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100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM Rising Star - Miguel Quiroga of Verizon

The 100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM blog series features a new business executive Monday-Friday and the exemplary work his or her company is doing to support 21st century STEM learning and workforce development- particularly for women, minorities and under-represented groups. Learn more and download the whole copy at Follow the conversation on social media using #100STEMLeaders. In addition to today's Diverse Corporate Leader, Radhika Venkatraman, we recognize a Rising Star from Verizon: Miguel Quiroga, executive director of customer experience for the video/broadband division.

Miguel Quiroga, Verizon

Miguel Quiroga
Executive Director -- Customer Experience, Video/Broadband Division

Miguel Quiroga is Executive Director of Customer Experience for Verizon Communications’ Video/Broadband Division. In this role, he is responsible for establishing and leading the business integration strategy and execution of cross channel customer engagement efforts for both contact center and digital channels including TV, online, mobile, social, and voice. He leads a team focused on creating and implementing customer engagement practices to balance both customer experience and profitability.

Miguel holds an MBA from Columbia University and a BS in Computer Science from The University of Texas at Dallas.

Miguel on Diversity and STEM

Why is STEM education/workforce development critical to the future of our nation?

The future of the world economy is becoming more and more technology focused. Analysts estimate that over 4 billion people worldwide will use a smartphone in 2014. It is impossible to ignore the presence of technology in every part of our lives—from our homes, food, entertainment, communication, transportation, and daily commerce. To remain competitive, our nation’s future workforce needs to be more technology aware than ever before. Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education helps develop the creative problem solvers and innovators of the future.

Are you a mentor and what is your view of mentorship?

I am actively involved in mentoring both as mentor and mentee and find it to be one of the most enjoyable parts of my job. I believe that being a perpetual student of your craft is critical to success. More importantly, mentorship is an opportunity to create a continuous cycle of learning and engagement. These sorts of personal relationships are great opportunities to learn from each other and get into the specifics of execution, career management, and how to drive future growth and innovation.

Leaders are in great demand as business builders and role models. What advice do you have for minorities and women coming “up” in the system?

There are many different ways to think about moving through a business environment, but I would offer three areas to consider:

1. Build Strong Relationships

STEM based education clearly emphasizes core STEM skillsets. Yet technology is a means to an end and, at the end of the day, business is about people. People—whether they are your customers, your employees, your management leaders or your peers—are the reason businesses exist. Having strong relationships and partnerships with each of these groups is essential to success. Great innovative leaders do not succeed alone, and strong teams and collaboration are always involved in this success.

2. Think strategically

Look at the big picture. No matter where you are or what you are working on, you are part of an ecosystem of people, ideas, strategies and solutions. The work you do is part of the overall puzzle and the closer you are aligned to the overall strategy the more business value you can deliver.

3. Deliver Results and Be Agile

There is no substitute for delivering what you committed to and driving business results. Execution and follow through are the cornerstones to success in any business environment. Getting results requires agility, quick learning, and experimentation. STEM training can teach you how to approach business problems creatively, and many of the concepts of hypothesis testing and agile solution delivery enable you to think outside the box. Synthesizing your STEM education with the business world will give you a competitive edge that is needed in every business.

100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM - Radhika Venkatraman of Verizon

The 100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM blog series features a new business executive Monday-Friday and the exemplary work his or her company is doing to support 21st century STEM learning and workforce development- particularly for women, minorities and under-represented groups. Learn more and download the whole copy at Follow the conversation on social media using #100STEMLeaders. Today's Diverse Corporate Leader is Radhika Venkatraman, vice president for IT - Enterprise Sales Life Cycle and Ordering systems at Verizon.

Radhika Venkatraman, Verizon

Radhika Venkatraman
Vice President for IT - Enterprise Sales Life Cycle and Ordering Systems

Radhika Venkatraman is the Vice President for IT - Enterprise Sales Life Cycle and Ordering systems. She is also the Verizon Lean Six Sigma Lead for Information Technology. She is a transformational leader for Verizon Enterprise Solutions. Leading a global team of 1,200 professionals, she has revolutionized the way Verizon delivers services to its enterprise clients, which serves 99% of Fortune 500 companies. This transformation effort, called Rapid Delivery, creates one global process from quote to billing and accelerates solution delivery. Prior to her current role, Radhika was executive director, customer and center experience IT—Verizon Telecom with primary responsibility to efficiently scale the Verizon FiOS product.

