Computer Science Education Week Highlights Progress Made, Continued Need for, STEM Education in Underrepresented Communities

By Michele Robinson-Pontbriand | Director Corporate Social Responsibility
Dec 7, 2020 1:45 PM ET
Blog

This year’s Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) theme is social justice. Of course, there are lots of perspectives to social justice, from distribution of wealth and support for environmental sustainability, to improving the lives of marginalized individuals. While one aspect of computer science for good focuses on the application of technologies to address these opportunities, the 2020 CSEdWeek theme focuses on the need to enable science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education for underrepresented students — those whom traditionally have limited opportunities to develop computer science knowledge. This is even more dire today given the deepening digital divide being experienced due to the impacts of COVID-19 on classroom education, and is exactly the gap we have been working on through Keysight’s K-12 STEM education programs. Not only do efforts in this area support underrepresented individuals and enable community prosperity, but they also help ensure a continued diverse technology skillset to maintain innovation into the future.  

With strong values that support both STEM education and inclusion & diversity, Keysight has engaged in STEM learning opportunities to help make progress in this area. For example:

  • Keysight’s CTO posted about a recent virtual hackathon put on by Black Girls Code that included upwards of 100 student participants and was supported by several company engineers who participated as mentors.  
  • We have been a corporate sponsor of the Mike Hauser Academy (MHA) in Sonoma County, CA to support English Language Learner (ELL) students through a three-week algebra-focused summer school program.
  • We utilize targeted partnerships to provide STEM education materials to a broad age and location range, including Title 1 school districts across the U.S.
  • To help make progress in gender parity in the technology industry, Keysight sponsors programs specifically focused on STEM education for young women and girls, including Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day (IGED) for students in grades 6 through 12.
  • Keysight recently sponsored Community WISE (Women Investing in STEM Equity) for a program focused on preparing young women and girls to pursue STEM education and careers. The company's sponsorship spans 3 years, will fund 10 new STEM-focused clubs in middle and high schools in the North Bay area, and will start with multiple virtual events promoting careers in STEM.

The above combine with other company STEM education programs offered to general student populations, including our Keysight After School program, which is currently focusing on virtual engagements, our high school intern program, and various online mentoring engagements from career talks to discussions about the impact and opportunity of today’s digital learning reality.

While progress is being made, more is needed. I hope to see this focus, given visibility through the CSEdWeek theme this year, continue well beyond the one-week recognition to throughout 2021.