Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Google Zawadi Girls

This month, we are glad to feature one of the Ugandan Google Zawadi scholars on our blog.

From the Zawadi website (http://www.zawadiafrica.org) the Zawadi Africa Education Fund is a program designed to provide scholarships to academically gifted girls from disadvantaged backgrounds from Africa to pursue higher education in the US. Lynn writes about her experience as a Google Zawadi scholar and would love to encourage other women students to pursue this scholarship. http://www.google.com/jobs/students/emea/scholarships/

Picture above, Lynn Asiimwe ,3rd from the left, Juliet Komuhendo 5th from the left
My visit to Google Zurich

My name is Lynn Asiimwe currently in third year in Electrical and computer engineering at the University of Cape town. I’m also a Ugandan google- zawadi scholar and from 20th to 22th June this year, I got a chance to attend the Google Europe, Middle East and Africa retreat 2011 at the Google office in Zurich. In attendance were the Google anita borg EMEA scholars, Google Anita borg EMEA finalists, Google-zawadi scholarship recipients and Google Europe scholarship for students with disabilities. I don’t even where to start this article from but to sum it all in one word “AMAZING”.
I’ll start with the amazing women and men I got to meet from all over Africa, Europe and the Middle East all passionate about one thing computer science. There were 90 students in attendance and 3 were Ugandan . I got the opportunity of meeting the first Google Anita borg finalist from Uganda, Juliet Komuhendo from Makerere University. I was really impressed by her determination (the Google Anita scholarships applications are really hectic but it didn’t scare her! ) . People kept asking Juliet what are the chances someone from Ugandan is chosen?, well Juliet proved it doesn’t matter where you’re from to become an Anita borg finalist.

The Googlers I met during my visit were amazing and enthusiastic about their work all the time(it felt like some kind of utopia).I got a chance to interact with the googlers dealing with sub Saharan Africa and trust me it inspired me to another level. I feel like Google has taken very keen interest in Africa over the past few years and really want to connect Africa to the rest of the world (in terms of the internet ).Well in Uganda I can mention a few, Google in partnership with the Grameen foundation are working at getting rural Africa connected and you can visit the Grameen foundation blog to see more, the android phones (they are cheaper than your average smart phones),android apps development besides that they also tried to involve students with programs like the Google Ambassador program in universities and having the Google-zawadi scholarship program. I know there is a lot more but I can’t say it all in one blog post.

Now the Google Z├╝rich office design is amazing ,they have design themes from jungle to aqua to combat to Victorian style. They also have a massage parlour and gym. Another thing is you can wear anything to work !!!.Well you can google the zurich office to see what I mean. I almost forgot the food, its everywhere and its good on a daily basis!! 

Well this is a brief summary of my google trip to zurich. I would like to encourage all Ugandan women out there to apply for next year’s google anita borg EMEA scholarship ,Google it for more details. And those all also planning to pursue an under graduate degree in computer science ,computer engineering or any related field should also apply for the google-zawadi scholarship. I feel it’s an experience of a lifetime!!!