“If you want to use the music from Frozen in your game, do you know how to download a gif to match?” Not the average question I have heard in a conference room at Cisco headquarters in San Jose, California, especially when asked to 7-year-old girls! The girls were part of a group of 14 children participating in a coding camp held at Cisco and put on by Embark Labs. The goal of the event is to teach 7 to 10 year olds to have fun while learning how to program.
Cisco has supported the communities where its employees live and work for close to 30 years. We leverage our resources and technology to multiply individual and nonprofit efforts to improve people’s lives. One area Cisco focuses on is improving student performance in education, particularly in underserved communities. Cisco is therefore proud to partner with nonprofit City Year, a member of the AmeriCorps network. City Year recruits recent college grads who devote one year to help at-risk students stay in school.
Cisco is a national leadership sponsor of City Year and a local team sponsor in San Jose, California, the home of Cisco headquarters. Cisco funding recently supported 8 dedicated corps members at the Cesar Chavez Elementary School. Working full time for 10 months, corps members help high-risk students improve attendance, behavior, and course performance in English and math—the factors known as the early warning indicators for high school dropouts.
This week in 9 Cisco offices around the world, 220 senior executives modeled some of Cisco’s core values by volunteering to mentor 400 students in STEM (science, technology, education and math). Cisco has been actively engaged in helping the communities in which our employees live and work since the company started in 1984. We do that by donating resources and product to global and community nonprofits and by encouraging our employees to volunteer. Cisco’s volunteer program started in 1992 and often includes matching cash grants for hours that employees work.
Even though I grew up surrounded by engineers and technology in Silicon Valley, I didn’t decide to seriously study science until my freshman year in college, when I switched my major from economics to theoretical mathematics at the suggestion of my calculus professor. That was the first time a teacher told me I had a strong aptitude for math and encouraged me to expand my idea of what kinds of studies and careers to pursue. Mentors are widely recognized as being a key factor in helping girls decide to study science and technology. This is especially true in developing counties where there are traditionally fewer professional female role models. Cisco is a champion for educating girls and women in technology and understands the importance of mentors early in a girl’s academic career. This is why 70 Cisco offices in 52 countries are putting on events for International Girls in ICT Day, introducing students to successful professionals and encouraging them to study science and technology.
Electric trading markets that allow consumers to procure blocks of energy directly from generation providers have existed for a long time, but have tended to be in areas with highly stable distribution systems with access limited to large consumers. Customer segmentation within electricity markets has therefore been limited, with utilities defining tariffs and establishing service reliability based on customer type: residential, commercial, or industrial. However, technology platform enhancements have enabled smaller consumers to participate in electric trading markets and enabled system operators with a less stable grid to provide this service.
The result is that consumers, and not just the utility companies, can define the characteristics and pricing for their electric service.
For Cisco, this change is allowing us to purchase electricity in one of our most important, but least reliable and highest-carbon locations — Bangalore, India — in a new way that reflects our requirements for availability and environmental impact.