August 10, 2018

Scholar Voices: My Journey to Google and Stanford University

Computers have always enthralled me. As a child, I was spellbound by my family’s old Dell computer. For nearly a decade, I would go onto different websites solely to learn more about computers. It didn’t always come easily – like when I installed a virus trying to make a website – but I ultimately grew very comfortable behind a keyboard. I sought to understand the mechanics of computers, and I built my own computer the same year I took my AP Computer Science course.

My passion for computers has led me to many exciting opportunities. Last year, I attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Engineering Experience. This summer, I have had the chance to attend the Google Computer Science Summer Institute in Los Angeles.

I’ve been surrounded by some of the smartest people I have ever met, as both the Google engineers and my peers never fail to impress me. We’ve been working on projects, and while I’m in my groups and collaborating with my teammates, helping them and getting help, I can’t help but smile when I think about how far we’ve all come. I can’t believe this happened to me. Who knew I’d be at Google? And in a few weeks, a freshman at Stanford?

Well, it couldn’t have happened without the efforts of my family and the people surrounding me. My parents have sacrificed a lot in order to make sure that I could find my passions, and I’m grateful for their efforts. People like me, first-generation college students, tend to struggle. We don’t get these opportunities. The majority of us don’t graduate college within 6 years. Statistically, we drop out at higher rates. Our GPAs are lower. We don’t have the same resources many of our peers do. It’s sobering to think about, especially as I approach an institution usually unavailable to but the most privileged.

A young Sammy, attending the TGR Learning Lab day program as a 5th grader.

But on an individual scale, I’m fortunate enough to be attending programs like Google CSSI and the Earl Woods Scholar Program. I’m going to transcend those statistics. These programs are incredibly important because they help even the playing field for students like me. College isn’t easy, and I would not have come nearly as far as I have today without resources like the TGR Learning Lab.

TGR Foundation, and by extension the Earl Woods Scholar Program, have given me, and students like me, so much. When I’m on my way home each day from my nine hours at Google, or coming home from an Earl Woods Scholar meet-up, I can’t help but feel grateful for these opportunities.

Redefining what it means to be a champion.


The views expressed are my own, and not necessarily representative of Google as an organization or the Google CSSI program. For future applicants, find more information at