With the accelerating growth of engineering-related jobs globally and the predicted shortage of equipped employees, engaging more women is critical to both bridging the talent gap and providing companies with the diverse skills and perspectives necessary to thrive.
In most higher education discourse today it is not unusual to hear the claim that the world’s center of gravity is shifting toward the East. Indeed, no region has undergone as profound a transformation as Asia during the past half-century, from the 1970s to the present. Unprecedented economic growth has driven major social and demographic change and institutional reform and, in most countries, has brought about greater stability. The advent of a large middle class, coupled with openness and market reforms driven by economic imperatives, has contributed to greater interconnectedness among Asian states and between them and the rest of the world.
There were no fancy accessories, no expensive props, and no high expectations. The simple, honest exhibitions of dance, song, testimonials, and speeches could only witness joy, pleasure, pride, and a deep desire to continue to excel.
The Verizon Innovative Learning Program (VILP) has achieved yet another milestone! Forty Verizon volunteers—women employees at the Chennai and Hyderabad offices in South India—went through a kick-start workshop to begin the mentoring process for VILP girls. Through interactive, back-to-back workshops at two locations, mentors were briefed about the program, and they discussed their hopes and fears for the mentoring process. In order to develop a deeper understanding about their role as mentors, participants reflected upon occasions when they themselves had been mentored. Finally the group discussed the nuts and bolts of the mentoring process under VILP.
Much has happened in the Verizon Innovative Learning Program (VILP) in last two months, including a few initial milestones. The teachers’ workshop was completed in Chennai, and 200 girls have been selected for the program. The girls were chosen based on their motivations and interest in the program and their economic and educational vulnerability. It surely is a matter of pride and responsibility for these girls as they embark on their journey with us. We are very excited!
Donning hard hats and neon green vests over their business suits and dresses, eight higher education experts from India made their way to the top of what will soon be a state-of-the-art hospital facility located on the growing campus of Montgomery College. With this single example of how strong industry partnerships can benefit community colleges, the local community, and the industries themselves, the first stop on our week-long study tour proved to be a great success.
What is that one unique trait you have that is valuable for your school? What is your vision for the future as teachers of your school? Do you dare to dream? How do you expand your comfort zone? Can education technology replace teachers in the class room?
This and many more thought-provoking questions were part of a unique opportunity for 17 Science and Math teachers and principals from five government schools of the Hyderabad district in India to participate in a two-day reflection process.
Last week, I had the great privilege to participate in the panel “From Higher Education to Women’s Leadership” convened by the Open a Door Foundation during the 58th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the United Nations. Before an attentive, vocal, and positive audience, I joined Barbara Bylenga from Open a Door and Leo Motiuk from the Afghan Girls Financial Assistance Fund to discuss the impact of higher education for women on solving problems such as poverty and disease and the need to integrate higher education into the next round of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Our moderator was Ruthie Taylor from the Orchid Project, a London-based NGO that is pioneering a highly effective, community-based approach to ending the practice of female genital cutting.
Change occurs after people take action, and action occurs when people are inspired. I love to be inspired. Who doesn’t? When I’m inspired, I feel an almost physical response—suddenly my day looks brighter, my life seems more exciting, my dreams more attainable, and those around me appear as potential partners with whom I want to share the thrill, build momentum, and take action. So, I ask myself “How and when am I most inspired?” If I can figure it out, I can share it with more people, and keep the inspiration buzz going and growing.