Meet Our Google Summer of Code 2013 Students—Part 1

By Benetech, posted on

This summer, for the second consecutive year, we partnered with Google Summer of Code. Thanks to this excellent program, we’ve had the opportunity to work with three wonderful students: Jordan Gould, Yashasvi Girdhar and Anuruddha Hettiarachchi.

All three students have worked on open source projects designed to improve the usability of Bookshare for a diverse population of individuals with print disabilities. You can read more about our Google Summer of Code 2013 students’ projects in our recent blog post.

We asked Jordan, Yashasvi and Anuruddha to tell us about their internship experience and some of their takeaways. We’ve shared Yashasvi’s story below. We invite you to check back on our blog over the coming weeks for Jordan and Anuruddha’s stories.

Yashasvi Girdhar

I am Yashasvi Girdhar. I am a Junior majoring in Computer Science at the International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India.

On hearing about Google Summer of Code a few months back, I was quite fascinated by the idea of the program, where students from all around the world get to work for open source projects and are sponsored by Google. Programs like this really help promote and expand the open source community.

I was introduced to Benetech when applying for a Google Summer of Code internship. I was really impressed by Benetech’s cause to support and serve society through the use of technology and am grateful to be given an opportunity to contribute to it.

Mainly involved in a project intended to enhance Bookshare’s Go Read accessible eBook reader for Android phones and tablets, my experience with Benetech has been great. My initial project was to achieve word-level highlighting synchronized with Text-to-Speech in Go Read—a functionality that would improve the reading experience of users with dyslexia. For technical reasons, however, my project was changed to extend Bookshare’s application programming interface (API) functionality. This enhancement will support the download of books with images, which, for example, are important to users who are dyslexic or have a motor related disability.

Beyond technical experience, this internship has given me a chance to learn how one works in an open source community. Having learned about the greatness of this community, now I know that I want to make my future in open source.

All the knowledge and skill set that I have learned will certainly help me in my career ahead. Working with a nonprofit organization like Benetech, you have that awesome feeling of being part of something big that is helping people across the globe. I sincerely hope to continue the same in the future.