WiSTEM and Research Club students toured Facebook over break


Emily Chu

by Emily Chu

On November 23, Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (WiSTEM) and Research Club members toured the Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto. The group observed the company’s working environment and learned about career opportunities available in the technological world.

WiSTEM president Josephine Chen (12) and Science Department Chair Anita Chetty planned the trip especially for WiSTEM as an educational outside-of-school activity for club members.

“We all use Facebook, but we don’t connect the cyber experience that we have to a place and people. We don’t realize it’s the same as any other organization, and I wanted to put a face to that brand name to tell [the students] that there are people who work there to make this happen,” Chetty said. “Also, all the speakers were women. It was to show our females, and even males, that there are highly qualified women in management positions working in areas of responsibility.”

Facebook’s Advertising Operations Specialist Alexis Smith and Recruiting Specialist Rachel Araneta served as guides, explaining paintings on the walls and answering questions as they toured students around the headquarters.

“We were able to get a taste of the lifestyle of Facebook employees that balances work with recreation- anything that helps fuel enthusiasm,” Paulomi Bhattacharya (10) said.

As students entered the building, they noticed the relaxed working environment, walls plastered with Post-Its and graffiti paintings. To promote connections between employees, desks face one another, and cubicles are nowhere to be found.

During the tour, the group saw alum Adam Perelman (’10) who has been interning at Facebook as a software engineer since he graduated.

“I was surprised at how small the company was,” Ramakrishnan Menon (10) said. “From what you hear on the news or from classmates, you would imagine that the company has more than its current amount of employees. The fact that they have hired so many young people was encouraging.”

Students also had a chance of hearing a lecture about the job selection process from Carol Pai, Tracy Yang, Nair Flores, and Kari Lee who are part of the product design, information technology, legal, and engineering teams, respectively.

Josephine said, “Their message was very simple yet relevant to all of us: that we should experiment to find what we’re passionate about, to take the riskier choice over the safer alternative because ultimately, the goal is to find a job or profession that actually excites us, that will pull us out of bed on a Monday morning.”