Google The Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship: USA

Profiles

Meet some of the previous recipients of the Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship:

2012

Ruta Desai

2012 Google Anita Borg Scholarship Recipient

Ruta Desai

University: Carnegie Mellon University
Education level: Masters
Major: Robotics

Ruta is a Masters student at the Robotics Institute, School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University. In her research, she seeks to understand the neuromuscular control of lower limbs in human locomotion in order to design better control algorithms for artificial legs and humanoids. She is passionate about technology for disabled people and children education. Apart from robotics, she enjoys hiking, travelling and reading. She is enthusiastic for a PhD and dreams of revolutionizing education.

How has the Anita Borg Scholarship impacted you and your academic career?

Not just getting the scholarship, but even the process of applying for the scholarship created a huge impact on my research. I had just begun working on my research a few months before the application and so was struggling in finding directions. Application made me ask lot of questions about what I wanted to do and what had I learnt. Receiving the scholarship, reaffirmed my belief in all my dreams of revolutionizing education especially for developing countries. Further, the scholarship made me more confident about my abilities, encouraging me to take up more responsibilities in my university along with spear heading in research without worrying about money.

Lauren Lui

2012 Google Anita Borg Scholarship Recipient

Lauren Lui

University:University of California, Santa Cruz
Education level: PhD
Major: Bioinformatics and Biomolecular Engineering

Lauren is exploring the world of computational gene prediction as a PhD student in the Bioinformatics and Biomolecular Engineering program at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She uses a combination of machine learning, bioinformatics tools, and biochemistry to study RNA genes and proteins. After graduating, Lauren would like to continue in either industry or academia to play an active role in improving how computer science can aid biological research and organize data. In her free time, Lauren is passionate about all types of art, especially graphic arts and playing on her ukulele.

Why did you apply to the Anita Borg Scholarship?

When I heard about the Anita Borg Scholarship, I didn’t know who she was, but I was excited to find a scholarship that recognized leadership. Reading about Anita Borg’s life was inspiring in both the impact she made in the computing field and encouraging other women to pursue it. I wanted to be part of something that recognized that technical ability is only part of the equation to impacting the world -- vision and the people involved are just as important.

How has the Anita Borg Scholarship impacted you and your academic career?

One of my favorite quotes is "what is essential is invisible to the eye," and receiving the Anita Borg Scholarship exemplifies that idea in my mind. This is more than just a scholarship; it is recognition of who I am as a woman in computing and as a leader. Becoming an Anita Borg Google Scholar tells me that I am more than just smart -- I have the ability to create a vision and make it a reality, whether it be with my research or encouraging others to enter the computing field.

2011

Christina Brandt

2011 Google Anita Borg Scholarship Recipient

University:Stanford University

I am a first-year PhD student at Stanford University. My research interests include machine learning, social networks, and natural language processing. My eventual goal for my research is to apply machine learning techniques to research areas such as medical informatics where more sophisticated techniques can make positive contributions to society.

Why did you apply to the Anita Borg Scholarship?

One of the reasons that made me very excited to apply to the Anita Borg Scholarship was that it provided a wonderful opportunity to connect with other students in computer science from diverse backgrounds, hear about their experiences, and be inspired by their success. I was very excited about Google's initiatives in supporting and highlighting exceptional students from diverse backgrounds. The essay questions inspired me to more deeply analyze and rethink methods that can encourage more diversity in the field of computer science.

What did you find valuable about the Scholars' Retreat?

Hearing the success stories and learning about the research of the other scholars has motivated me to work hard to achieve my own research goals. The opportunity to meet such a brilliant and diverse group of students highlighted the importance of providing support and mentorship for women and minorities entering the field of computer science. Learning about the other students' outreach efforts also gave me a host of new ideas of how to encourage students to enter the field of computer science.

2010

Victoria Nneji

2010 Google Anita Borg First Years Scholarship Recipient

Victoria C. Nneji

University: Columbia University in the City of New York

As a freshman in the Fu Foundation School of Engineering & Applied Science (SEAS), Victoria is pursuing her degree because she enjoys what she learns and want to use those skills to positively impact our world. Victoria believes that computational science and mathematical modeling can help us to solve issues in public health, education, and the environment.

Why did you apply to the Anita Borg Scholarship?

