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Susan Rajnic Paperini '93

Senior Engineering Program Manager
Google Cloud Platform

Tell us a little about your career journey.

I've had several different roles across many different countries, but each has always been about building great technology platforms to enable teams to deliver their best. I've worked as a software developer, systems administrator, and IT Director, to name a few. I've worked in government, diplomatic missions, large global firms, and Silicon Valley startups. Sometimes my roles have been very hands-on, and other times I’ve managed large global teams, but every role has required me to constantly keep learning and figuring out the ever-changing landscape of computing technology.

Describe your current job.

I work in Developer Relations, which means learning from and speaking on behalf of developer communities who want to create their products on our cloud technologies. As a program manager, I bring together teams from all different parts of Google Cloud Platform to ensure that our products focus on the best developer experience.

What do you enjoy about your work?

It’s never boring! It’s broad, it’s very execution focused, and I get to work with all different roles such as engineers, product managers, and marketing specialists.

What advice would you give girls looking to enter STEM fields?

Learn how to learn. Change is constant, and the pace of technical advancement is fast and furious. Never stop being curious and never ever stop asking questions—there are no dumb questions. It’s impossible to know all the answers. Find a community where you can learn and grow and push yourself to think big, audacious thoughts, then don’t be afraid to fail often in pursuit of them. All the best innovations have been born from ridiculously ambitious goals and a history of failures. There is no reason that your big, crazy idea can’t be brought to fruition with enough determination and stubborn curiosity.

What’s your favorite thing about Visi?

Visi is steeped in history and I think I was really drawn to being a part of something that was there long before me, and hopefully will be there long after me. The community of Sisters made it such a special and unique place; I feel honored to have been a part of their lives for a brief moment.

What made you choose this school?

I chose Visi for its strong academic reputation, its unique environment, its beautiful location, and for the opportunities it provides young women.

What impact has the all-girls educational environment had on your life?

Studies seem to indicate that young women do better academically at single-sex schools, and in my case I certainly think this was a factor in my success. The number of women who study computer science was low when I attended college (and continues to dwindle, unfortunately). I’m not sure how I would have reacted to the male-dominated culture without the strong foundation that Visi provided me, pushing me to tackle challenging academics and believe in myself.

How did Visitation prepare you for college and your career?

Critical analysis, writing, and communication are cornerstone skills for high-tech work. If you can’t communicate what you are trying to build or articulate your opinion, then you will be hindered in your ability to contribute. The rigor of Visitation’s academic framework imbued me with those strengths.

Susan holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Georgetown University and an M.B.A. from INSEAD (France and Singapore). She is also the proud mom of a toddler boy and enjoys training for and participating in triathlons.


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