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Igniting a STEM Movement: A Day at the White House

Last week, Research Triangle Park (RTP), North Carolina was announced as a winning city in the US2020 City Competition!  Cisco is a founding corporate partner of US2020, which is dedicated to igniting a movement of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) mentorship across the United States.  My work supporting the US2020 City Competition initiative, on behalf of Cisco in RTP, afforded me the great privilege of being 1 of 4 people from our community who visited the White House to hear this great news.  It was a full day, and one that I will never forget!

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10 Skills The Workforce of the Future Will Need

June 3, 2014 at 3:18 pm PST

nicholasThis blog was written by Nicholas Enna, Director of Enterprise Applications at Teach For All, and originally appeared on Huffington Post ImpactX. Cisco supports Teach For All with donations of telecommunications infrastructure. 

“We are all interested in the future, for that is where we will spend the rest of our lives.” -Plan 9 From Outer Space

I find myself averse to writing predictions of the future as most predictions fail. Take a few minutes to peruse some older covers of magazines on a blog like Paleofuture and you may find yourself chuckling at the image of planes landing on top of skyscrapers and airships shuttling thousands of people lazily from one city to the next one.

Even the posts as late as 1980 are a little cringeworthy now, and many articles written today will seem equally ridiculous to later generations.

A great example is OMNI Magazine’s prediction of 47 careers that would be common in the future, like “space geographer” or “microwave marketer.” Most predictions of the future simply take the present and add 20 to it or reflect the personal prejudices and naive expectations of the predictor.

Yet, as I scroll through these relics of futures that never came, I started to wonder if it really is such a bad idea to take some time and ponder how work and careers would change in the coming decades. Maybe such predictions seem silly, but back in the ’70s, who would have changed a lucrative job manufacturing cars for a career in robotics? They might have, had they seen the articulated robotic arms being sold to General Motors and its competitors. In 1990, when the fledging web was emerging, how many people thought they needed to jump into online security? Today, it is one of the most in-demand jobs.

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Cisco Empowered Women’s Network (CiscoEWN) at Cisco Live US enters its second year!

May 8, 2014 at 10:11 am PST

Screen shot 2014-05-08 at 9.26.42 AM

This blog post was written by Priscila David in collaboration with Anuja Singh and Rima Alameddine

Exactly one year ago, during the launch of the Cisco Empowered Women’s Network at Cisco Live Orlando, we asked the audience: “What would you do if you were not afraid?” On that day, we couldn’t have imagined the incredible journey we would take in answering that question and, ultimately, in building the Cisco Empowered Women’s Network (CiscoEWN).

CiscoEWN was created out of a collaboration between myself, Priscila David (Director, Systems Engineering, US Commercial East); Rima Alameddine (Sales Director, Enterprise NY); and Anuja Singh (Manager, Systems Engineering, Public Sector).  All three of us work in the field sales organization at Cisco and have daily interactions with customers and partners. We realized that Read More »

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Cisco Offices Worldwide Celebrate International Girls in ICT Day

April 18, 2014 at 4:58 pm PST

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.

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San Jose Students Harness Wind Energy

From world premier sailboat racing to wind surfing to flying kites in the park, young men and women in the Bay Area grow up using wind energy in creative and exciting ways. But since early January, teams of students have been challenged with an even bigger task: “Harnessing the Wind” to move water. These days, water is a scarce resource in California—the state spends 19 percent of its total energy consumption to move and process it.

This Saturday and Sunday, April 12th and 13th, teams of fifth through twelfth graders will compete to harness the power of the wind in The Tech Museum of Innovation’s 27th annual Tech Challenge – the culmination of months of hard work and real-world lessons in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Students celebrate a successful design in last year’s Asteroid’s Rock challenge.

Students celebrate a successful design in last year’s Asteroid’s Rock challenge.

Now in its fourth year as presenting sponsor, Cisco is proud to work with programs like the Tech Challenge to help educate America’s students for tomorrow’s workforce. As President Obama outlined at the White House Science Fair last year, the importance of the country’s STEM education programs has never been more apparent. Today, technology companies employ six million people, but by 2018, the U.S. could face a job shortfall of 230,000 employees in STEM positions. As a member of The Tech Museum’s board, I’m proud of the initiative taken to offer students hands-on training for real, complex problems.

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