ATLANTA—Georgia State University has partnered with social media titan Facebook to create an engineer-in-residence program that will help the university’s computer science students build their fundamental skills and career readiness, while supporting Facebook’s efforts to diversify its workforce.
Sailesh Kumar, a software engineer with Facebook’s Oculus division, will be a visiting computer science professor, teaching a sophomore-level course on data structures and algorithms during the fall 2019 and spring 2020 semesters. Kumar will also host campus workshops, mock interviews and other events to enhance internship and employment opportunities with Facebook for computer science students at Georgia State.
“This partnership will give our students an edge by helping them develop their technical skills while also learning the kinds of ‘soft skills’ needed to land high-quality internship experiences and, ultimately, jobs in the tech industry,” said John Augusto, associate dean for strategic initiatives at Georgia State’s College of Arts and Sciences. “For the Computer Science Department at Georgia State to be selected as the partner for Facebook’s Engineer in Residence program speaks to our outstanding students and faculty scholars.”
The program will benefit more than 200 Georgia State students through the classroom experience, workshops and a competitive coding team Kumar plans to create that will be open to students in any major at the university, Augusto said.
Kumar will work with faculty, including project sponsor Xiaolin Hu, professor of computer science, to evaluate the one-year program and assess its impact on campus.
The program is a part of Facebook’s Computer Science Education Initiative, which aims to diversify the technical workforce. The program, which started in 2016, has served more than 1,000 students, with 76 percent from underrepresented populations, including 48 percent Black or Hispanic students, the company said.
“Georgia State has a long track record of innovation and high-quality undergraduate teaching, and we share the Computer ScienceDepartment’s urgency for preparing and connecting their students for real-world opportunities,” said Christian McIntire, who leads Facebook’s computer science education initiatives.“It’s a privilege to partner with Georgia State to reciprocally share best practices and steward new computer science innovations together.”
Facebook reports having hired 36 interns or full-time employees from the program, with 83 percent of them identifying as underrepresented populations in tech. The program has successfully increased the hiring rate of students at partner universities and placed 76 percent of participants in the interview preparation sessions into summer internships.
Other participating universities include California State University-Monterey Bay, Morgan State University in Maryland and New Jersey Institute of Technology.