Credit: Lucia Huo

Representatives from Facebook spoke to students at a tech talk hosted by Penn’s Women in Computer Science club on Feb. 20.  

The talk primarily featured employees from Oculus, a virtual reality company acquired by Facebook, which emphasized the potential of virtual reality, as well as the diversity of applicants the companies are looking for. Facebook is a sponsor of WiCS, which tries to gain sponsors to help fund for outreach events in order to involve more women in computer science. 

Chana Greene, a representative from the company, described the employees at Oculus as “leaders in the virtual reality space."

"We're trying to encourage an ecosystem of developers who are also building for a diverse user base," Greene added.  

Greene talked about how Oculus wants to expand VR outside of the typical realm of video games into practical usages.  For example, VR has applications for health, such as aiding meditations, treatment for PTSD, and helping surgeons practice challenging procedures.  

“I think that's really cool that they really value different backgrounds," College sophomore Julie Baum said. "That's also really refreshing for someone who isn't spearheaded in this one thing."  

For example, although studying kinesiology —the movement of bodies —, seems fit for a health-related career, VR tech companies also find such knowledge useful, Baum said.  

Attendees of the event were not just engineering students looking for a potential career in Facebook and Oculus, but also students with a general interest in data sciences and virtual reality. 

Wharton sophomore Arthur Liu said he found the talk interesting even though he is not planning on a career in tech.  

“It is great to get exposure to these things especially since within Wharton, things are very concentrated in the finance area," Liu said. "It’s very good to have more diverse perspective within tech and more of these cutting edge technologies especially in the realm of data science."

While Baum said events like these are "nerve-wracking" because attendees focus on networking with the recruiters, she appreciated the genuine passion the representatives seemed to show about their work.  

"It is not really like ‘oh I'm working at Facebook’ — they love learning and I think that's something lost at Penn a lot: People just want the prestige instead of the learning aspect,” Baum said. “Obviously, the more sensible way to do things is to find out what your passions are.” 

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