Cisco Blogs

Cisco STEM Mentoring Events Aim to Inspire Students

October 3, 2013 - 2 Comments

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

Last week, Cisco launched its US2020 STEM mentoring initiative with volunteer events at four sites – San Jose, California; Research Triangle Park (RTP), North Carolina; Lawrenceville, Georgia; and Richardson, Texas.

In San Jose, more than 60 girls from Techbridge were on Cisco’s campus to participate in STEM mentoring with 88 Cisco employees. The girls participated in a human network game, the dissection of computers, and an exploration of Cisco WebEx software – all activities to get to know Cisco employees and learn about their careers.

“I learned that in order to send an email, a packet of information might travel all the way across the country before getting to your inbox,” said Anaztajia, a 6th grader from Ocala Middle School in East San Jose.

In RTP, 85 Cisco employee volunteers mentored more than 60 Wake and Durham County middle school students. During speed mentoring, students had the opportunity to get one-on-one time with numerous Cisco employees and learn about their jobs. The hands-on activities included robot building, engineering demos of circuit building, 3D printing, and pedal-a-watt to make a phone ring.

“When I got here, I didn’t like science at all, but after driving a robot I realize science is really cool,” said Moriah, a 6th grader.

A Cisco volunteer in RTP mentors a student at the launch event

A Cisco volunteer in RTP mentors a student at the launch event

In Lawrenceville, 150 middle school students were on Cisco’s campus to work with 70 employee volunteers. They heard about the importance of STEM, saw a Cisco TelePresence demo, and even got to work with a robotics team in a hands-on activity. Some employees brought in their own children to participate in the activities.

“My daughter was impressed and we had a great bonding day,” said a Lawrenceville Cisco employee. “In fact I think she finally understood what I do for my job.”

Cisco's US2020 launch event in Lawrenceville, Georgia

Cisco’s US2020 launch event in Lawrenceville, Georgia

In Richardson, Cisco employee volunteers mentored 50 10th grade STEM Academy students in a variety of different roles. The students took tours of the engineering labs and saw a Cisco TelePresence demo. They participated in speed mentoring and got some hands-on training on how to build an Ethernet cable.

All of the events were a huge success with the kids, volunteers, and teachers asking when the next event would be. Kids love field trips and hands-on activities, Cisco employees love giving back and passing on their expertise, and both have come together to work toward a better future for our students and our country as a whole.

STEM mentoring at Cisco's Richardson, Texas campus

STEM mentoring at Cisco’s Richardson, Texas campus

Learn more: Check out the US2020 website and read more about the San Jose event in the Silicon Beat blog in the San Jose Mercury News.

In an effort to keep conversations fresh, Cisco Blogs closes comments after 60 days. Please visit the Cisco Blogs hub page for the latest content.


  1. Dear Sirs,

    I would like to introduce myself as the Placement officer of N.S.N College of Engineering,Karur,Tamilnadu – 639003. N.S.N College of Engineering is established with an objective to instill the spirit of innovation among the students by imparting world class technical education. We are 3 year college lead by a dedicated management who are Engineers by profession and guided by a able Principal with a long Experience in the field of education.We strive to provide Qu ality education and employemnt for our students through the Industries and Institution Relationship Cell at our College .We have been ranked 2nd in the zone in a very short span by our dedicated team of Staff and students.For More information about the college please do visit

    We have our Pre-Final year students looking for projects,internships and workshops. We also understand, and appreciate the initiatives of the corporate social
    Responsibility programs of your foundation. It will be a great milestone for us and also will be a useful venture for or students if you can provide our students a
    prospect to be a part of your Internship and campus workshop program.It is need of the hour to bring out the fresh ENgineers Industry ready.We strongly believe it is
    posible by the Industry and Institure Relationship ventures.

    We look for a great oppertunity and Honour by Signing an MOU between us for Internship Program. Please let us know your wish on singning an MOU for the same. Could you also please guide us through the Procedure or direct to the person whom we are to contact in specific for signing MOU.

    VIgneswar .S
    +91 99528 74222
    Placement Officer
    N.S.N College ,Karur.