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Judging the Future at Cisco’s Silicon Valley Innovation Jam

As a recent graduate of San Jose State University (SJSU), I’ve seen how technology can improve education. Wi-Fi access in every classroom is eliminating the PowerPoint lectures of old and replacing them with 21st-century lesson plans. Students are interacting with professors using social media, answering questions with a tweet or streaming videos during presentations to make learning more engaging. At Cisco’s Silicon Valley Innovation Jam on October 24, I served as a pre-finalist judge and saw how over 60 SJSU students would use this same technology to solve social problems in the near future.

By 2020, there will be 50 billion devices connected to the Internet. Today, I can name more than 10 “smart” devices in my house that require an Internet connection. As more people, processes, data, and things become connected, the “Internet of Everything” will require people to change the way they work, live, play and learn. Students at the Innovation Jam were tasked with creating a solution that harnesses these connections to improve society – whether education, healthcare, energy, retail, or city/public services.

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Finding Students’ ‘Voice’ on STEM as part of Cisco’s Day of Action

Later this week, four dozen high-school students will gather in an auditorium in North San Jose.  They will stand before a panel of judges, not to sing the latest pop song for The Voice or American Idol, but to blow judges away with their proposals for the next big thing in technology, as part of Cisco’s STEM Mentoring Day of Action.

After spending time with engineer mentors and seeing cutting-edge technologies, the students will be divided into small teams.  Their task:  develop an innovative proposal for the Internet of Everything, the next wave of the Internet, which is the connection of people, processes, data and things to the Internet.

This event is not a one-time occasion.  It’s part of Cisco’s enduring commitment to preparing the next generation for careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math — STEM.  This week, nearly 200 students will attend STEM mentoring events at three Cisco campuses in San Jose; Richardson, Texas; and Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

The goal at all three facilities is the same – to ignite a passion for science, technology, engineering, and math among students. You see, something amazing happens when you put technology in the hands of young people. It opens their eyes to the incredible possibilities that a career in high-tech can offer.

Cisco’s commitment in this area goes back nearly two decades with the Cisco Networking Academy, which has taught over 5 million students around the world the fundamentals of how networks work and providing them the opportunity to become certified, the key to obtaining a good paying job in this field.

This commitment extends to classrooms, where we’re working with schools and the Federal Government to see that every K-12 classroom in America has high-speed Wi-Fi over the next five years.  Cisco is also providing funding for innovative programs – like the MIND Research Institute – which is fundamentally changing how math is being taught in underserved communities from coast to coast.  And their results have been nothing short of amazing –with students doubling and tripping their math proficiency scores in a few short years.

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CyberPatriot Prepares Students to Protect the Internet of Everything

Students arrive in Washington, D.C. wearing embroidered leather jackets with logos and names stitched in bright colors on their sleeves. They’re members of different teams, but not sports teams. They are at the nation’s capitol for CyberPatriot’s National Youth Cyber Defense competition, the largest high school cyber defense competition in the United States.

By volunteering as mentors, we as Cisco employees can impact the future generations of network professionals who will protect the Internet of Everything from breaches and threats that are becoming more common as people, processes, data, and things become more connected.

CyberPatriot’s competition was created by the Air Force Association (AFA) in 2009 to inspire high school students to pursue careers in cybersecurity. Bernie Skoch, CyberPatriot National commissioner, stresses the importance of cybersecurity training as the number of breaches become more common on the Internet.

“There are 15,000 attacks per second in the United States,” he said. “We have a dire need for cybersecurity professionals in the United States, but we frankly aren’t drawing enough young men and young women” to the field.

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Cisco Senior Leaders Mentor Students in STEM

June 14, 2014 at 8:30 am PST

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.

Cisco CEO John Chambers addresses Cisco senior leaders and 100 Girls Scouts at Cisco Headquarters in San Jose, CA

Cisco CEO John Chambers addresses Cisco senior leaders and 100 Girls Scouts at Cisco Headquarters in San Jose, California

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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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