FOSSASIA Code-In Grand Prize Winners Gathering at Google Headquarter

FOSSASIA was thrilled to be selected once again as a mentor organisation of Google Code-In (GCI) 2015 – a contest to introduce pre-university students (ages 13-17) to open source software development. Together with 13 other orgs we reached out to 980 students from 65 countries completed a total number of 4,776 tasks. As a part of our participation, I got a chance to present FOSSASIA at the Grand Prize Winners trip.

FOSSASIA Team, photo by Jeremy Allison
FOSSASIA Team, photo by Jeremy Allison

GCI 2015 Awards Ceremony

28 grand prize winners, their parents along with one mentor from each participating organisation were invited to a trip to the Bay Area as a reward to their hard work during the last GCI program. Students had a chance to meet with mentors and to interact with their fellow students from other projects, enjoyed a few days in San Francisco and received many cool gifts/swags from Google.

Chris DiBona and Jason Wong, photo by Jeremy Allision
Chris DiBona and Jason Wong, photo by Jeremy Allision

Chris DiBona – Director of Open Source at Google – a super busy man who was so kind to spend his morning personally congratulated each single student in front of his/her parent. I do believe enjoy what you are doing and get recognition for your work is the best gift ever and to be able to share it with your family is even better. Thanks Google for celebrating the open source culture.

Meet, learn and share

I was very impressed by the level of knowledge and abilities of all the 28 students. They are young, enthusiastic and inspiring. Thanks to all the parents for believing and supporting the kids in pursuing their open source journey.

Group photo by Jeremy Allison
Group photo by Jeremy Allison

It was wonderful to meet our two FOSSASIA GCI students for the first time. Jason grew up in the States, seemed a bit reserved while Yathannsh from India was very outspoken. They both were very new to open source when they joined the program and now have become active contributors and very eager to learn more. Three of us had a team presentation on FOSSASIA labs and our achievement from GCI 2015. Jason expressed his wish to go on as a mentor for the next GCI.

Jason and Yathannsh
Jason and Yathannsh

I had several interesting conversations with the parents who finally understood why their kids were on the computers all the time. About 14% of the parents are working in IT and very aware of open technology. The rest was super excited to learn about various open source projects. Many said to me they would love to have their second son/daughter to join the program as well.

The mentor group had a few discussions on pros and cons, how to improve and maximize the outcome of the program, and ways to keep students engaging afterwards. I learned a lot from other orgs and also shared FOSSASIA workflow and guidelines with them. The 7 weeks of GCI was an amazing experience for me and my team. I must give our FOSSASIA mentors credit for their incredible efforts. It was truly a pleasure to work with Mario, Sean, Mohit, Praveen, Nikunj, Abhishek, Jigyasa, Dukeleto, Manan, Saptaks, Aruna, Rohit, Arnav, Diwanshi, Martin, Nicco, Sudheesh, Samarjeet, Harsh, Luther, Jung and many more.

mentors
GCI 2015 – 14 Org Mentors, photo by Jeremy Allison

The Fun

It was the best field trip ever! The program was carefully planned: Meeting with Google engineers, a tour of the Google campus, a day of sightseeing around San Francisco and much more.

Segway Tour

I was my first time on a Segway and I loved it, so cool! Thanks Stephanie for encouraging me to try this. It is never too late to learn something.

Segway by the bay
Segway by the bay

Afternoon walk over the Golden Gate Bridge

Sanya and I could have completed the entire bridge but.. because of our slow male mentors we only made it halfway through. To all my geek friends out there – Please do more exercises!

On Golden Gate Bridge
On Golden Gate Bridge
Walking on the bridge, photo by Florian Schmidt
Walking on the bridge, photo by Florian Schmidt

Yacht Dinner Cruise

This was the highlight for many of us: sailing along the bay, relaxing time on the water, beautiful landscape, nice chats and yummy food.

Photo by Jeremy Allison
Photo by Jeremy Allison
Ladies pose, photo by Jeremy Allison
Ladies pose, photo by Jeremy Allison
with Cat Allman, photo by Jeremy Allison
with Cat Allman, photo by Jeremy Allison

Thank you organisers!

