Taylor’s University Student Only Malaysian to Join Retreat on Empowering Women in Computer Science in China

A software engineering student at Taylor’s University was awarded a spot in a prestigious scholarship retreat in China for her academic excellence and efforts to promote computer science

Janice Chau, a second year student at the Taylor’s University School of Computing & IT, was one of 43 scholars handpicked by Google’s Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship Asia Pacific to join their Scholars’ Retreat at the Google Shanghai office. Janice, 20, was the only Malaysian undergraduate student in the all-women applicant pool across Australia, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, New Zealand, Japan, Korea and India to take part in this experience. She was also joined by post-graduate counterparts, where they were all recognised for their academic background and demonstrated leadership.

Janice Chau, a student at the Taylor’s School of Computing & IT, still in disbelief as she poses in front of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower in Shanghai, China for the Google Anita Borg Memorial ScholarshipRetreat

“We were pleased to learn that Janice’s triumphs were recognised by a prestigious establishment. Her motivation to excel in computer science is inspirational to girls and women interested in the field,” said Professor Dr. Hiew Pang Leang, Dean of School of Computing & IT.

"The School is committed to support her and many like her to reach their full potential. Encouraging creativity, innovative thinking and technopreneurship mindsets are key components of the curriculum at the School, which is in line with Malaysia’s aspiration to expand the technology field within the country.”

Janice Chau (far right), standing with her fellow scholars at the Google Shanghai office during the Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship Retreat recently

The programme was inspired by Anita Borg, who passionately believed to include women in technology and dedicated her life to increase the percentage of women among graduates earning computing degrees to 50% by the year 2020 – a vision known as “50/50 by 2020”. Google’s aim is to continue Anita’s work by encouraging women to excel in computing and technology, as well as become active role models and leaders in the field.

“I was honoured to have been chosen to join the Scholars’ Retreat in Shanghai and thrilled to have met many influential women from all around the Asia Pacific. There were many powerful insights which helped fuel my passion in computer science,” recalled Janice who had to go through a rigorous selection process.

She believed her role as President and Founder of Taylor’s University Agents of Tech Club – where they have successfully organised 8 events since its launch in March 2015, including the largest student Hackathon in Malaysia through ImagineHack; strong academic results and an active member in a mobile application start-up company called “Little Hunters” with her course mates have helped impressed the juries during the selection process.

Second year student at the Taylor’s School of Computing & IT, Janice Chau, builds, programmes and prepares a robot with her team to fight its opponents at the Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship Retreat in Shanghai, China

The 5-day retreat was an opportunity for scholarship recipients to network with each other and “Googlers”, share insights and trends of the industry, as well as conduct various activities. For Janice, the highlight of the trip was the chance to programme and build a robot in a 6-person team.

“The Women Robot Hackathon required us to build a robot within a stipulated weight, which can attack and defend itself and only made of Legos. We were responsible to programme the strategies and given 4 hours to complete our robot,” said Janice. “The robots were put to the test in the Google Robot Kung-Fu Battle where it went through several matches to determine the winner. We were up against six teams and delighted to emerge victorious. This experience made me believe that if one is passionate about what they do, success is sure to come.”

Janice Chau (far left), was all smiles with her team when they were named champion at the “Women Robot Hackathon” during the Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship Retreat in Shanghai, China

As the retreat came to an end, Janice has a new-found aspiration that women can be strong in technical and leadership skills which can have a powerful impact to their community. After graduation, she hopes to continue her studies in computer science and looks to become a prominent leader and role model in this field.

A group photo of scholar recipients, who were recognised for their role in computer science, at the Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship retreat in Shanghai, China