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Alumni Magazine

Homegrown leadership

Alumna Kamala Subramaniam leads Google’s new hub in the Triangle.

Kamala Subramaniam wearing a Google branded black sweatshirt.

Kamala Subramaniam carries with her a number of positive memories from her time at NC State, including favorite classes, homework and project work with her classmates and eating on a graduate student budget at Golden Dragon, a local Chinese restaurant that is popular with students.

Now, Subramaniam has returned to the Research Triangle to lead Google’s new hub in Durham, NC, and is poised to create more memories.

In 2021, the company announced plans to establish a new engineering unit dedicated to its cloud computing business in downtown Durham, creating more than 1,000 new jobs. Subramaniam, who came to Raleigh from her native India to earn master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical and computer engineering, joined Google in 2016 after holding positions with Microsoft and other technology companies.

“North Carolina has retained a very special place in my heart and returning to the Triangle has always been something my husband and I have discussed for our family,” she said. “When you touch down in North Carolina and, especially, the Triangle, after being away for so long, you can instantly see why this is one of the fastest-growing regions in the country.”

A substantial part of her role will include recruiting from the strong talent pool available in the Triangle, including from NC State. Google’s first intern in Durham was an NC State student who began a full-time position in January.

She describes NC State as “a place where relationships come first.

“I have had a wonderful time ever since stepping foot into the University,” she said. “I remember first having to check in with the immigration office, then the grad programs office, and the College of Engineering office. Every interaction I had was kind. It was only natural that I made my best friends for life at State.”

Professors and advisors helped Subramaniam create a portfolio of classes toward her degree that incorporated what the industry in her affinity field of networking would be looking for when she graduated while also providing training in core programming, system design, data structures and algorithms.

“This allowed me to experiment in any field and taught me early on that a combination of affinity and the need to constantly learn is key to satisfaction,” she said.

Subramaniam has stayed connected as a member of the Department of Computer Science’s Strategic Advisory Board and delivered the department’s December 2021 commencement address.