When I submitted my application for the Anita Borg Scholarship, I was so uncertain of my abilities. I knew that I had incredible passion for using computer science for social good, but I could not imagine being good enough for Google to choose me! In the time that I waited to be interviewed, I read Borg's biography repeatedly and realized how much I aspired to be like such a woman. This scholarship was hardly about the money for me to go to college but more about instilling the courage in me to not drop my CS courses due to fear or lack of support.

How has the Anita Borg Scholarship impacted you and your academic career?

I am more excited to sit in the front of all of my STEM classrooms and raise questions to my professors and teacher assistants, although they are all males. Being a part of the ABS network, I am accepting my caliber in CS and pursuing leadership roles in engineering/computing organizations on campus. I plan on continuing my education and using my talents with technical companies, like Google, in the future!

Samantha Ainsley

2010 Google Anita Borg Scholarship Recipient

Samantha Ainsley

University: Columbia University in the City of New York
Education level: Bachelors
Major: Computer Science

Samantha is a senior at Columbia University majoring in Computer Science with a focus in Vision & Graphics, and minoring in Art History. She is a member of the Columbia Graphics Group, a research group that develops algorithms for physics-based computer animation. Her research is focused on optimizing computational models for asynchronous physical simulation. After graduation, Samantha plans to work in industry for a couple of years before returning to school to pursue her PhD in Computer Science.

Why did you apply to the Anita Borg Scholarship?

I remember when I first saw the poster for the Anita Borg Scholarship, I instantly put myself under a microscope: I wondered, "Am I qualified for this? Do I consider myself exceptional amongst the women in my field?" Then, I reconsidered the meaning of this scholarship. Anita Borg was a woman who inspired her colleagues not only with her brilliance, but with her passion for computing. It then became a question of how much I love this field of study. I love how it allows us to take the most fundamental bits of logic and create the seemingly impossible--that was worth putting in writing. In the end, I applied for the scholarship on the off chance that my experience could inspire other women to come into this field.

Shilpa Nadimpalli

2010 Google Anita Borg Scholarship Recipient

Shilpa Nadimpalli

University: Tufts University
Education level: Bachelors
Major: Computational Science and Biology

Shilpa is double-majoring in biology and computer science, and loves computational biology (i.e. genetics, proteins, everything else awesome about molecular biology). Shilpa plans to pursue a Ph.D. in computer science upon graduation and conduct research in either protein structure prediction or classifier building for disease prediction/diagnosis. When not busy nerding out, Shilpa really enjoys trying new ice cream flavors, new hand soap scents, and new restaurants around Boston.

How has the Anita Borg Scholarship impacted you and your academic career?

Being an Anita Borg Scholar has had a huge impact on me and my plans for the future. Meeting other scholars pursuing graduate degrees convinced me that the Ph.D. track was definitely something that I wanted to do. Being an Anita Borg Scholar has also impacted me on a much more personal level. I am more confident and enthusiastic about my new computer science endeavors, and I have become involved in high school and college outreach to persuade students to try computer science.

Sneha Popley

2010 Google Anita Borg Scholarship Recipient

Sneha Popley

University: University of Chicago
Education level: PhD
Major: Computer Science

Sneha plans to complete her Ph.D. in Programming Languages. After her doctorate, she intends to be actively involved in research, in industry, academia or both. Sneha also want to make sure to give back to the computer science community that supported her during my undergraduate years, be it through volunteer work, teaching, or conferences.

What did you find valuable about the Scholars’ Retreat?

The Scholars' Retreat was the main reason I applied for the Anita Borg Scholarship. The chance to network with leaders in Computer Science from the continent was valuable and enjoyable. Their raw enthusiasm for their field and community was infectious and inspiring. I graduated with a bachelors degree "ready to change the world,"* and the Scholars' Retreat introduced me to people who were eager to join my cause.

*The motto at my undergraduate university, Texas Christian University

2009

Leshell Hatley

2009 Google Anita Borg Scholarship Recipient

Leshell Hatley

University: University of Maryland
Education level: PhD
Major: Information Studies / HCI

Leshell is a PhD student undertaking research in Information Studies and Human-Computer Interaction at the University of Maryland's iSchool. She is originally from New Brunswick, NJ and received a B.S. in Computer Systems Engineering and a Masters in Computer Science from Howard University, respectively. She is a huge fan of animation and is a blue and white belt in the t'ien shan p'ai style of kung fu. When she graduates, she will reward herself with flying lessons.