She has a bachelor’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, India, and 2 master’s degrees - one in Computer Aided Engineering and another in Computer Science, both from North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA.

About Verizon

Verizon Communications is the world leader in delivering innovation in communications, mobility, information and entertainment. We provide superior broadband, video and other wireless and wireline services to consumers, businesses, governments and wholesale customers across the globe. Verizon operates America’s most reliable wireless network, with 104.6 million retail connections nationwide, as well as the largest 4G LTE wireless network. Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America’s most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers integrated business solutions to customers in more than 150 countries. Through these unparalleled communication network assets, we deliver products that enhance customers’ lives, strategies that expand access to technology, and collaborations that apply technology to the world’s biggest challenges such as education, health care and sustainability.

Radhika on Diversity and STEM

How do we encourage students to continue their study of STEM subjects, particularly women and underrepresented minorities?

In order to encourage students to study STEM, particularly women and underrepresented minorities, it is important for us to understand what turns the students away.

  • In media and television, technical roles and all things related to technology are portrayed as a male field and often imply intellectual superiority of the main character playing the role
  • The relevance of technology to everyday solutions is not demonstrated or understood and hence girls (who are known to look for outcomes in projects and demonstrate lateral thinking) cannot connect and align with it easily
  • The current lack of strength in numbers further exacerbates the problem. Parents, who do not have a STEM background, often do not encourage their children to consider an engineering career. The general non STEM public is also not very aware of future demand for STEM related careers and unless a child grows up in an environment where some of their relatives are successful in a STEM field, they have no role models who can offer guidance. This is particularly true of the segment of society that makes up most of the minority groups

A problem of this scale needs a grass root level movement. We need to significantly expand STEM literacy in schools, including teacher training and expand STEM education and career opportunities for underrepresented groups, including women and girls. We need to encourage ALL parents to speak about it to their children and encourage their children to pursue STEM. Corporations can help with providing volunteer mentors that look like the students and also actively support STEM education by partnering with organizations and foundations that already do so. Media and television advertisements can be changed to include women or minority group representative as key stars. As a society, we could create and encourage students to participate in STEM-based summer camps (for example Robotics, Smart Cities). We could also design curricula in schools that include collaborative teamwork focused on an outcome, by leveraging principles of STEM, and public-private partners could sponsor projects.

What STEM initiative that your company has supported are you most proud of?

The Verizon Innovative App Challenge, now in its third year, is a very innovative program that teaches middle and high school students, how to code and build mobile apps and solve problems in their local communities. These are critical computer science and problem solving skills that are very much needed for future jobs. This Verizon initiative has encouraged thousands of students to develop interest in STEM subjects. Verizon is now extending the program to the Obama administration’s ‘ConnectEd’ initiative and has pledged up to $100 million over the next three years. The Verizon commercial video, ‘Inspire her mind’ has gone viral around the globe and is a great depiction of a girl as the heroine and role model, solving complex technical problems.

Leaders are in great demand as business builders and role models. What advice do you have for minorities and women coming “up” in the system?

  • At work, for new women and minority college hires, it is very important to encourage them to continue to pursue technical roles and as a leader of any team, continue to spot and mentor talent along the way.
  • At home, it is very important to encourage our children to experiment with science, introduce them to science books, puzzles, building blocks, Legos, robotics, brain teasers and math problems early on, and let the child have fun in comfortable settings. A visit to a museum can be lot of fun for the family.

Finally, in all settings, it is very important to communicate how rewarding and cool a STEM career is and that it is possible to balance between a successful career and a happy family.

Shell Science Lab Challenge Announces 2015 District Winners

This is a press release from NSTA and Shell

18 Middle and High School Science Teachers Competing For Up To $93,000 in Prizes, Including a $20,000 School Science Lab Makeover Support Package

ARLINGTON, Va. - (BUSINESS WIRE) | Eighteen middle and secondary school science teachers have been named district winners in the fifth annual Shell Science Lab Challenge (click to tweet). Sponsored by Shell Oil Company and administered by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the competition encouraged teachers (grades 6-12) in the U.S. and Canada, who have found innovative ways to deliver quality lab experiences with limited school and laboratory resources, to share their approaches for a chance to win a school science lab makeover support package valued at $20,000. From the 18 district winners named, five national finalists will be chosen, and from the national finalists a grand prize winner will be selected.

