Youth & Opportunity
Engineering , Math
Tara Grumm, online marketing manager, Microsoft Citizenship
I am really excited to bring this Heroes of #STEMtember video blog to you featuring Stefan Weitz (pictured above), a senior director with Bing. What amazes me about Stefan is his ability to not only track the highly competitive world of search engine innovation but maintain a rabid fascination for a plethora of science disciplines. I follow Stefan’s interests in internet search + science on Twitter and I don’t know anyone who’s as enthusiastic about the Large Hadron Collider, alternative energy, singularity and whatever else the cosmos throws at him. But ultimately, Stefan’s unbridled enthusiasm makes being a geek unbelievably cool and inspiring on a daily basis.
Have you seen our other Heroes of #STEMtember posts?
Heroes of #STEMtember: Sunny science with Meteorologist Shannon O’Donnell
Heroes of #STEMtember: Atari, Math, and Trek dreams turning to reality with Kudo Tsunoda
Editor’s Note: We have declared this month #STEMtember to build awareness of the importance of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. Earlier in the month we released some research into how parents and students view STEM education and we’re publishing profiles of people with some of the coolest STEM jobs. Keep an eye on the blog or follow #STEMtember on Twitter, discuss on Facebook, or you can read all this month’s post by clicking on the tag #STEMtember on this blog.
As part of our ongoing series this month on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) careers, we had the pleasure of sitting down with the Creative Director of Kinect for Xbox, Kudo Tsunoda (pictured left). Not only is Kudo a rock star in the gaming world, but we learned that he’s a STEM hero in his own right! I would cheer if my little one grew up loving math like Kudo does. It’s an impressive skill to love such a challenging subject but my Dad always reminded me that I should embrace how Math is an exact science and I came to learn that he had a great point. If you think that the people who crunch those sophisticated formulas, solve complex problems and write code for those amazing video games spend their days just sitting in their dark offices drinking Mountain Dew… you are sorely mistaken. When you stretch your creativity and work on groundbreaking inventions like Kinect, you get invited to appear on a late night talk show.
Editors Note: We have declared this month #STEMtember to build awareness of the importance of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. Earlier in the month we released some research into how parents and students view STEM education and we’re publishing profiles of people with some of the coolest STEM jobs. Keep an eye on the blog or follow #STEMtember on Twitter, discuss on Facebook, or you can read all this month’s post by clicking on the tag #STEMtember on this blog.
Earlier this month we published a survey on how parents with children in K-12 education feel about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.
One of the questions was what careers parents wanted their kids to pursue. It’s probably no surprise that the top three careers were:
However, the survey also asked parents what careers they thought their kids actually wanted to pursue and the answers were very different:
It’ll be interesting to see which option is more accurate.
What did you want to be when you grew up? Did you succeed? We’d love to hear your thoughts either through the comments on this post or share your views on Twitter using the hashtag #STEMtember.
You can read the full summary of our STEM education research findings here
Posted by Anthony Salcito Vice President, Worldwide Public Sector Education, Microsoft
Cross posted from Microsoft on the Issues
Yesterday, I had the privilege of combining my personal passion with my profession on stage at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting to announce that Microsoft will bring digital access to one million students from low-income families. The video of our announcement can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/cgivideos
Microsoft is extending its global Shape the Future program to the United States. Shape the Future has already provided digital access to 10 million students around the world, and is a continuation of Bill Gates’ original vision of a PC for every desktop and home. Now, through Shape the Future, Microsoft is working with public and private partners to ensure access to technology for youth from low-income households through broadband Internet access at a reduced cost and discounted hardware, software and educational training software.
Joining me in making this commitment to Shape the Future at CGI’s Annual Meeting were some of the public and private partners that work with us to make this vision a reality: the FCC as a public-sector supporter and the National Federation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) and One Economy as our non-profit commitment supporters.
In speaking with school leaders, there’s one thing I’ve heard time and time again: Students without Internet access at home face an uphill battle in school that affects their academic progress as well as their opportunities to graduate and get good jobs. Below is an infographic that helps illustrate this challenge.
This can end up being a challenge for the community as a whole. As I’ve said before, access to technology should be a right for every student – not a privilege – and correcting this inequity is something I feel strongly about. Never has this been more true, when technology is increasingly becoming a requirement of many jobs (50 percent of today’s jobs require technology skills or digital literacy. This is expected to increase to 77 percent in the next 10 years) and the number of Americans in poverty has hit a record high.