How has the Anita Borg Scholarship has impacted you and your academic career?

Learning who Anita Borg was and all that was important to her regarding women in computer science was a huge encouragement. I enjoyed the discovery of her efforts and the thoughts and ideas of other scholarship winners. This experience fueled my passion for exposing youth to technology and encouraging them to pursue careers in STEM fields.

What are you doing to inspire other women in technology?

I volunteer teaching middle school girls about computers and robots. I also have a website that I update daily (The Black Scholars Index - http://www.blackscholarsindex.com). I recently learned that my friends who are parents use the daily entries to inspire their children about education in general. Many of the features are African-American men and women in science and technology.

Norma Saiph Savage

Norma Saiph Savage

University: University of California, Santa Barbara
Education level: PhD
Major: Computer Science

Saiph is from Mexico City, she studied Computer Engineering in the National Autonomous University of Mexico, UNAM and will study her PhD in the Computer Science department in UCSB. Her fields of interest include Machine Learning, Motor learning, wearable and ubiquitous computing, and is interested in applying these fields to developing rehabilitation interfaces.

She plays volleyball and can't wait to hit the Santa Barbara beaches to play some beach volleyball and spike!

How has being a scholarship recipient impacted you?

It has really helped me to change my paradoxes. It made me realize, that despite being fresh out of college, it is possible to accomplish your dreams.

Winning the scholarship has reassured me, that I am on the right track in my professional career, it proved to me that I can and will succeed. It is very motivational to have a company like Google recognize your hard work. I also feel much more committed in explaining to young women why Computer Science is a great study option, and also to motivate them in reaching for their highest goals, showing them that they are viable.

2008

Ghinwa Choueiter

2008 Google Anita Borg Scholarship Recipient

University: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Education level: PhD
Major: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Upon completion of her PhD, Ghinwa hopes to do research in the field of speech recognition. She enjoys being part of a group of engineers that proposes and designs answers to questions like, "How can a speech recognizer learn words that it does not 'know'?" "How can I make a machine, a cellphone, a handheld, etc. hear and understand better what humans are saying?" and "How can we make dialogue systems less frustrating to humans?"

What did you find valuable about Scholars' Retreat?

The people, the connections, the network! Whether it was the Anita Borg Scholars, the Google UNCF Scholars, the Google Hispanic Fund Scholars, the Google software engineers, the engineering directors, the retreat organizers, every person I met brought something unique and special to the retreat. Listening to the different stories, the challenges, the plans for the future; it all filled me with a determination to be part of the change needed to make women a more integral part of the computer science field. Meeting Telle Whitney [Director of the Anita Borg Institute] and listening to Anita Borg's story was also inspirational, and I hope that in 2020, we will meet her challenge of 50/50!

Sally Wahba

2008 Google Anita Borg Scholarship Recipient

University: Clemson University
Education level: PhD
Major: Computer Science

Sally's research area is in embedded network systems. She will complete her PhD in 2010, and enjoys teaching and getting involved with other students. Her favorite part about computer science is the challenge and the feeling of accomplishment when a problem or project is completed.

How has the Anita Borg Scholarship has impacted you and your academic career?

The Anita Borg Scholarship impacted me as I got more involved in advancing the status of women in computer science. It also allowed me to get connected with different women in computer science which benefits my academic career. It is very encouraging to see all these women in the area with their successes and accomplishments. This made me more confident that I'm on the right track in my career.

2007

Alice Pang

2007 Google Anita Borg Scholarship Recipient

University: Stanford University
Education level: Bachelors
Major: Electrical Engineering (Software Concentration)

Alice graduated from Stanford in 2008 and is currently pursuing MS and PhD degrees at UC Berkeley in Industrial Engineering & Operations Research and plans to apply her software background to optimization research. For her senior project at Stanford, Alice worked with elementary school students, introducing them to computer science through engineering a Wiimote video game.

How has the Anita Borg Scholarship has impacted you and your academic career?

The Anita Borg Scholarship has given me opportunities beyond providing financial support to allow me to continue to pursue my education at Stanford. It has provided me with networking and mentoring opportunities and shaped my future goals. From the retreat to other activities to keeping in touch with fellow scholars afterward, the Anita Borg Scholarship made me realize that there is more to my education in computer science than classes and programs. I discovered that I wanted to work with people with diverse talents to make a difference in the world by developing outreach initiatives with my academic goals.

