Google CEO Sundar Pichai is doing his part to encourage girls to study technology and science.
Earlier this month, Pichai responded to a letter from a 7-year-old girl in Hereford, UK, who wrote to him describing her interest in working at the search giant. Chloe Bridgewater was candid about what appealed to her most: bean bag chairs, go-karts, and slides, recreational accoutrements at Google Silicon Valley’s campus that she had seen in photographs her father showed her.
Chloe also explained that her father had introduced her to a video game involving a robot and some squares. “He said it would be good for me to learn about computers,” she wrote, adding, “My dad said he would get me a computer one day.” (In a statement to Quartz, Chloe’s father, Andy Bridgewater, said she will indeed be getting a computer soon.)
Chloe also highlighted comments from her teachers about how she excels in spelling, reading, and her sums.
As it happens, Pichai’s experience is the archetypal American-dream story, and his father also seemingly inspired his career. Pichai grew up in a two-room apartment in Chennai, India, where he and his brother slept in the living room. In a Bloomberg magazine feature, Pichai’s father, an electrical engineer, said that he used to talk about his work at an electrical-components factory with his son. “Even at a young age, he was curious about my work. I think it really attracted to him to technology,” Regunatha Pichai said.
When it was time for Sundar to fly to California and attend Stanford University, the family withdrew more than Regunatha’s annual salary from their savings to pay for the plane ticket.
In his response to Chloe, now attracting widespread media attention, Pichai said he looked forward to hearing from her when she was finished with school. He also acknowledged one of her other stated interests: swimming. “I’m glad that you like computers and robots, and hope that you will continue to learn about technology,” he wrote. “I think if you keep working hard and following your dreams, you can accomplish everything you set your mind to—from working at Google to swimming in the Olympics.”