Summertime Standout: Daiana Bilbao

Daiana BilbaoCollege of Natural Sciences undergraduate Daiana Bilbao has had a busy summer. She started things off at the Twitter headquarters in San Francisco, where she participated in the week-long #EarlyBird program. From there, she made her way to St. Louis for a seven-week intensive Japanese language course at Washington University. After she completes that program, she’ll return home to Colorado just in time to begin her second year as a computer science major at CSU.

#Empowered

Daiana Bilbao at Twitter headquartersTwitter’s #EarlyBird program offers an immersive experience for first-year computer science students from backgrounds typically underrepresented in technology. Here, the Denver local was encouraged to celebrate her Latina identity while learning about and working on projects with Twitter’s software engineers. “The program promoted the phrase ‘I belong in tech’, which I loved,” said Bilbao. “It was extremely empowering. I never felt like an outsider during this time.”

Participants also received tips on resumes, networking and interviewing from Twitter recruiters, and they were given a project to design a new feature for Twitter. “Twitter is my primary social media, so I was very excited about this project,” said Bilbao.

Her team decided to redesign Twitter’s archive using HTML, CSS and JavaScript. “These were languages I was not familiar with, but I wasn’t alone because my group members also had little to no experience with these languages,” said Bilbao. “So, we worked together to teach and help each other. It was hard work, however, it taught me that I don’t need to know every single detail about a language to solve one problem.”

Her experience with the program confirmed Bilbao’s desire to pursue a career in computer science. “My peers inspired me a lot, and because of them I became encouraged to begin applying for internships, to attend hackathons and to never push aside an opportunity. I am very grateful.”

Taking tech international

Bilbao has plans to combine her passions for technology and Japanese. “I want to experience living in a foreign country for a while,” said Bilbao. “I am interested in living in Japan. I learned that at Twitter you have the option of working remotely, and that some employees do, so they’re able to travel and work! Very cool! Twitter also has an HQ in Tokyo, which I was very interested in.”

Her participation in the intensive summer Japanese language course is helping her reach that goal. “It’s been really fun to be spending my summer improving my Japanese speaking as well as making new friends and exploring a new campus and city I’ve never visited before,” said Bilbao.