Tuesday, September 21, 2010

2010-09-21: Google Graduate CS Forum

Being from Egypt is always a blessing!...that's what I was thinking when I got the email from Miss Hannah from Google's University outreach team informing me that I was selected to represent Old Dominion University in the Google 2010 Graduate CS forum for students in the United states from underrepresented backgrounds. I found that the name is a little bit weird but I was thrilled!...I will get the opportunity to fly to San Fransisco, stay 3 days In a hotel, visit the GooglePlex and return back to Norfolk over the weekend...and guess what...ALL PAID FOR!

I picked the dates and arranged with the travel agent, got the tickets and head to the ORF airport putting in mind only one thing...CALIFORNIA BABY! I got to Norfolk airport and I made a mistake of leaving my laptop inside my carry-on bag which, mixed with seeing my foreign passport and my non-american face, I think triggered an alert of some kind which ended up in, no surprises once again, getting me "randomly" selected for inspection!...a couple of minutes later all my clothes were spread neatly on a big table in the middle of the airport and being thoroughly inspected separately!...I wanted to get angry but I couldn't stop laughing! Well, they ended up apologizing to me and when the lady was trying to put my things back in the bag she was trying to small-talk, she knew I was going to San Fransisco so she suggested that I should visit Alcatraz!...what is that supposed to mean!?

After sleeping for 7 hours, which i tend to do in all transportation means, I arrived to San Fransisco and took the BART to downtown to find that Google has reserved a shared room for me and another student in the Hilton! and in the reception I found them handing me a debit card with $50 for "transportation"!...God I love Google!

Later on, the students gathered, the room had a collective IQ of a small town!...I am not kidding, and we had some sessions then on the next day we went to the GooglePlex...it was huge!...we spent nearly 2.5 hours touring it! and we also stopped in the Google Store for some souvenirs. We had a couple of sessions more and finally we were all invited to a fancy dinner in one of San Fransisco's biggest Italian restaurants...well it had to be big to fit 87 students and organizers!
Next day we met some researchers in different fields who spoke with us about their work and we exchanged contacts, finally I was heading back home to Norfolk after passing a fantastic weekend at Google, it was definitely worth the 7 hours by plane and what makes it even sweeter is, as I said before, it was all paid for!



Lenuta said...

Must be nice!!! I wish I could've been your companion (one of the students) :D

Anonymous said...

a man of many skills nice...

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I picked the dates and arranged with the travel agent.