Like many other hopeful peers, 20-year-old Sreeja Kamishetty too applied for an internship at Google last year. She was hoping to learn out of the entire interview and selection process. Hence she says she wasn’t particularly disappointed when she didn’t get selected for the internship. But her application didn’t go unnoticed. Sreeja was chosen instead for the Get-Ahead programme for EMEA (short for Europe, Middle East and Africa regions).
In an endeavour to create awareness of its culture, Google organizes a programme called Get-Ahead where women in tech are invited to workshops and other events organized by it.
“As a part of the program they conducted Kickstart coding competition for all the Get-Ahead participants. Top 20 were selected to the EMEA Google Students Retreat in London,” explains Sreeja very modestly. “Like any other Google Kickstart, there were 2 questions which we needed to solve in 2 hours. I have been practising coding which helped me do well in the competition,” she says.
Students Retreat ‘18
The EMEA Google Students Retreat 2018 took place in the first week of August (7-9). As per its website, it describes itself as a platform for women in tech to strengthen skills, network with other attendees and engineers and learn about Google products and culture – all this over 3 days. “Each day had a specific agenda. For example, Day 1 was dedicated to networking with other scholars, talks on Google culture, there was a talk on machine learning in YouTube, office tour of beautiful King’s Cross office in London. The second day was technical with Code Retreat workshops organized by Google employees. The final day we had panel discussions on stories of successes and failures and talked about opportunities at Google”, says Sreeja of the 3-day retreat.
Terming the retreat as a wholesome learning experience which not only boosted her confidence but has also helped in her current preparation for job interviews, Sreeja speaks excitedly of some of the sessions that particularly stood out. “There was a activity where we were asked to write different things in which we are remarkable at… At the end of it, the facilitator made us realise that everyone was remarkable!”. Another workshop she recollects fondly is the one titled ‘True Colours’. “The ‘True Colors’ workshop left a great impression on me… They taught us how to work with people with different colours where each colour represented a set of behaviours,” she explains.
This final year Dual Degree student from Hyderabad who is pursuing her Masters in the Machine Learning Lab under Prof. Praveen Paruchuri lists Artificial Intelligence and Intelligent Transportation as her main areas of research. Her work on developing a machine learning solution for prioritized (and better quality) routing of vehicles especially during emergencies has culminated in a research paper. And the paper has been selected for the annual flagship conference of the IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Society (ITSS) which will be held in November at Hawaii, US.
A self-confessed proud Hyderabadi, who has been “staying in this amazing place since birth”, Sreeja likes to travel, listen to music and play different sports during her free time. As part of the Open Source Developers Group, she has been actively involved in promoting open source in college. As a speaker for LeanIN, FossASIA, and GDG Hyderabad, she says, “I am very passionate about supporting women in technology and working towards helping students in STEM fields to find peer mentorship and support.”