Sunday, March 23, 2008

Finding Mentors

While in Chicago, I was privileged to be a part of the selection process for Mentor organizations for Google's Summer of Code program. (Yes, I work for Google in the Open Source Programs Office.) When I say privileged, I mean it: having a chance to be a part of such a productive and far-reaching program is just that. I love my work :-)

Not that it was all sunshine and Care Bears. We received over 500 applications for what was to have been 150 spots. There were so many great applications that we increased the number to 170+ and still had to turn down some terrific projects that we really wanted to support. The review process is grueling - approximately 10 of us spent a entire afternoon in a room looking at each application*. A short list of roughly 250 was decided on, and then that list was cut down. Leslie Hawthorn did the majority of the heavy lifting of choosing which muscles and bones to lop off (and for the program as a whole), reviewed and seconded by the group - major kudos to Leslie, who stayed up most of the night finalizing the list and trying to keep as many orgs in as possible. It really hurts to have to pass on some projects, but we can only do what we can do.

To any groups who didn't make the cut - please try again next year! But I'm going to offer some advice - hell, issue a plea! Please, *please* - read the instructions first. And the FAQs. And if you think you might not understand something - email the program administrator before the filing deadline and double check. It was awful to have to turn down exciting projects, projects we really wanted in the program, because their application was incomplete.

If you're interested in Google Summer of Code 2008, keep your eye on the Google Open Source blog.

*people involved with a given project recuse themselves from reviewing that project.

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