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Google Embeds Engineers as Professors

Google software engineer and Google In Residence Sabrina Williams talks with student during a Google Student Development class on Impostor Syndrome at Howard University.

Google is placing engineers at a handful of Historically Black Colleges and Universities in an effort to diversity Silicon Valley's technology sector.

Credit: Molly Riley/AP

In an effort to diversify Silicon Valley's technology sector, Google is placing engineers at a handful of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), where they teach, mentor, and advise on curriculum.

Although 35 percent of African Americans receiving computer science degrees currently come from those schools, they do not end up at Silicon Valley's top technology companies, as only about 1 percent of those firms' technical staffers are black. In response to this shortage, Google sent a handful of software engineers to teach at Howard University, Hampton University, Fisk University, Spelman College, and Morehouse College.

This summer, 30 students who took computer science classes at those HBCUs will complete internships with Google. "Change is slow, this is going to take time, but I think what's interesting about this program is that it's a different way of attacking the problem of lack of diversity in tech," says Google software engineer Sabrina Williams, who took a semester away from her Mountain View campus this year to mentor and teach at Howard.

Williams notes she was the only female African American computer science major at Stanford University when she was the school 15 years ago. "I kind of felt awkward so I kind of hid a lot," she says. "It was very difficult."

From Associated Press
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