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To Ignite Interest in STEM, Remember Our ‘Sputnik Moment’

This blog was originally published on the Huffington Post

As I watch the unfolding story of cyber outlaw Edward Snowden skipping around the globe, I’m struck by the talented young man who employers “fought over,” despite the fact that he had no formal STEM education. In contrast, the National STEM Conference in Austin last week brought together over 1,500 folks to ponder and discuss the critical need for more American students to be knowledgeable in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.

While many young people today are brought up with some innate sense of these skills, as Snowden was, this conference dared us to imagine the innovation and creativity that could come from this future generation if they were provided the formal education to reach their full potential in these fields.

All the participants at the National STEM Conference brought diverse ideas to the table. Corporate leaders mixed with curriculum developers who chatted with government officials who socialized with teachers. More than one session and hallway chat highlighted the desperate need to interest and retain younger and younger students in STEM education. Fewer conversations occurred about the relevancy of field. Even fewer attendees spoke about their own education “journeys,” when a STEM learning moment drove them into their current career path.

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Women Have the Skills to Stand Out in STEM Fields

This blog was initially published on the Huffington Post

This week, my boss, Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers, is being recognized at the U.S. STEM Solutions Summit as one of the 100 CEO Leaders in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).

This is a great recognition for Cisco’s efforts in developing talent for the technology field. On the other hand, the list of Fortune 100 CEO’s is disappointing because of what’s missing – women. Only 18 of the 100 leaders listed are women.

In the United States and around the world, there are far more technology-oriented jobs than candidates to fill them. According to the National Math + Science Initiative (NMSI), jobs in U.S are projected to grow 45 percent between 2008 -2018 in computer systems design and related services, a math intensive field.

Further, a new study from the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program says 20 percent of all jobs in the United States require a “high level of knowledge” in at least one STEM field. Half of these jobs don’t even require bachelor’s degree, yet they pay $53,000 on average—10 percent higher than jobs with similar educational requirements.

Clearly, the computer technology represents a good career choice with strong possibilities for employment and professional growth. Yet it appears that this message isn’t reaching a broader audience of women.

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Cisco CEO John Chambers Recognized Among 100 CEO Leaders in STEM

“Given the rapid speed of change in today’s global marketplace, a country must invest in its greatest asset—its people—and train them to excel in science, technology, engineering, and math [STEM].” Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers

A skilled workforce is the backbone of a successful and competitive economy. Unfortunately, here in the United States, we are falling behind on educating people in the STEM fields that are vital to the technology careers that our society depends on.

At Cisco, we are working to change that through our educational investments, particularly our Networking Academy program.

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Cisco Shares Expertise on STEM Education at National Conference

STEMThe U.S. National STEM Solutions Conference is just around the corner and the Cisco CSR team will be among the more than 2,000 business, education, and government leaders from around the United States in attendance at the Austin Convention Center from June 17 to 19, in efforts to continue change in STEM (science, technology, engineering, or math) education, policy, and workforce development.

Cisco CSR, along with its partner STEMconnector, will use the conference to advocate for more STEM education to better equip the students of today with the education and resources necessary to become the leaders of tomorrow.

During the three-day conference, the Cisco CSR-funded EdTech: Revolution in Education and 100 CEO Leaders in STEM reports will be showcased. EdTech: Revolution in Education is a first-of-its kind effort to create an inventory of education technology resources. The 100 CEO leaders in STEM report features interviews with 100 CEOs, including Cisco CEO John Chambers, which highlight the committed leadership necessary to win the STEM education battle.

On Tuesday, June 18, Cisco’s Senior Director of Corporate Affairs, Harbrinder Kang, will give brief remarks during the release announcement of the EdTech report and later during the 100 CEO Leaders in STEM dinner. On Wednesday, June 19, Cisco Networking Academy Director, Gary Coman will participate on the panel Bridging the Gap: the Pivotal Role of Community Colleges and Career and Technical Education. With 10,000 Networking Academies in 165 countries, Cisco has long been a pioneer in training students around the world to become ICT professionals.

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Cisco Women and TechGirlsUK

A Twitter success story
Theresa Russell teaches Computing to teenagers in Lancashire, England.  We found each other on Twitter.  I was looking to better understand the newest trends in #EdTech.  She needed a female mentor for an international competition she had talked five students into joining.  We soon formed a team of teachers, mentors, and more importantly, students: TechGirlsUK.  With the energetic support of the inimitable Heidi Rhodes, the girls made it to London.

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