On behalf of Cisco, I’m pleased to announce that our company has awarded the Girls Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines a $20,000 community impact grant to help girls from underserved communities attend its award-winning GIRLS GO TECH program.  Every year, the GIRLS GO TECH program helps 350 North Carolina girls participate in science camp and robotics programs from Research Triangle Park and the surrounding area.

The GIRLS GO TECH program does an incredible job of opening the door to opportunities girls in the central and eastern North Carolina area.  Cisco is proud to partner with the Girl Scouts to help ignite a passion for robotics and computer science in girls across the Triangle.  Cisco has awarded the Girls Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines nearly $150,000 worth of cash and technology grants over the past decade.

The funds will help girls throughout central and eastern North Carolina to participate in two programs:

1.    The GIRLS GO TECH Science Camp, which provides middle school girls access to the science and computer labs at Meredith College, where they have the opportunity to complete computer-based workshops with Computer Science and other faculty at Meredith. The girls also take a number of field trips to technology-based businesses including Cisco, as well as NC State University where the girls engage in hands-on activities that allow them to explore technology and its many uses.  Many of the science workshops held on the Meredith campus will involve the use of technology (computers, advanced microscopes, etc.).

2.     The Girls Go Tech LEGO Robotics Program, which teaches girls how to use LEGO Education We-Do Robotics kits and LEGO Mindstorms technology (robot kits and software).

A recent Girl Scout survey shows, that after attending Science Camp, girls are 79% more excited about learning science, 85% better understand science and technology, 82% are interested in taking more science classes, and 67% show interest in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) career.

Cisco’s Commitment to STEM

By 2018, there will be 1.2 million job openings in the United States in the fields that make up STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.  However, without a major influx of talent, there will be an acute shortage of qualified applicants to fill these jobs.

Cisco is a founding partner of US2020, an initiative that connects STEM professionals with girls, under-represented minorities and low-income students from kindergarten through college. By 2020, Cisco has committed that 20% of our US employees will provide at least 20 hours of STEM mentoring per year.

As part of this commitment, Cisco also sponsored the US2020 City Competition, which challenged cities to develop innovative models for dramatically increasing the number of STEM professionals mentoring and teaching students through hands-on projects.  RTP was one of 7 national finalists of the City Competition, and was nationally recognized for its mentorship program.

The 21st Century workforce needs to develop a new set of skills to meet the challenges before our nation.  Other nations have already embraced the challenge and are moving toward building a digital workforce. The World Economic Forum ranks the United States 52nd in the quality of mathematics and science education and 27th among developed nations in the proportion of college students receiving undergraduate degrees in science or engineering.

For nearly two-decades, Cisco has made it a top priority to build a talent pipeline prepared to meet these challenges Cisco invests in programs from Kindergarten to College and beyond that are preparing a diverse generation of talent for careers in STEM.

Bottom line:  Cisco is pleased to support the Girls Go Tech Program and help encourage girls to develop a life long love for science, technology, engineering and math.


Ed Paradise

Cisco RTP Site Executive and Vice President of Engineering