This fall, Google engineer Dr. Rachel Harsley is teaching classes, sharing insights with students and trading ideas with faculty at Spelman College as part of the Google in Residence program.
Launched in 2013, the program aims to improve diversity in the tech industry by embedding engineers at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions.
In March 2017, Dr. Harlsey joined Google’s Security and Privacy Team for the Google Cloud Platform. This semester, she’s stepping away from the tech giant’s offices in Chicago and into the classroom at Spelman College. There, she is teaching courses in software engineering for 15 undergraduate students.
“My goal is to prepare students to make significant contributions to society. Each class helps with forming this toolset. It’s then up to students to become the next innovators and change-leaders in a technology space that desperately needs their talent,” Dr. Harsley said.
“Ultimately, it’s my hope that many of my current students will become future colleagues,” Dr. Harsley added.
When Spelman College officials first learned about the Google-in-Residence program a few years ago, they recognized its value in helping bridge the digital divide on campus and across the community.
“The vast majority of our first-year computer science majors see their first line of code in a classroom at Spelman,” said Dr. Andrea Lawrence, former department chair of computer and information sciences at Spelman.
“Through the Google-in-Residence program, Rachel is without a doubt helping us bring more job skills and experiences to our computer science students,” Spelman’s Chair of Computer and Information Sciences Dr. Brandeis Marshall said.
“The program is a great example of a public-private partnership that’s advancing communities. Together, we’re working on problems that are important today and preparing our students and faculty to take on the challenges of tomorrow.”
Dr. Harsley will conclude her residency at Spelman at the end of the fall semester.