“With little funding and scarce resources these educators have developed innovative educational techniques and inspired science learning in their students,” said Dr. David Evans, Executive Director, NSTA. “We are very proud of all of the 2015 Shell Science Lab Challenge District Winners. Their unique ideas and creative approaches to teaching science produce new awareness and ways for us all to bring about positive change in education.”
“Inquiry-based learning and hands-on experimentation are key elements for encouraging student interest in science,” said Dr. Frazier Wilson, Vice President, Shell Oil Company Foundation, Manager, Social Investment. “The Shell Science Lab Challenge strives to support inquiry-based instructional practices of our science teachers and excite students about the wonders and possibilities of science through active learning that emphasizes questioning, data analysis, and critical thinking. Exemplary science teaching is more relevant when it occurs in a quality lab environment where science concepts can be explored by students.”
To enter the Shell Science Lab Challenge, science teachers of grades 6-12 in the U.S. and Canada were asked to describe their school’s current laboratory resources, explain why the school’s laboratory facilities might be classified as “limited” resources, and describe their approach to science education instruction utilizing their school’s current lab facilities. A panel of science educators then reviewed and selected the top entries.
As a district winner, each teacher and their school will receive a $3,000 science lab prize package that includes:
Recognizing that the laboratory experience is integral to science education and that many schools, especially schools in urban and rural areas, do not have the resources to invest in quality lab equipment, NSTA and Shell partnered on the Shell Science Lab Challenge to bring much needed lab materials and resources to school districts nationwide and in Canada.
To view the list of 2015 Shell Science Lab Challenge District Winners and for more information about the Challenge, visit the competition web site.
About NSTA
The Arlington, VA-based National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) is the largest professional organization in the world promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all. NSTA's current membership includes approximately 55,000 science teachers, science supervisors, administrators, scientists, business and industry representatives, and others involved in science education.
About Shell Oil Company
Shell’s commitment to community and social responsibility has been in place for more than 50 years. During this time, we have contributed more than a billion dollars to support community, health and welfare, environmental, arts and cultural activities, various educational initiatives, including minority education, and diversity and inclusiveness programs in Houston and the U.S.



The Charles A. Dana Center at University of Texas Collaborates with Pearson to Improve Learner Outcomes in College Mathematics

The following is a press release from PRWeb
The Charles A. Dana Center at The University of Texas at Austin is collaborating with Pearson to provide web-based course resources that dramatically shorten the time it takes for students to earn college credit in mathematics. Together, Pearson and the Dana Center will offer course resources in Foundations of Mathematical Reasoning, Statistical Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Reasoning with Functions. These course resources were created as part of the New Mathways Project, a systemic effort to support community colleges in implementing multiple math pathways that each include rigorous, transferrable, college-level content that meets the requirements of specific academic programs and careers.
Foundations of Mathematical Reasoning will be the first course resource available, effective fall 2015, and the other resources will launch in spring 2016. The comprehensive, web-based course resources will include homework, supplemental instructional materials, assessments, student success tools, and asynchronous instructor-to-student communication tools.
The Dana Center joined with the Texas Association of Community Colleges, with support from the Texas Legislature, to develop and implement the NMP as a statewide effort to transform student success in mathematics. The NMP has catalyzed and mobilized the powerful work of faculty, leaders, and institutions to create cohesive processes, strategies, and structures that result in students successfully completing a mathematics pathway aligned to their chosen programs of study.
Uri Treisman, Executive Director of the Dana Center, said, ”In higher education and the workplace, mathematics frequently serves as a proxy for general problem-solving ability and innovation, making success in mathematics increasingly important for access into the middle class. We are proud to be able to work with Pearson to broadly offer course resources to overcome the high failure rates so prevalent in entry-level college mathematics courses and to get more students on a path to upward mobility.”
Pearson’s Senior Vice President of Digital Strategy, Jason Jordan, said, “The innovative Dana Center course resources represent a major step forward in reflecting the evolution in how students learn, and Pearson is honored to play a role in getting them into the hands of students and professors in Texas and across the nation. These valuable teaching and learning resources will serve as effective solutions for those institutions who are pursuing a redesign of their mathematics curriculum in an effort to improve learning outcomes.”

