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July 22, 2016

LeAp District 9 Summer STEAM Students Visit Google New York Headquarters

STEAM participants pose in front of the Google NYC office sign.

On Friday July 22nd, DDC LeAp District 9 Summer Enrichment STEAM students visited the Manhattan office of Google. DDC Young Engineers met with Lexie Mendelson, Gali Heichal, Erika Wool, and Ariel Gerber from the Google's Business Development team. The group toured the office, where they got to see Google employees at work and also visit the Lego Room, the employee lounge, and the Google Canteen, which serves an abundance of healthy snacks.

Google staff spoke about the creation of Google some seventeen years ago, to today when Google now has offices worldwide. The students were mesmerized by the facility which covers an entire city block from 8th to 9th Avenue. They particularly found it amusing to see so many adults navigating the building on scooters.

In the morning our students met with Marcus Mitchell, the Director of Engineering at Google. Mr. Mitchell spoke about his educational background (Harvard and Cal Tec) and his personal journey into the field of engineering. He also spoke about the importance of internships and the critical role math, physics, and problem solving play in engineering. When asked for his advice to our aspiring engineers, Mr. Mitchell responded, “Find every opportunity to build something.”

Students then met with Jaime Burchfield, a coordinator with the Cultural Institute Division who took them on a virtual tour where she explained how the Google Expeditions software enables students to go on virtual trips around the world to museums, underwater reefs, and outer space. The expeditions are collections of virtual reality panoramas — 360° and 3D images — annotated with details, points of interest, and questions that make them easy to integrate into curriculum already used in schools. Jamie described how Google works with partners, including many of the Google Cultural Institute museums to create custom educational content that spans the universe. Our students visited the Great Wall of China, underwater ocean coral reefs and outer space. Using Google Cardboard they viewed images in virtual reality and saw first-hand how cutting edge technology can help open up the world of art and culture to everyone.

The take away from our middle school students was that engineering is a super cool profession and Google is an amazing place to work. And also that Google employees are super smart, thoughtful and incredibly generous with their time. Thank You Team Google!