GSoC meetup at ETH Zürich

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

As we start the 10th year of Google Summer of Code in 2014, GSoC supporters from around the world have been hosting meetups to encourage even more students to apply for the program this March. Below, we have a student from last year’s program discussing a recent meetup he and other interested students organized in Zurich, Switzerland.

Being part of Google Summer of Code 2013 was an amazing experience. As a new masters student at ETH Zürich, I decided that it would be a good idea to spread the word about the upcoming Google Summer of Code, and motivate more students to take part in 2014.

I began by looking for past GSoC students and mentors who are located in Switzerland. It was a lengthy process, but we were able to gather up a few people into a Google group. It was exciting to find that many people were also eager to share their experiences, as well as meet fellow GSoC alumni. Veronica even offered to come over for the event from Neuchâtel, almost on the other side of Switzerland!

Thanks to Sabina and some random but fortunate chain of connections, we were able to get the interest of Wolf and Iurii of Google Zurich, who offered to speak about their experiences (and also bring over GSoC stickers and pens). It really is great to have the Engineering HQ of Google EMEA next door!

Soon, a room was booked, a flyer was designed (with over 700 given out), emails were sent out, our event was registered into the official ETH calendar, and the Google Slides were starting to take shape from the collaboration of everyone from gsoc-ch.

The day of the talk quickly came and we were anxious to see the result of our work. The projector was working fine, the second slide faded in gracefully, and all the speakers were present. Things couldn’t be better.

The session kicked off with a brief introduction to Google Summer of Code. Many students did not know much about GSoC and were interested to find out that projects ranged across many areas of study.

After the brief talk, we moved on to presenting personal projects and experiences. It was interesting to hear the varied takes on GSoC, and about what a mentor’s life is like. From stories of how the first $500 kept a student fed as well as unfortunate disappearances, the talk quickly became a very amusing and vibrant exchange between the speakers and students.
The Speakers: Seon-Wook, Wolf, Veronica, lurii, Jasper, Imran, and Sabina (left to right)

By the end of the hour and half long event, it seemed like many students had been sold on the benefits of GSoC. We gathered around to take a group photo, and dispersed knowing that we had done something good and worthwhile.

The next day brought feedback from my peers who had attended the talk. They had been won over, and were seriously considering an application to Google Summer of Code 2014. It is great to know that our efforts were not wasted!

The Google Group for GSoC alumni and prospective students in Switzerland lives on. Do stop by if you have questions, or would just like to say hello!

By Seon-Wook Park, GSoC 2013 M-Lab student