100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM - Bernard J. Tyson of Kaiser Permanente

The 100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM blog series features a new business executive Monday-Friday and the exemplary work his or her company is doing to support 21st century STEM learning and workforce development- particularly for women, minorities and under-represented groups. Learn more and download the whole copy at Follow the conversation on social media using #100STEMLeaders. Today's Diverse Corporate Leader is Bernard J. Tyson, chairman and chief executive officer at Kaiser Permanente.

Bernard Tyson, KP

Bernard J. Tyson
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Kaiser Permanente

Bernard J. Tyson is the Chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, America's largest integrated health care provider and not-for-profit health plan. Tyson has been a strong advocate for the elimination of health care disparities among individuals by promoting the use of aggregated data from members’ electronic health records to determine the most effective treatments for optimal clinical outcomes. He is dedicated to upholding Kaiser Permanente's mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services for all the organization’s members and to improve the health of members and the communities it serves.

Tyson’s career at Kaiser Permanente has spanned 30 years, and he has successfully managed all major aspects of the organization. He has a Bachelor of Science in health service management, a Master of Business in health service administration from Golden Gate University in San Francisco, and a leadership certificate from Harvard University.

About Kaiser Permanente

As one of America’s leading health care providers and nonprofit health plans, Kaiser Permanente is shaping the future of health care. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente’s mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of its members and the communities its serve.

Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Kaiser Permanente’s expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to

Bernard on Diversity and STEM

What traits corporate leaders need to effectively support and advance STEM education today?

To support and advance STEM education, corporate leaders should be working inside and outside their organizations to foster the right conditions for innovative problem solving, discussion and debate. In doing so, we are creating not just the best conditions for STEM education to flourish in the workplace, but in the home, where children can also experience the beauty and the freedom of exploring their ideas and inspirations, applying their minds to their generation’s opportunities and challenges.

Where I see the biggest area of opportunity in advancing STEM job careers?

Today, care is no longer offered only in a hospital or medical office setting. Instead, we are seeing a growing need for STEM experts to bring 21st century thinking and tools to deliver care anywhere via video, tablet, and more. As our equipment to deliver health care becomes more technologically driven, we also need a workforce that is educated and trained for the future of health care. While the human-to-human touch will always be at the heart of care delivery, technology is enabling high-quality care that is data-driven, replicable and outcomes focused.

Future breakthroughs in the fields of health care research and genetic engineering will address some of the biggest challenges of today’s critical and chronic conditions, including what I hope will be the elimination of health care disparities. Advances in applied health care sciences will help millions manage their chronic conditions with minimal disruption to their lives through new wearable technologies and telemedicine.

Advice for minorities and women coming “up” in the system?

The good news is more opportunities for minorities and women will be apparent in the coming decade as the high tech industry recruits a more diverse workforce to better reflect the needs of a culturally diverse consumer base. No matter your race or gender, you need to be at your best every day. Enjoy what you do; seek out mentors who can help you achieve your goals; and thoughtfully and strategically build your personal brand – You, Inc. Now days, your social brand is foundational to your overall personal brand. The world is technologically driven, so the next generation of leaders must be both tech savvy, and participate in the conversations that are happening real time in social media.

How I translate my work into innovation?

As CEO of a $55 billion organization, my role is to set the course of the entire organization – its leaders, physicians and employees – on the course for the future. As an organization, we are looking ahead to what health care “could” be in 2025, and are creating cross-organizational and cross-generational synergy around identifying both opportunities and barriers so we can map to what are the most realistic and feasible developments for workforce training, technology development, digital health, and more. My role is chief futurist, creating an organization that is nimble so we can adjust to today’s demands while meeting the competitive marketplace of the future.

Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program Application Open in Select Cities until March 6

This is a guest blog post from Girls Who Code!