The impact of 9.5 million U.S. students not having digital access at home not only impacts that individual student, but has lasting economic and social consequences. In school, these digitally excluded students experience a graduation rate 6 percent to 8 percent behind their connected peers. A recent report from The Arnold Group calculates that this disparity costs the U.S. economy $1.2 trillion over the working life of these students. Society carries this burden in terms of lost earning potential, lost tax revenues, poorer access to preventative health information and reduced efficiencies of social programs.
Digital inclusion not only empowers our students, but represents a real opportunity for cities and states to create local jobs, improve economic growth and increase their region’s competitiveness. This is at the core of Microsoft’s belief that an excellent education is a socioeconomic and workforce imperative.
Shape the Future is one of the initiatives that I’m most proud to work on, and this announcement represents why. Putting technology in the hands of a student who did not have access is a powerful step on the path leading to employability, economic opportunity and a better future.
To read more about Microsoft’s commitment to Shape the Future, and what we’re doing with our partners to address the issue of digitally excluded students and their families, please see Tuesday’s press release. Below, Anthony Salcito, vice president of public sector education at Microsoft, stands on stage with former U.S. President Bill Clinton and FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting on Sept. 20th in New York City.
Editor’s note: This month we have been taking a look at science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education for K-12 students. To kick things off we released the findings of a study on what parents and students think of STEM education. We also thought it would be interesting to look at some of the interesting and different careers you can choose studying STEM. The list is endless, so this blog series “What is cool about STEM?” will focus on some out of the STEM careers you or your child might not have thought about.
Forward by Yvonne Thomas
As a kid, I was interested in all kinds of things that were STEM related – even though I didn’t recognize it at the time. I thought I was going to be a marine biologist when I grew up - I even had my own kid sized microscope – and I’d look at everything I could fit on a slide. Through middle school, high school and even college, I thought biology, chemistry, and geology were really interesting subjects, inspired by great teachers. I also got exposure to technology as it was starting to become more available in the mainstream. Fortunately, my parents were believers in, and early adopters of technology. In high school, I learned to write (very) introductory software code and got my first email account. In college, I was one of the few kids who had my own computer. And while my career direction changed over time, I never lost my interest in STEM subjects. If anything, my interest and appreciation for STEM studies and careers has only increased as my knowledge of their importance in the world has grown. As a Microsoft employee, I have an added appreciation of the incredible opportunities that people with science, technology, engineering and math backgrounds have in their careers – and in life.
Shannon O’Donnell, a Broadcast Meteorologist at KOMO-TV in Seattle, has a fantastic and unique career as a result of her deep background in STEM subjects. I had the chance to interview her about her job and how her interest and studies in science and math plus her hard work got her where she is today.
Tell us a bit about your current occupation?
I’m a Broadcast Meteorologist at KOMO-TV in Seattle. I worked full-time until recently…I have 3 little ones at home (including a new baby), so now I work part-time. It’s a wonderful schedule…the best of both worlds! A perfect balance of career and mommy-hood!
What inspired you to start studying science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects?
I fell in love with the study of weather when we covered the basics in a weather unit in the 2nd grade. I decided at age 7 that I wanted to go into broadcast meteorology when I ‘grew up’, and I never wavered on my decision! My best subjects were always math and physics, and they made for a great foundation for my eventual study of Atmospheric Sciences. Plus—I love to talk. So I get to ‘talk about the weather’ for a living…two of my favorite things, all in one job!
How did studying (STEM) help you to get where you wanted to be in your career?
You won’t get very far in your weather studies if you don’t have a solid background in math, chemistry and physics…they lay all of the ground work for studying the atmosphere. A four year Bachelor degree in Atmospheric Sciences requires MANY math courses—from differential equations to matrices (my favorite! They are like crossword puzzles for math equations!), you will nearly receive a minor in math by the time you graduate in the program.
If you could offer advice to the next generation, why study STEM subjects?
It’s an increasing tech-savvy world! Your expertise will always be in demand if you focus on Science, technology, engineering and math. You can better ride the ups and downs of the world economy with a solid background in STEM subjects, because companies will always need employees with your skill set.
What is the coolest story you could tell a group of students or teachers about what STEM education has helped you do?
I worked as a Research Assistant in the University of Washington’s Atmospheric Sciences Department for 7 years…I started during my sophomore year in college, and I continued on well after graduation on a part-time basis, even during my early years in t.v. weather! I stayed on because assisting with studies in the Department afforded me so many amazing opportunities…from heading up into the heart of big Pacific storms in a P-3 jet, to touring the Equatorial Pacific on a NOAA ship and launching weather balloons, it was a great experience!
(Shannon on air for KOMO, 2009)
You can also check out this video Shannon took part in for Microsoft.
Many thanks to Shannon for taking the time to speak with us on the importance of STEM education.
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