STEM at LANDESK

Last week, LANDESK, a leader in STEM-related community support, took some great steps forward to help instill an interest and love for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) in Utah youths.  While we have been doing a great deal with STEM here at LANDESK, we are now planning to make even bigger strides moving forward.

The newly-formed STEM Committee recently met to begin developing a charter that will guide LANDESK STEM activities and support into the future. LANDESK currently allows their employees to use up to 16 hours of Volunteer-time-off when used to support STEM-related activities. We now want to give an even greater focus to this endeavor. The STEM committee is comprised of individuals from across the company and from a variety of different departments. The STEM charter will help us define what it is we want to accomplish, how we plan to go about it and how to measure our success.

Another developer, Steve Fischer, and I participated in a couple of STEM-related activities this past week. Steve, one of our senior software engineers, participated in a STEM-days activity at a local elementary school.  The school staff invited multiple business people from the community to come to the school to spend about 15 minutes in three or four classrooms sharing their own personal passion for STEM. Usually this involves just fifth and sixth grade students. Kids this age are very impressionable and enjoy listening to outside speakers.

“I had a great time visiting the three different classrooms,” Steve said.” It was a new school with a lot of Apple hardware. Most of the students paid close attention to the Code.org video, but were actively engaged in the interactive coding game that we brought.”

I participated in a career exploration day at a local high school. The school invited approximately 50 business people to share the passion that they have for their jobs. At this event, there were both white- and blue-collar business people.

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Figure 1: We were met by student ambassadors

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Figure 2: Supt. Jim Briscoe (far left) addressed the participants

I met with three different classrooms full of students. The first and third groups were not too interested in what I had to speak about. The first group was a sophomore and freshmen class and not too interested in careers yet. The third group was quite an eclectic group, since it was a required World Civics class. Hopefully I gave them something to think about as I asked them “what problem are you going to solve when you grow up?” instead of the typical “what are you going to be when you grow up?”

The other group of students was from the computer programming class. This class was very involved in the discussion. As I shared the experiences I’ve had over the past 35 years of developing software, they were all very attentive. They participated in the discussion and asked great questions. After leaving this group of students, I felt very encouraged about the future of our industry. Unfortunately, there were about 30 students in the room; 29 of which were boys and only one girl. She asked me how many women were on my team and, unfortunately, I had to tell her that there were none. I told her that we need many more women in our industry I was glad to see her in the class.

One thing this experience reinforced for me is my admiration for the teaching profession. They deserve our admiration! It is hard work!

If you have an interest in getting more involved with the LANDESK STEM initiatives, please contact me, Bruce Cutler or Tanner Lindsay.