Due to exponential growth, Girls Who Code is welcoming additional applicants for three of its summer programs this year. Girls in 10th and 11th grade have until Friday, March 6th at 11:59 PM PST to submit their applications in Boston, MA, Springfield, MA, and Seattle, WA.
Girls Who Code is partnering with Akamai Technologies, Google, Microsoft, TripAdvisor and Twitter to host programs in Boston, MA. In Seattle, programs will be hosted at Adobe, Amazon, AT&T, Expedia, Google, and Microsoft, and in Springfield, programs will be hosted by MassMutual.
Go to to apply now!
The Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program represents an innovative approach to computer science education, pairing seven weeks of intensive instruction in robotics, web design, and mobile development with engaging, career-focused mentorship and exposure led by the industry's top female entrepreneurs and engineers.
Participation is free and no prior CS experience is required, just an interest in learning more about Computer Science in an encouraging environment.
About Girls Who Code
Girls Who Code is a national nonprofit organization working to close the gender gap in the technology and engineering sectors. With support from public and private partners, Girls Who Code works to educate, inspire, and equip high school girls with the skills and resources to pursue opportunities in computing fields.

X-STEM Extreme Symposium Explores How To Turn Math Haters into Math Lovers!

This is a post in our ongoing coverage of USA Science & Engineering Festival's X-STEM Extreme STEM Symposium - April 28, 2015 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

Connecting students in meaningful ways with how math is applied to solve real-life problems is key to exciting young learners about frontiers in mathematics. At the X-STEM Extreme Symposium discover the motivating techniques that mathematical scientist Padhu Seshaiyer of George Mason University is using to turn students from math haters to math lovers!  Tickets are going fast for this event presented by the USA Science & Engineering Festival and sponsor MedImmune, so get yours today! Click here to register. 

X-STEM Speaker Profile:
Dr. Padhu Seshaiyer
Applying Mathematical Principles To The ‘Real World’

100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM - Shelly Swanback of Accenture

The 100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM blog series features a new business executive Monday-Friday and the exemplary work his or her company is doing to support 21st century STEM learning and workforce development- particularly for women, minorities and under-represented groups. Learn more and download the whole copy at Follow the conversation on social media using #100STEMLeaders. Today's Diverse Corporate Leader is Shelly Swanback, group operating officer at Accenture.

Shelly Swanback, Accenture

Shelly Swanback
Group Operating Officer

Shelly Swanback is the Group Operating Officer for Accenture’s Digital growth platform. In this role, she is responsible for accelerating growth, executing business strategy and leading Accenture’s Digital business operations globally. Shelly previously served as the lead for Accenture’s North America Technology practice, where she was accountable for sales support, solution design and delivery of Accenture’s technology services and offerings. During her 23 years with Accenture, she has worked with Fortune 100 companies transforming business processes, IT and operations including large scale technology implementations.

Shelly holds a Bachelor of Science degree in finance and computer information systems from Colorado State University. She currently resides in Arvada, Colorado with her husband, Steve, and two children, Andrew and Lauren.

About Accenture

Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company with more than 293,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. It has extensive relationships with the world's leading companies and governments and work with organizations of all sizes—including 91 of the FORTUNE Global 100 and more than three quarters of the FORTUNE Global 500.

Through its Skills to Succeed corporate citizenship focus, Accenture is committed to equipping 700,000 people around the world by 2015 with the skills to get a job or build a business. The company generated net revenues of US$28.6 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2013.

Shelly on Diversity and STEM

What do corporations need to do to create more STEM careers and fill existing jobs?

The first thing we need to do is expand our thinking on what STEM careers are and become more “creative” about how we describe these careers. Many people count themselves out of being interested in or qualified for a STEM career based on the idea that the careers are too technical or too hard, that they won’t work in teams or that they won’t be working in the new digital/social world in which we live.

To address these concerns, those of us who are STEM professionals must talk about STEM careers in a way that is relevant and connected to today’s generations and working world. Specifically, we need to spend time with students and help them easily envision their own futures in STEM careers. We do it at Accenture – and it works.

I believe strongly that companies need to develop private-public collaborations, such as teaming with universities and the incredible nonprofits that help educate about and encourage STEM careers. Investing time and money to help equip people with the skills they need to pursue STEM careers is important for our future.

How has your corporation coordinated investments in education with future workforce needs?

Technology-led innovation is at the heart of our business at Accenture, so STEM skills are critical to our success – and we take these investments seriously.

