order to gain as many users as possible. Later in the day, K-12 student initiatives and Campus Outreach initiatives were presented by University Specialist and some technical talks were given by Google engineers. The first day ended with a tour around Google offices.
On the last day there were more talks from Google mentors and Google engineers. The participants learnt more about Google’s application and hiring process and got familiarized with Google products and culture. In the real case study, Egla was paired up with other scholars from France, Austria, Israel, Egypt and Romania. They focused on Balkan region, especially in Albania and Romania and tried to find possible solutions to difficulties that women face after graduation in Computer Science and Computing-Related Fields.
Egla described the overall retreat as an outstanding experience: “We had a great time there, we made more than 20 new friends, we connected with Googlers and we got prepared to give our contribution in the accomplishment of Anita Borg’s initiative”.
The Department of Computer Engineering is proud to have an exact 50/50 very bright girls and boys in the graduating third year of Computer Engineering program, thus already achieving the Anita Borg initiative locally. Egla is the second student from this department to win this award, and with her other achievements she has set the bar too high for her junior students.