There’s a hamburger joint with shakes (her favorite) and an ice cream shop and a candy store.
She veers off the path and enter an alcove-like space between two office buildings. There are plants and wooden Adirondack-style chairs. The intern’s call it the "Zen Garden."
“These companies are so close to me, but I never saw myself working there,” 16-year-old Blanca Valencia says. She sits at a wooden table, surrounded by people hanging out, taking calls, eating and working.
Valencia is going to be a junior at East Palo Alto Phoenix Academy, which is a few miles south of Facebook’s campus. She doesn't know anybody in tech. Her folks immigrated from Mexico; her mom is a custodian and her dad works construction.
Driving by Facebook's campus on Bayfront Expressway, Valencia imagined office buildings filled with cubicles and coders.
“One thing I definitely learned is that there are all these different opportunities and all these fields I could work in, and I thought that was really cool,” Valencia says.
Casteñeda Isaac was surprised by all the different people she met. She met a woman who used to coach the U.S. women’s gymnastic team and a guy who used to do public relations for famous pop stars.
“There are a bunch of coders here but it’s really diverse. ... In jobs it’s really diverse,” Casteñeda Isaac says.
Of course, the lack of the “other kind” of diversity -- racial and gender diversity -- is an issue at tech companies, and Facebook is no different.
Programs like the one that brought Casteñeda Isaac and Valencia to Facebook are trying to address that. While this year’s academy included a coding class, the most important skills theses girls say they learned were the non-academic skills that often that lead to success in the white-collar world. And this being Silicon Valley, a big theme this summer was networking.
“I’ve become much better at networking,” Casteñeda Isaac says. “I’m not so scared to walk up to somebody and say, 'Hi, I'm Naima and I'm interested in what you do.'”
“That helped boost my confidence a little bit like, 'Oh, I can really talk to these people,'” she says.
Casteñeda Isaac even put those networking skills to the test.
“Like a couple of weeks ago there was a Black Lives Matters rally here at Facebook, and I connected with a college intern that started the rally,” she says. “She goes to Princeton and she gave me really good advice about how to get into college and she was super cool.”
Casteñeda Isaac and Valencia say that after coming inside the walls of Facebook, they started to see all the possibilities that exist in the wider world outside it.