We support students interested in STEM careers through scholarships that encourage STEM-related degrees and through paid undergraduate summer internships that provide first-hand exposure to careers in engineering and technology. We also continuously look for programs that are important for future STEM careers, e.g., degrees including technology and data science components.

Additionally, we team with nonprofits as part of our corporate citizenship initiative, Skills to Succeed, which plans to equip 700,000 people by 2015 with the skills they need to get a job or start a business. As part of this, we work with nonprofit partners to deliver technical training and education in STEM.

Leaders are in great demand as business builders and role models. What advice do you have for minorities and women coming “up” the system?

It’s an important question and one for which everyone can give a different and meaningful answer. Here’s mine:

  • Assume you can do anything you set your mind to; also realize you won’t do it alone. Seek mentors, help, feedback and support along the way.
  • Develop a routine that includes learning and reflection; don’t just go through the motions every day, based on what you are asked to do.
  • Be proactive about asking for feedback – from those who work with you, around you and above you. This will help you form a stronger sense of who you are, where your strengths lie and where you need to focus. It’s as important to focus on your strengths as it is to work on your areas for improvement.
  • Take time to enjoy your life outside of work. I’m very proud of what I do as a wife and a mother. I’ve coached my son’s and daughter’s soccer, basketball and baseballs teams. People ask me how I balance my time and make this work with my career. My answer is that I make it work because I love doing it, and I find that when I am enjoying what I do outside of work, it positively reflects on my work at Accenture.

Get Ready for Spirited Discussion on the ‘Plasma Controversy’ at the X-STEM Symposium this April!

This is a post in our ongoing coverage of USA Science & Engineering Festival's X-STEM Extreme STEM Symposium - April 28, 2015 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

Plasma holds a predominant place in the universe, so much that some plasma scientists contend that it is not the fourth state of matter, but the first state. But textbooks, for the most part, do not mention plasmas in this context. At the X-STEM Extreme Symposium in April, plasma scientist Andrew Zwicker of Princeton University explains why plasmas often “get no respect” in science education, and what can be done about it! He is one of many exciting and provocative visionaries you’ll meet at the X-STEM Symposium presented by the USA Science & Engineering Festival and sponsored by MedImmune. The Symposium is a ¨limited tickets¨ event, so register NOW!

X-STEM Speaker Profile:
Dr. Andrew Zwicker
Physics Education: Let's Give A Shout Out To Plasmas!

100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM Rising Star - Barbara McAllister Whye of Intel

The 100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM blog series features a new business executive Monday-Friday and the exemplary work his or her company is doing to support 21st century STEM learning and workforce development- particularly for women, minorities and under-represented groups. Learn more and download the whole copy at Follow the conversation on social media using #100STEMLeaders. In addition to today's Diverse Corporate Leader, Kimberly Stevenson, we recognize a Rising Star from Intel: Barbara McAllister Whye, director of innovation for employability.

Barbara McAllister Whye, Intel

Barbara McAllister Whye
Director, Innovation for Employability

My journey towards a STEM field began at home with my parents and siblings. As the youngest of 8 kids, I had plenty of guidance and many of them had chosen to major in STEM degrees. The siblings encouraged me to follow their lead, found summer camps for me to attend to get exposure to what was possible. Their role modeling had a tremendous impact on my decision making.

Mentoring was incredibly important in helping me complete my electrical engineering degree and MBA. My college and grad school cohort helped me overcome roadblocks and created a sense of community, and we continue to support each other’s careers today. I’m working on a PhD at ASU in Technology and Human Social Dimensions. People often tell me that I don’t look like an engineer; that reminds me that we still have engineering stereotypes to overcome.

My vision is that all learners will have access to a quality STEM education, and that the quality of one’s education will not be dependent on their zip code. I know that not all students will be STEM students, but every student should know what opportunities are available to them. To achieve this vision, we must expose students to STEM early and shift from the idea that “math is hard” to “math is life.”

To young professionals who are in STEM careers: curiosity and the ability to learn, relearn and unlearn are paramount to success in today’s environment. When you stop asking questions or think you know everything, you stop learning. Keep learning and focus. Find a way to hone in on what’s most impactful and really have clarity of purpose – it will lead to success.

“The power of one, if fearless and focused, is formidable, but the power of many working together is better.” -Gloria Macapagal Arroyo


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