A Meta Meet-Up

At a private Meta recruiting event, Carolina students shined.

Sandberg stands with a group of Computer Science students in Hyde Hall

At a private Meta recruiting event, Carolina students shined.

On Thursday, June 9, the University Room in Hyde Hall was abuzz with talk of user experience, data structures and virtual reality. Carolina students and alumni from the computer science department excitedly shared their research, projects and ideas with recruiters from Meta.

While students chatted with recruiters, Meta executives – including Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer – met with University administrators and faculty from the Department of Computer Science to talk about the continued excellence of the program.

As Meta continues to pivot its business model to focus on the development of the metaverse – a virtual-reality social platform in which users interact with a computer-generated environment as well as other users – fresh ideas and new minds will undoubtedly be put to use. While answering questions from students, Sandberg noted that when she graduated from college in 1991, she never would have been able to imagine social media platforms such as Facebook. In the same vein, she noted that when the metaverse is released, it will likely include concepts we haven’t yet considered.

Ranked fifth among U.S. public computer science departments, Carolina prepares students to propel concepts like the metaverse forward. Meta has hired hundreds of Carolina graduates. UNC-Chapel Hill also has a substantial research partnership with Meta, with Meta funding more than $1 million in research over the past two years. Sandberg commented that “the talent, innovation and research coming out of [Carolina] is second to none.”

“We were delighted to host a visit by a member of Meta’s leadership team,” remarked Dr. Kevin Jeffay, Gillian T. Cell Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and Chair of the Department of Computer Science. “Like virtually all the major players in the tech industry, Meta recruits Carolina graduates for careers at the frontier of computing, and it was a great opportunity to show Meta the campus and the program that produces such talent.”

After meeting with faculty and administrators, Sandberg fielded questions from students and offered advice and stories from her long career in Silicon Valley at Meta and Google, as well as the Treasury Department and World Bank. Sandberg encouraged students to hone their technical skills and put them to use in their early careers. “You can always make the switch over to the business side,” she advised.

Students then mingled with Meta recruiters and executives, getting valuable one-on-one facetime and networking experience. Jeffay said, “We were particularly delighted that they could spend some time with our students and share their perspective on careers in the tech industry. It was a unique opportunity for our students to meet and chat with such senior leaders from a major technology company.”

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