Alumni from Google and ESPN recently visited campus to enlighten student on how to break into the technology or sports broadcasting fields.
Tom Hazel ’05, Kira Chappelle ’07 and Matt Volk ’03 were invited to campus by Bowdoin Career Planning, which organizes talks by many professionals throughout the academic year. These visits from alumni expose students to a variety of possible jobs and career paths, as well as provide opportunities to make networking contacts.
Chappelle, a student engagement and development specialist at Google, spoke about the company’s BOLD internship program. The program, Building Opportunities for Leadership and Development, is designed to attract minority employees to Google. The company flies the interns to one of its locations, and then pairs them with a mentor and has them “do real work,” she said.
Hazel began his talk by explaining Google’s global impact — and, thus, its responsibility. “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” the software engineer said. “Millions of people are affected by our products.” The motto that energizes the roughly 52,000 employees is to “do cool things that matter.”
Indeed, at the moment, Google is actively developing more than 5,000 projects, according to Hazel. The company encourages its employees to devote 20% of their time to developing their own ideas.
Working for Google is just as expected based on the many media stories written about its progressive workplace culture. Micro-kitchens dotted around office buildings create communal spots where staff interact, hear about new products, and potentially launch new project collaborations.
Hazel advised Bowdoin students interested in applying for engineering positions at Google to prepare for tough interviews during which they’ll be expected to solve a coding or algorithm problem on the spot. Approximately 30 Bowdoin alumni now work at Google, Hazel added. “We want more people from Bowdoin!” he exclaimed.
As ESPN’s director of programming, acquisitions, content strategy and content development, Matt Volk oversees relationships with the NHL and the NFL, and he directs all of ESPN’s scheduling and media rights. He has worked with many of the biggest names in athletics, he said.
When he first started at Bowdoin, Volk said, he wanted to be a high school history teacher. While his career took a different turn, he credits both his academic and extracurricular experiences for allowing him to excel in sports media and marketing. Although Volk was a government and legal studies major, he quipped that he also “majored in BCN [the Bowdoin Cable Network]” where he said he pioneered Internet streaming and live televising of Bowdoin athletic events.
To compete against the thousands of applicants with job-specific college degrees, Bowdoin students should take full advantage of their college’s many resources, Volk recommended. “Utilize the academic caliber of a Bowdoin degree, but make sure you’re getting involved,” he advised. “Build up your resume so that it pops.”
Erica Hummel ’16 and Busra Eriz ’17 contributed to this report.