UCSC eBay Inspire! interns make online shopping easier


          Girls (and boys if you’re reading this), don’t you wish your online shopping experiences could improve? Yes, we all know online shopping from our mobile devices is easy enough, but it has its down side. In some cases, the screen may be too small, and sometimes you don’t get a very clear image of the item you want to purchase (and what do we hate more than ordering the wrong thing online? The hassle of returning it!) OR, you can’t bookmark each item to later return to it with ease. Sometimes you also simply do not have the patience to sit down in front of your MacBook scrolling through endless outfits, shoes, and accessories. Simply put, it wouldn’t be so bad if bidding on stylish AND affordable clothing were made easier, and even more convenient.

            Our very own students at UC Santa Cruz have been working hard to make the addicted-online-shopper’s dream come true. These young women have worked to develop a project aiming at improving the shopping experience for customers who shop from their mobile devices. Kristy Brambila, Cassandra Gordon, Enrica Beltran, and Esmeralda Carillo are the brains (and beauties) behind this project. They are undergraduate students from the Baskin School of Engineering at UC Santa Cruz. These students developed promising advances during their interning at eBay headquarters last summer. The girls were a part of the IU/eBay Inspire! Scholarship Program.


            The IU/eBay Inspire! Scholarship Program provides support and empowerment to young women who are motivated in pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). This program also provides support for students who are socially and economically disadvantaged. Indiana University computer science alumni created this eBay funded scholarship program. Furthermore, the IU/eBay Inspire! Scholarship recipients who demonstrate outstanding excellence and distinction are awarded an annual scholarship of $5,000, financial support to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, and two hours per week of mentoring/tutoring support from a student mentor.

                Now, with an evident growth in the popularity of smart phones it is no doubt that companies aren’t wasting time researching and coming up with new methods to make shopping for products online easier. There are times when it seems far more convenient to shop online from the comfort of your own home (especially as a college student) rather than going out of your way to shop at the mall. And everyone nowadays has a smart phone in hand most of the time, whether it’s an iPhone, an iPad, or an Android. Truth of the matter is we are always in possession of a smart device. In result, buying products from these mobile devices instead of on an “old-school” desktop or laptop has become the preferred way to do these things. 

            Kristy Brambila, Cassandra Gordon, Enrica Beltran, and Esmeralda Carillo were interns in the Silicon Valley eBay headquarters. After just one academic year of their undergraduate career under their belt, they have proved to be motivated enough to take their talents to the real world. Students chosen to intern for IU/eBay Inspire! are provided with not only scholarship support but also exposed to a learning community which supports them in excelling within the computing fields. eBay is especially focused on the goal of increasing the meaningful participation of women in computing. More than this, our very own young sophomores from UCSC are setting a great example for other intelligent and promising young women who may be afraid or reluctant to study within the STEM majors. Not to mention, they’re making online shopping just a tad bit easier.