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Sci-Fi Turned Real Life: 5 ‘Spooky’ Innovations in Science and Technology

Happy Halloween from all of us at Cisco!

To celebrate, here’s a fun list of the top 5 ‘spookiest’ tech innovations –those inspired by sci-fi, made real life through incredible advances in STEM research and the growing connections in the Internet of Everything:

1. The Bionic Man:  Not quite Steve Austin, Roboticists at Shadow Robot Co. in England have created the world’s first robot human made entirely of prosthetic parts. He can walk, talk, and even has a beating heart and circulatory system. We have the technology…

2. Invisibility Cloak: While Hogwarts might not be accessible to us muggles, scientists at HyperStealth Biotechnology have been working on the best camouflage fabric yet- it makes you invisible. Now if we just had a time-turner for some of those incredibly busy days!

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#ExecInsights: Innovating in Education – Girl Rising!

“I even believe that a woman is more powerful than a man,” said young activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Malala Yousafzai to talk show host Jon Stewart last week.

Powerful and truly inspirational words, especially coming from a 16-year-old victim of violence.  Her comments left millions speechless (including the not-often-speechless Mr. Stewart) as she spoke eloquently about the power of educating girls. If you haven’t seen the interview, I recommend you do.

This past Friday was the United Nations’ International Day of the Girl and just recently the breakthrough documentary “Girl Rising” began screening worldwide, using the power of film and storytelling to demonstrate a simple truth: educate girls and you will change the world. The message is clear, now what are we going to do about it?

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Cisco Partners Recognized for Promoting Achievement in K-12 Education

This week, 2 of Cisco’s current or former education nonprofit partners were recognized by Business Roundtable for their work to prepare U.S. K-12 students for college and the workplace.

  • MIND Research Institute. MIND’s Spatial Temporal (ST) Math program is a language-free, web-based software program that uses animation to help students learn key math concepts. Cisco support helped MIND convert ST Math to a web-based platform, enabling it to expand its reach from 55,000 students in 2007 to 500,000 today—a 357 percent increase. Students using the program have, on average, doubled or tripled their growth in math proficiency on standardized tests. Learn more.
  • New Teacher Center. This nationally recognized nonprofit partners with states and districts to design and implement comprehensive new teacher induction programs that provide face-to-face and online mentoring with highly skilled educators. Cisco supports the organization’s Teacher Assessment Tool and its online mentoring solution. Learn more.
A student uses the ST Math program. Photo: MIND Research Institute

A student uses the ST Math program. Photo: MIND Research Institute

As a technology company, Cisco views STEM education as a business imperative, and these organizations all recognize the urgent need to encourage students to pursue STEM subjects, said Alex Belous, a program manager for Cisco and the Cisco Foundation who has worked closely with these nonprofits to facilitate Cisco’s support.

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Cisco STEM Mentoring Events Aim to Inspire Students

By 2018, it is estimated there will be 1.2 million U.S. job openings in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. While that sounds like good news, there is an acute shortage of qualified applicants to fill these jobs. The students in our schools today simply don’t have the skills and desire needed to compete for these jobs, which means that our country won’t have the necessary workforce to fill critical roles in one of the strongest sectors of the economy.

Research shows that for kids to become interested in STEM careers, they must feel inspired. They need some sort of connection or a role model to look to for guidance. This is where Cisco sees a need that can be filled by its employees.

Cisco is a founding leadership partner of US2020, an all-hands-on-deck initiative that aims to connect more STEM professionals to students from kindergarten through college. As part of the US2020 initiative, Cisco will build on the expertise of its workforce and culture of giving back, with the goal of having 20 percent or more of employees volunteering at least 20 hours a year as STEM mentors by the year 2020.

Cisco's US2020 mentoring initiative gets underway in San Jose, California

Cisco’s US2020 mentoring initiative gets underway in San Jose, California

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Three Cisco Employee Volunteers Recognized as “Citizen Teachers of the Year” by Citizen Schools

Three Cisco employees were recently named “Cisco Citizen Teachers of the Year” by Citizen Schools, one of Cisco’s longtime nonprofit education partners.

More than 125 volunteers from Cisco have stepped out of their jobs as engineers, sales executives, and technology professionals to become mentors and “Citizen Teachers,” leading groups of students in 10-week “apprenticeship” classes. Thanks to their commitment to the program, over 700 students have had access to caring mentors and developed an interest in pursuing future careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.

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