BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— Illinois Wesleyan University student Alan Russian ’15 (Grayslake,
Ill.) still can’t believe he’s interning this summer at Google Inc. in Los Angeles.
It’s no wonder internships such as Russian’s are highly coveted: after all, “google”
has become a verb reflecting the company’s popularity as the most-used search engine
on the web. Google’s collaborative culture, free healthy and organic food, and numerous
other perks consistently place it at the top of Fortune magazine’s list of Best Companies to Work.
A computer science major, Russian works for AdWords, the advertising platform that
provides most of Google’s profits. Russian said the computer science tech talks, tutorials
and classes he attends are indicative of the company’s stimulating environment.
The collaborative environment extends companywide, Russian said. Google encourages
its employees, or Googlers, to ask challenging questions, exchange ideas and work
together as a team.
“Google’s culture strongly emphasizes constructive criticism,” said Russian. “That,
coupled with Google’s excellent engineers, has allowed me to gain a tremendous amount
of knowledge about the computer science industry.”
As an opportunity to share opinions and ask questions, Googlers are able to interact
with Larry Page and Sergey Brin, co-founders of Google, during weekly all-company
“People will ask questions that throw Larry and Sergey off guard, but they answer
them nonetheless,” said Russian. “Asking these questions is not frowned upon at all.
It’s actually encouraged.”
Russian first applied for an internship at Google in 2013, but didn’t get an interview.
He did receive an offer to intern at Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace company,
where he gained the experience he would later need for his Google internship.
“My job at Boeing helped me a lot,” said Russian. “Google actually emailed me over
the summer inviting me to reapply. I did, and eventually got my internship offer.
“I never thought I’d be working at a company like Google,” Russian adds. “But after
being inspired by friends, I made getting an internship like this my goal, and I did
everything I possibly could in order to make it happen.” He credits that success to
his persistence, previous internship experience and the encouragement he received
from his fellow computer science friends.
Follow Russian's blog for updates on his experiences at Google and in California.