WASHINGTON (JANUARY 30, 2018) - Howard University today announced that Howard West, the university’s academic partnership with Google will expand to cover the full academic year beginning fall 2018. The announcement comes after a successful three-month pilot program during the Summer of 2017 at Google’s Silicon Valley headquarters.
“Howard West is an extension of our commitment to produce industry-ready Black computer science graduates who will enter the workforce with the added invaluable knowledge gained by working alongside the leading experts at Google,” says Howard University President Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick. “The program has greatly enhanced the learning process for our students and faculty while producing technology professionals equipped with first-hand knowledge and practical applications from the industry.”
Approximately 100 rising juniors from Howard and partner HBCU institutions, soon to be announced, will participate in the immersive one-year program. The residency includes a dedicated workspace on Google’s Mountain View campus, a generous stipend to cover housing and other expenses, and full access to Google resources, from gyms to micro-kitchens to the eponymous Gbikes.
Harry Keeling, Ph.D., Director of Howard University Computer Science Program, compared the success of the program to the difference between learning a language from a book versus taking the extra steps to study abroad, which often provides a richer, in-depth experience. “Howard West demonstrates how beneficial the residency approach can be,” he says. “I saw this first-hand. Students returned to campus more confident, mature and better trained from their experience. I could feel their excitement and it’s spreading to other students.”
In the pilot, 26 students participated in courses taught by Howard University faculty with the added bonus of a Google engineer as adjunct professor to simulate practical, real-world engineering challenges. Class subjects included Fundamentals of Algorithms, Software Engineering, Machine Learning, Technical Interview Prep and Intro to Mobile Applications. Upon completion of the pilot program, 14 rising Juniors applied for internships and four received offers.
Lauren Clayton, a junior computer science student from Nashville, Tenn., says she gained a wealth of knowledge and skills through the program which will prepare her to become a better software engineer. “I was really excited to spend my summer at Google because I knew that it would help me academically and professionally,” she says. “Now, my approach to school is different. I know that it is important to keep reading and doing outside research. It was a great experience.”
“The pilot exceeded our expectations in many ways,” says Howard Sueing, Software Engineer and Google instructor for Howard West. “Students and faculty noted both the rigor and immersion in life at Google as the program’s most compelling aspects, and the Googlers involved felt there was a true exchange of knowledge, culture and understanding.”
Howard West is not the first collaboration between the two institutions. Google in Residence (GIR), a program that embeds Google engineers as faculty at Howard and other Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), has been going strong for more than four years. Howard West was a natural and logical next step, bridging the geographical, academic and cultural divide between declaring a major in Computer Science, graduating and landing a job in tech.
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About Howard University
Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced four Rhodes Scholars, nine Truman Scholars, two Marshall Scholars, one Schwarzman Scholar, over 60 Fulbright Scholars and 22 Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on-campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University visit www.howard.edu.