Fostering an Interest in STEM Fields as Kids Head Back to School
As the chief technology officer at Neustar, I am ever focused on the company’s evolving technical direction. We all know that innovation and agility are important keys to success in the technology industry. Visionary ideas are plentiful, but finding people with the high-level skills needed to develop them into workable product solutions is an ongoing challenge for many tech companies. Individuals with strong science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills are already in short supply; we anticipate that finding talented data scientists to meet our workforce needs will be an even more daunting challenge in the future. As such, the earlier we can get students interested in STEM subjects, the better off we’ll all be.
That’s why I was so excited to take part in a “back to school” visit this week with the technology class at Campbell Middle School in California, where I saw young people already beginning to develop those critical skills. I had the pleasure of accompanying California Representative Anna Eshoo on a tour of the school and a chance to learn how the students are using My Digital Life, an online program designed to empower them with the skills necessary to use technology safely and effectively. Neustar has partnered with education technology company EverFi, Inc. to deliver My Digital Life — free of charge — to schools in California, Virginia, and Kentucky, three states Neustar calls home.
More than 100 students from Campbell Middle completed the My Digital Life program last year, and many more students are slated to take the course this year. We’ve been pleased to see that post-assessments show a seven percent increase in students who are interested in careers in technology after completing the program. The increase is encouraging, but I think I speak for all technologists when I say that we want to see that number grow. We hope that encouraging students to learn about technology, and then celebrating their achievements once that interest has taken hold, will help ensure that the entire tech industry will have the workforce it needs to bring tomorrow’s visions to life.
To learn more about My Digital Life, or to inquire about bringing My Digital Life to your school, contact MyDigitalLife@everfi.com.