2006

Shana Watters

2006 Google Anita Borg Scholarship Recipient

University: University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Education level: PhD
Major: Computer Science

Why did you apply for the Google Anita Borg Scholarship?

When I first looked at the scholarship's requirements, I convinced myself that I was not qualified enough or good enough to compete for the scholarship. Over the next few weeks, I found myself continually thinking about the essay questions and how I would answer them. I decided that I would follow my own advice that I often give students while I am a teaching assistant. It is not the things that we find easy that we take pride in, it is those things that we struggle with and finally overcome that we look back on and have a sense of accomplishment from. Applying for the Google Anita Borg Scholarship was one of these opportunities. I was facing the possibility that my application would be rejected and I realized that the reason I didn't apply at first was that I thought it would be better to not even try rather than face this rejection. I had things that I wanted to say in those essays and the only way I would be given the opportunity to say them was to fill out the application! So, I did. I told my advisor, Dr. Maria Gini, that regardless of whether or not I received a scholarship, I was proud of myself. I really meant it! By applying, I was able take away from the experience a satisfying sense of accomplishment. I answered the essays and expressed in them what I thought was important. What an excellent opportunity to express my own thoughts to others. So, why did I apply for the scholarship? I applied because Anita Borg was a visionary who faced the possibility of failure and rejection head on and I wanted to be like her. Face it, learn from it, and possibly be successful. What a wonderful experience!

Nevine Abou Gazala

2006 Google Anita Borg Scholarship Recipient

University: University of Pittsburgh
Education level: PhD
Major: Computer Science

How has being a scholarship recipient impacted you?

The biggest impact the scholarship has had is it made me morally commit to increase the involvement of women in the field. Before, I didn't really have a thing to hold onto, and now I have to be very active in promoting women in the field. The scholarship increased my confidence that I am on the right track and I feel that I have to pass this forward to other females.

Brianna Bethel

2006 Google Anita Borg Scholarship Recipient

University: University of Colorado, Boulder
Education level: Masters
Major: Electrical and Computer Engineering

How has being a scholarship recipient impacted you?

Being a scholarship recipient has really renewed my interest in engineering and encouraged me in my career as an engineer. I think the best part of the scholarship was the opportunity to meet other amazing women who have a passion for engineering and a passion for life. Meeting these women provided me the opportunity to give and receive encouragement and share ideas. Along with meeting these women, learning more about Google's supportive environment and Anita Borg's dream has really inspired me to share my interest in engineering with other girls - perhaps those unsure if they would like to study engineering.

Soumi Sinha

2006 Google Anita Borg Scholarship Recipient

University: University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign
Education level: Bachelors
Major: Computer Science

What are you doing to inspire other women in technology?

I have participated in mentoring and tutoring freshmen women in computer science and engineering. I was also involved in an outreach program called Chic Tech, it is geared towards high school girls in Illinois. We give presentations at their schools and organize a Technical Ambassadors Competition where they team up with other girls and work on a semester long technology related project for a community organization. It gives them a first hand experience at what a career in technology might entail and also encourages them to consider it as a major in college. Now that I am a Google Anita Borg Scholar, it gives me new platform to inspire incoming women in technology.

2005

Moriah McClanahan

2005 Google Anita Borg Scholarship Recipient

University: Brigham Young University
Education level: Bachelors
Major: Computer Science

How has being a scholarship recipient impacted you?

The biggest impact has been in my level of confidence. I have always struggled, like many women in science fields, with doubts about my abilities, but receiving an award like this has helped me realize that I can and will succeed in this field. Being the recipient of this award has been life-changing for me. I never thought I had a chance of receiving it, but I guess I'm evidence that people often exceed their own expectations.

2004

Maria Gabriela Aguilera

2004 Google Anita Borg Scholarship Recipient

University: University of Texas at El Paso
Education level: Masters
Major: Computer Science

Why did you apply for the Google Anita Borg Scholarship?

I have always looked for ways to finance my education so when my advisor recommended I apply for the Anita Borg Scholarship, I did. I want to encourage those women who are unsure of whether they should apply to do it. I say this because when I first read all about the scholarship, I thought, "Hmm, I dunno, it seems like a long shot" but in the end it worked out wonderfully. It has given me the opportunity to meet other women who, like myself, are interested in technology and are pursuing careers in computer science.

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