The WTM Scholarship (Previously Google Anita Borg Scholarship) APAC 2016

In 2016, 50 students were selected from APAC for the WTM scholarship, and I was one of them.
The scholarship includes a retreat to a Google Office, and a Scholarship Award to cover tuition fees. This year the retreat was in Hyderabad and the scholarship award was based on the country.

Let me start from how I applied to the scholarship. I got to know about the "extended" scholarship deadline through my friend. Yes I would have missed it if not for the notice of it, and it was my last opportunity as an undergraduate since I was a final year student! I was really happy and applied with some doubt, but then I received a confusing email which made me apply from a different account. (since it was closer to the deadline there was no time for communication) So the application process went like that. Then due to my stressful final year, I completely forgot to check my alternative email and a friend told me that finalists are short listed. Then I logged to my email and there was the finalist email! I was a shortlisted candidate. The excitement went away when I saw that I had logged in just one hour before the final interview option! I hurried and sent an email to Charlotte who rescheduled it. Yes, I would have been a "not interested candidate". 

Let me say about the interview process. The interviews may be different, but for myself it was more about my final year research project and what community work I have doing. After the interview, I got to know I was selected.

I have written below the basic structure of the retreat and what I gained from it.

1.      Day 1- The first day was started with ice breaking followed by a welcome dinner. The dinner finished with singing and fun activities, allowing student bonding!
2.      Day 2- The second day was the first day of our retreat. Each morning started with breakfast at Google followed by a warm up dancing session. We were once again warmly welcomed. Each scholar was presented a GoPro Hero4 camera. The day was full of attractive sessions. The sessions included  several tech talks on topics ranging from Google culture, the next billion users of Google to Bias busting. (how to face them) The CS Unplugged session took me a long way to start initiatives, which made me realize that one can teach or learn CS with no computer at all! We were also given a tour around the Google office. It was too beautiful for a working office! :D  

The day ended with a special dinner at
Falaknuma Palace which was one of the best memories for me from the retreat. (A picture is attached below) The palace has an interesting history and you can read it from here.

3.      Day 3- The book and Selfie Stick were the surprise presents on this day. The day started off like day one, and the morning was full of tech talks to which I eagerly listened. They included Self-Driving Cars, Drones and Google X research projects. There were sessions to improve outreach and presentation skills, what we can take back to community to make an impact. I also loved the mock interview session where they acted out a Google Interview followed by a panel discussion. There were also an interesting session on Applied CS with Android done by a past Anita Borg Scholar. 

The day ended with a special dinner at May Flower, with karaoke.

4.      Day 4- The surprise present was a YouTube pillow. The day was mainly dedicated to the Robot hackathon, and it was a new experience for me. Scholars were divided to teams and instructed on how to make a basic robot. The rest of the design and work was up to the team. Fellow Google workers were also invited to watch the “robot battle”, and the day was an interactive day. Certificates were awarded to all scholars and the group picture was taken. Some of the scholars had their travel back to home country that night.

It was an amazing experience, and if I was asked of just one thing I admire most from the scholarship, I would say it was the student network. I was given the opportunity to be involved in a network with students achieving things beyond the average limit which helps to set high bars for myself. It helps to get out of the comfort zone, and be involved in things I never thought was possible. These scholars were living examples and I thank Google for this amazing opportunity.

I was impressed to see two more Sri Lankan scholars, and one was a past student of my own college. I’m involved in mentoring the next set of possible WTM scholars, and if you have any question, do ask! 

Read more-> initiatives


  1. It was a nice description of your experience. :)
    Hello, I'm a student from India.
    I got to know about this scholarship 2-3 days back and that the deadline for asia-pacific region is 22 may. So,could you please tell me what all to do? Whether to submit resume, CV or both? When to submit transcript? Is there any criteria to fulfill before submitting the transcript? How to write SOP and what are essays exactly? I'm a second year,IT student from a normal college in Delhi. But I'm consistently among the top 3 in my branch and I'm currently at the position of Technical Head, in Google Developers Group of my college. I'm a novice in this scholarship thing. So, it would be great if you could help. :)

    1. Hello, so in order to apply, go to the scholarship link and select APAC.

      You have to submit your CV and transcript both. You will be guided in the application as to where you should submit it. Essay questions are also available in the application. Read more about instructions in the website, and feel free to ask if you have more doubts. :)

  2. Hi, I am from India and I have applied for this scholarship. Can you tell me what all leadership qualities and CV should have to get selected? I really want this scholarship. I've been reading a lot about it. And I am very nervous.
    I'm a second year computer engineering student from govt college in Goa. I am not a topper but i do well in studies. Besides I take part in hackathons, organize workshops and I'm currently Joint Secretary of Computer Dept. of our college. Besides technical I do a lot of extra curricular activities and coordinate non technical events.
    Can you please tell me if i have chances? like even 50%?

    1. Hi, so happy about your interest! There is no way to list a set of qualifications, but since you have more years, keep trying and don't give up if you don't get selected this time. Keep mentoring, doing extra curricular activities and building your profile while helping other students in your communities. Be brave to tell what you do. That will take you a long way :)

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  4. Can u tell more Bout phone interview?

    1. It may differ. For me it was more about my projects, research, what I have done for other female students and communities I'm involved in. :)

  5. My interview only consisted of non technical questions. I just completed my second year. I have a research background but the interviewer did not ask anything regarding my technical background. Is that a good thing or bad? How likely is someone to qualify the interview?

    1. So your interview is done already? You applied this year right? The results are out?

  6. Thank you for sharing such great information. can you help me in finding out more detail on  nursery admission magarpatta pune


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