Speaker Notes Gender Disparity in Tech


Jensen Rasmussen, Staff Writer

Academy X, an innovative club focused on the use of math, science, and technology to change the world, hosted a lecture by Google Home product manager Sunil Vermuri during Academy on October 25.

Vermuri spoke about his contributions to technology and what students can do to make a difference in the fast-moving modern world.

Recognizing that his entire audience was made up of male students, Vermuri noted that only about 1% of high school girls aspire to pursue a career in technology.

Computer science teacher Jennifer Frugaletti, who has experience with the skewed boy-to-girl ratio in technology classes, said, “I think more and more girls are getting interested, but traditionally it has been a field really dominated by men.”

During the presentation, Vermuri explained his journey working as a product manager in media actions for Google Home, contributing to the ground breaking technology many rely on every day. “My mission is not to organize the world’s information, but to organize the world’s media and make it accessible to everybody worldwide,” said Vermuri.

His demonstrations featured Google Home’s ability to predict what the user wants in terms of music, videos, internet searches, and more, explaining how this technology that he’s helped to develop could lead to a world much more reliant on voice control.

He took the audience through his personal journey, starting when he learned to program a computer in 7th grade. “That opened up almost every opportunity I had after that,” said Vermuri.

Vermuri also outlined plausible futures in technology for students, from studying at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s media lab to working at Google.

Academy X club president senior Armaan Johal said, “I think the biggest takeaway is inspiration. We learn all this stuff in school, computer science class, history, math, all that stuff, but we don’t know how to use it, or we’re not excited by the use cases and what we can do with it. So I think these presentations serve as inspiration and kind of a role model for students to look at what they can use their education for, how they can use math formulas to change the world, help people, solve world problems, and that kind of thing.”

Vermuri hoped that if students are to take away one thing from his presentation that they remember to “pick a noble cause that [they] feel passionate about, and work as hard as [they] can to try to achieve that.”