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How Can We Encourage Students Of All Backgrounds To Go Into STEM?

March 17, 2014 at 12:54 pm PST

Today in the Huffington Post, Blair Christie, Cisco Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, and Eric Schwarz, cofounder and CEO of Citizen Schools wrote about our organizations’ collective commitment to increase the number of students interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects and careers.

Last week in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, network engineers helped 50 student robotics teams compete in Aerial Assist, a game in which students program and operate robots to toss as many balls into a goal as possible — in just 150 seconds. Similarly, in San Jose, a group of women engineers at Cisco hosted 70 middle-school girls earlier this year as part of “National Engineering Week” to give them a glimpse into how cutting-edge technologies are developed in R&D labs.

These engagements, part of the US 2020 initiative announced at the White House Science Fair last year, reflect the urgent need to do more to encourage students to go into science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professions.

Three things are true in STEM: There are a lot of job openings. These jobs pay well. And there are not enough qualified people to fill these jobs. Today, the technology industry employs 6 million people. By 2018, the U.S. will face a projected shortfall of 230,000 qualified advanced-degree STEM workers. Meanwhile, the Bureau for Labor Statistics predicts that STEM jobs will grow 55 percent faster than non-STEM jobs over the next 10 years. The flow of talent into the STEM pipeline is limited. Without a dramatic change, the pressure will weaken further, and the flow of talent will slow to a trickle.

Read the complete blog on the Huffington Post.

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DoGooder Video Award Winners Inspire Change

March 13, 2014 at 10:26 am PST

Congratulations to the winners of the DoGooder Video Awards, who were announced today at the Nonprofit Technology Conference in Washington, D.C.!

The DoGooder Awards recognize the creative and effective use of video to promote social good. Cisco sponsored the awards for the third year in a row, providing a cash prize to the winner in the “Best Nonprofit Video” category. Watch all four winning videos below.

Best Nonprofit Video
“Right By You” from Partners for Mental Health. This 30-second video shows why we need to do more to end tragedies like youth suicide.

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Cisco Employee Volunteers Help Families Become Homeowners

March 11, 2014 at 11:30 am PST

Katherine_TochThis post was written by guest blogger Katherine Toch, Senior Marketing Manager, Cisco Corporate Affairs

A home, at first thought…seems like a pretty simple concept.  Four walls, some windows, a couple doors and you have a house. But it is more than that, it is a place to put down your roots and become part of a larger community.  It’s a safe and secure place to call your own. It’s a place to make memories and recall them through lively dinner conversations throughout the years. It’s a feeling of knowing you can keep the ones you love safe. Something so many of us take for granted. Whether here in the U.S or around the world, more people than not do not have a place to call home.

The statistics on housing are staggering: Globally 1.6 billion people live in substandard housing conditions. In addition, 1 in 4 people live in conditions that harm their health, safety, prosperity and opportunities. The current U.S. homeless population is estimated to be between 1.6 to 3 million people, and one-third of the homeless are children.

In my own backyard, the San Francisco Bay Area, fewer than 40 percent of families can afford to purchase a home. For hard-working families whose earnings place them in the low to very-low income classification, finding a decent, affordable place to live in the San Francisco Bay Area is an extremely difficult, if not impossible task. The current need for additional housing is unmet, and every day the number of families living in substandard housing continues to rise. As more families seek opportunities in the Bay Area and the population grows, the lack of affordable housing is becoming more pronounced and distressing. Families need and deserve a home.

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Cisco Honored for Supporting Disaster Relief in the Bay Area

Cisco is proud to announce it has received the 2014 Humanitarian Partnership Award from the Silicon Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross. The award recognizes the support Cisco has given to the American Red Cross’ mission, and salutes the significant impact Cisco has made in Silicon Valley.

Cisco’s relationship with the Silicon Valley Chapter, and the American Red Cross in general, is deep, enduring, and reciprocal. We have been strategic disaster response partners for more than a decade, and we share a common focus. While the American Red Cross is frequently first on scene to provide food, shelter, water, and relief services during disasters, Cisco’s rapid response IT solutions – and its employees — are not far behind, as supporting critical human needs is a key component in Cisco’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) pledge.

Over the years, Cisco has supported the American Red Cross by making cash and product donations, lending technical expertise, and encouraging extensive employee volunteerism, not only in Silicon Valley, but throughout the United States and the world.

Cisco "Ready When the Time Comes" volunteers are a critical element in their communities' disaster readiness.

Cisco “Ready When the Time Comes” volunteers are a critical element in their communities’ disaster readiness.

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Recognizing Programs that Empower Girls and Women

As we prepare to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, I am reflecting on so many factors that led to where I am today. My mother grew up in India when the path for most women was not one of higher education and a professional life. Yet, with the support of her family, she pursued an advanced degree and became an internationally acclaimed scientist. At a time when arranged marriages were the standard, she met my father and they wed in a non-traditional “love marriage.” With her quiet strength, she was a pioneer, and her experience and outlook helped shape who I am and the path I have taken.

I, too, had the support of my family to pursue dreams of a college degree and professional career, and to be a wife and mother. But many girls and women are not afforded these opportunities, a lack of access which leads to millions trapped in a cycle of poverty, abuse, and poor health—an inherent inequality—where 66 million girls around the world are not in school, 150 million girls are victims of sexual violence each year, and the number 1 cause of death for girls ages 15 to19 is childbirth.

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