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Vista Voyagers at Google!

Sixteen Voyagers were awestruck as they walked onto Google’s campus and were greeted with refreshing boba tea, snacks, and excited Google employees. They quickly warmed up and began peppering the Google team with questions on accessibility apps, sharing product feedback, and responding to personal career stories.

The students product tested a Google accessibility app called Lookout which identifies, reads, and locates text or objects. The Voyagers had a multitude of product suggestions and ideas which were quickly jotted down for further consideration. After the demos, two Googlers who were blind and visually impaired shared their personal journeys of how they obtained jobs at Google, including describing their own occurrences with inaccessible materials, high school and college experiences, and concluding with a message of perseverance, determination, and self-advocacy. The Voyagers were then shuttled to a Google Cafe where they happily chatted with Googlers and friends as they munched on a fresh hot meal of their choice.

A collage of pictures from the event, pictures are group photos of the students and Google engineers, both outside and in a big conference room.

Expanded Core Curriculum skills Developed:

  1. Assistive Technology: Through the immersion lab students learned about and utilized several new accessibility apps which will increase their independence as they move throughout society.  
  2. Career education exposure: Googlers with and without visual impairments shared their personal career stories highlighting the need for tenacity and problem-solving skills. Hearing from adults who have felt the same frustrations normalizes their experiences and motivates them to continue to strive for success. 
  3. Social interactions: Voyagers were exposed to conversation on a professional level in a conference room like setting and a relaxed environment during dinner where they mingled freely. Learning how to navigate and understand the difference between these two settings is a vital skill set which will be utilized in future careers.
  4. Self-determination development: “Any questions?” A Google employee asked after sharing his story. An awkward silence filled the room for one beat, two beats before a student tentatively raised her hand. This is an example of how students overcome insecurities speaking in front of a large group of people, asking questions and sharing observations with business professionals and peers. Participating in a large group discussion is challenging for anyone, and especially so if one cannot see the visual social cues transpiring throughout the room.   

A very special thank you to the Google team who put this experience together!