— Google

A pilot program to build a diverse pool of policy experts

During the 15 years I have been at Google, I have seen important improvements in the diversity of our workforce. For example, I used to be the only woman in the room, but now I am often surrounded by talented women leaders.

I work in the world of government affairs and public policy, which means engaging with governments and influencers to find constructive solutions to challenges that our industry and society face today. Having diverse representation and voices is important to us, as so much of our work requires building relationships across different groups, geographies, issues, and perspectives. But we must still do more to ensure that we are fostering a tech policy ecosystem that reflects the diversity of the world we build for.

That’s why our team started the Policy Summer Institute (PSI) with our academic partners at CIVICA, an alliance of eight leading European higher education institutions in the social sciences. The goal: to promote professional opportunities of first-generation university students in the digital policy ecosystem.

For our first year, nine scholars from Sudan to Switzerland had the opportunity to learn about how we work on tech policy by spending a week with our government affairs and public policy team in Europe. They then completed a summer internship funded by Google with one of our partner consultancies.

I am delighted that several of our scholars were offered further employment opportunities at their agencies following their internships. Others will continue to explore tech policy issues through their studies.

Shivona Fernandes-Köhler, an Msc. Politics and Policy Analysis student at Bocconi University in Milan, shared her key takeaways from the experience:

What was your motivation to apply for the program?

I have always been interested in the interrelations between the private and public sector, especially regarding innovation, and wanted to understand the impact that policy firms and big tech have on the world around us. However, without an existing network, internships in the field are often limited and challenging to gain access to. When I first saw the program, I didn’t think I had a chance, but when I saw that it focused on first-generation university students, I felt motivated to apply and showcase that diversity is in fact my strength.


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