We just couldn’t thank Stephanie enough for her hard work and the extreme energy not only to GCI but also to the whole open source community and especially her care for us all during our trip. I was amazed by the level of details that been brought in: additional medication, sunscreen, chocolate tips, gift card, travel guide, luggage storage, special diet etc.

Stephanie Taylor, GCI program manager, photo by Jeremy Allison
Stephanie Taylor, GCI program manager, photo by Jeremy Allison

Last but not least thank to the lovely Mary, kind Helen, cool Eric, friendly Josh, awesome photographer Jeremy and of course my favorite Cat Allman for another unforgettable experience!

Links

Photos: https://goo.gl/photos/htCKY4yJooX9ZSNBA

Google Code-In: developers.google.com/open-source/gci/

Google Summer of Code: developers.google.com/open-source/gsoc/

FOSSASIA Labs: http://labs.fossasia.org/

FOSSASIA Google Code-In Students and Mentor at Googleplex Mountain View

Last week grand prize winners from FOSSASIA and other organizations that participated in Google Code-In 2014 attended a trip to the US accompanied by a guardian and a mentor. The grand prize trip is the crowning activity of Google Code In, the program organized by Google with the aim of introducing pre-university students to open source. I was fortunate enough to take part as the mentor representing FOSSASIA.

2014 was FOSSASIA’s first participation in GCI and it was a great success for us.

The trip kicked off on the evening of the 7th June with a ‘meet and greet’ at the hotel lobby. Stephanie Taylor and Mary Radomile from Google OSPO welcomed us. I met Namanyay Goel and Samarjeet Singh, the two winners from fossasia, and a bunch of other winning students and mentors. Groups of students were quick to engage in lively discussions, It was hard to believe that most of them met for the first time. I was glad to learn that both our winning students enjoyed the contest as much as I did. At the end of the two hours both students and mentors were holding on to some rewards from Google. As I was tired from the long flight I bid everyone an early goodbye to get a much needed sleep.

FOSSASIA Google Code-In 2014I met Namanyay and Samarjeet, Grand prize winners from FOSSASIA.

The next morning we met in the hotel lobby again. We were to spend the day in the Google headquarters in Mountain View. The San Francisco traffic delayed our buses a bit but we arrived at the Googleplex to a pleasant breakfast. In the morning we listened to talks from Engineers of Google projects Ara and Tango. A series of interesting questions from an enthusiastic audience followed each talk. Chris DiBona, the director of the Google OSPO presented winners their awards. After a lunch where students got to enjoy with Googlers from their respective countries, we were back for more talks. The one from Google’s rapidly evolving self driving cars, caught a lot of attention. We also got to visit the Google visitor center, where we met famous giant Androids, and to the Google store, where everyone bought a bunch of souvenirs to take back home.

Third day of the tour was the ‘fun day’. Each of us were to choose between visiting the Alcatraz island which was the home to the historic federal prison, the Exploratorium, a science and arts museum and a segway tour around San Francisco. About half of the group and I picked segways. We rode the brilliantly engineered machines around the city while our guide entertained us with interesting facts about the city. It was a novel experience for everyone. The three groups met for the lunch and set off to see the famous Golden gate bridge, where we spent the afternoon. A Yacht course across the San Francisco bay, during which we sailed under the Golden Gate, completed a day filled with amazing memories.

The final day was spent in the Google office in San Francisco. We got to listen to a talk about YouTube, which again followed some interesting questions and answers. Carol Smith introduced GSOC, the Sister program of GCI, to the students. Each of the mentors gave a brief introduction to their organizations. We were officially announced that GCI will continue in 2015 as well. The students presented Stephanie with a handmade thank you card inscripted by all of them, which I thought was pretty cool.

The trip was filled with both information and fun. It indeed was a Grand Prize. I hardly know how to thank Stephanie and co. for everything.

I hope, irrespective of being probably the best in their age, in their field, the winning students would stay humble and hungry for new knowledge. Looking forward to GCI 2015.

Link

See how GCI 2014 went: http://www.google-melange.com/gci/org/google/gci2014/fossasia