Through the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), which has been serving the UC Berkeley campus for over 50 years, a group of 13 students students recently visited Airbnb’s headquarters in San Francisco and had the opportunity to learn about the company firsthand.
EOP works with the forty-seven percent of UC Berkeley’s undergraduates who are first-generation college students, low-income, or from an historically underrepresented community.
In April, Airbnb worked with the EOP program to bring a group of diverse undergraduates to the company’s headquarters. Students toured the office, had lunch with staff, and asked questions during a panel discussion on careers at Airbnb. Students in attendance are majoring in the sciences, technology, engineering, or mathematics (commonly referred to as STEM).
For Patricia Hernandez, a first-generation Latina college student, the opportunity to connect with Airbnb staff was enriching, “It was reassuring to hear the professional journey those working at Airbnb have taken, and how they got to where they are today. They provided great advice for many of us that are currently job searching.”
The Airbnb team that welcomed the students were thrilled to host them, especially because many are graduates of the University of California system. For Diane Ko, a software engineer who majored in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS) at UC Berkeley, forming a support system was what helped her through college. “Sometimes being a minority in tech can be tough. There’s an extra burden to not be another statistic. My advice is to take advantage of student groups as your support network. Find people who you feel comfortable around. You don’t have to face it alone.”
Rosie Serrato, a fourth year Business Administration major from Salinas, noted that the Airbnb visit exposed her to career opportunities she didn’t know existed, “although I am not a software engineer, I learned that I too can be part of Airbnb because the company leverages people’s backgrounds regardless of one’s major. I feel like I belong at Airbnb!”
Learn more about the Educational Opportunity Program at the University of California, Berkeley campus.