Welcome!

Government Cloud Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Gopala Krishna Behara, Raju Myadam, Kevin Jackson

Related Topics: Java IoT, @CloudExpo, Government Cloud

Blog Feed Post

African-Americans and STEM Careers: Getting a Foot in the Door

Technology leadership is driven by the innovation and creativity of science, technology, engineering & mathematics professionals

By Sandra K. Johnson

Technology leadership is driven by the innovation and creativity of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals. STEM careers offer some of the highest-paying jobs and the potential for a high quality of life. However, the realization of such promises has not benefited all segments of the U.S. population, including African-Americans. As we celebrate Black History Month, I share a few facts on this issue, suggest sources for solutions and profile African-American technology trailblazers.

Silicon Valley's most innovative technology companies have reached phenomenal success levels. There are over 320 million people in the U.S.: 77.7 percent White, 17.1 percent Hispanic, 13.2 percent African-American, 5.3 percent Asian and 51 percent women, according to the U.S. Census. However, Silicon Valley technology companies have employee populations that are 64 percent White, 21 percent Asian, 6 percent Hispanic, 3 percent African-American and 6 percent other. This shows a 10-point gap in the African-American population.

Companies with employees from diverse backgrounds tend to be more creative and profitable. A large body of evidence exists to substantiate this assertion. Diverse collaborative teams leverage a broader perspective of experiences and ideas. They create more innovative products and services that appeal to a wider, global audience. Intel's chief executive Brian Krzanich recently stated that "without a workforce that more closely mirrors the population, we are missing opportunities, including not understanding and designing for our own customers."

This complex issue requires creative solutions. Some of the roadblocks include the relatively small pipeline of African-American STEM students, the lack of support and visibility of role models, and the hostile environments encountered by some students and professionals. A few solutions are listed here, including building relationships with schools with large African-American STEM student populations and requiring that candidates from diverse backgrounds be interviewed for STEM positions. From my own experience, a few years ago I spent two hours, over dinner, offering encouragement and advice to a discouraged, young African-American employee who was ready to quit. Within six months, she was the team leader for her department.

Listed below are additional, suggested actions for ruminating on potential solutions:

  • Attend the Black Engineer of the Year STEM Awards Conference. Some of the U.S.' top technology leaders attend this annual event.
  • Attend the National Society of Black Engineers National Conference. NSBE is a student-run organization. Nearly 10,000 students attend this annual conference.
  • Ask some of the top global technology leaders who are African-American for input. Their trailblazing experiences and ideas can provide valuable insight. (You can start by contacting those profiled below or asking me).

Blazing the trail
Here are five technology trailblazers who walk among us. They have made valuable contributions to our global society and provide inspiration for many. We honor them as innovative African-Americans who have changed the world.

Faye A. Briggs, Ph.D., is a retired Intel Fellow, the company's top technical position. He was the technical visionary behind Intel's billion-dollar server business. Dr. Briggs co-founded Axil Computers, which designed and sold multiprocessor computers and storage systems. He is now the CEO and founder of Niminq Inc., a technology consulting firm, and an adjunct professor at Rice University in Houston, Texas.

Mark Dean, Ph.D., is a professor at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and a retired IBM Fellow, the company's top technical position. He was also chief engineer for the development of several IBM PC offerings and holds three of the nine patents for the original IBM PC. This includes the Industry Standard Architecture (ISA) "bus," earning him election to the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Dr. Dean is also a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering.

Carol Y. Espy-Wilson, Ph.D., is a professor at the University of Maryland, and director of the Speech Communication Laboratory. Dr. Espy-Wilson founded OmniSpeech LLC, a technology startup company with offerings to address the issue of background noise in cellphone conversations. She is a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America.

Marc Hannah, Ph.D., co-founded Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI), a company that became well-known for its computer graphics technology. He was the company's principal scientist, creating computer programs that were used to create effects for movies like "Jurassic Park," "Aladdin," "Beauty and the Beast," "The Hunt for Red October," and "Field of Dreams." His programs have also been used to create television commercials and the opening introduction for Monday Night Football.

Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D., is the president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). Dr. Jackson is a theoretical physicist and the first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. from MIT in any field. She is the former chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and a member of several corporate boards and national and international advisory boards. She is also a former researcher at AT&T Bell Laboratories, a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

What can you do in your organization to promote diversity? Can you share additional success stories? Who do you consider a technology trailblazer?

(This post was written as part of the Dell Insight Partners program, which provides news and analysis about the evolving world of tech. To learn more about tech news and analysis visit TechPageOne. Dell sponsored this article, but the opinions are my own and don't necessarily represent Dell's positions or strategies.)

Bookmark and Share

Cloud Musings

( Thank you. If you enjoyed this article, get free updates by email or RSS - © Copyright Kevin L. Jackson 2012)

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Kevin Jackson

Kevin Jackson, founder of the GovCloud Network, is an independent technology and business consultant specializing in mission critical solutions. He has served in various senior management positions including VP & GM Cloud Services NJVC, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and VP Program Management Office at JP Morgan Chase. His formal education includes MSEE (Computer Engineering), MA National Security & Strategic Studies and a BS Aerospace Engineering. Jackson graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1979 and retired from the US Navy earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Airborne Logistics and Airborne Command and Control. He also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide. Kevin is the founder and author of “Cloud Musings”, a widely followed blog that focuses on the use of cloud computing by the Federal government. He is also the editor and founder of “Government Cloud Computing” electronic magazine, published at Ulitzer.com. To set up an appointment CLICK HERE

@ThingsExpo Stories
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that All in Mobile, a mobile app development company from Poland, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. All In Mobile is a mobile app development company from Poland. Since 2014, they maintain passion for developing mobile applications for enterprises and startups worldwide.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
The best way to leverage your CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at CloudEXPO. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audienc...
IoT is at the core or many Digital Transformation initiatives with the goal of re-inventing a company's business model. We all agree that collecting relevant IoT data will result in massive amounts of data needing to be stored. However, with the rapid development of IoT devices and ongoing business model transformation, we are not able to predict the volume and growth of IoT data. And with the lack of IoT history, traditional methods of IT and infrastructure planning based on the past do not app...
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smart...
DXWorldEXPO LLC, the producer of the world's most influential technology conferences and trade shows has announced the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO "Early Bird Registration" is now open. Register for Full Conference "Gold Pass" ▸ Here (Expo Hall ▸ Here)
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
The Jevons Paradox suggests that when technological advances increase efficiency of a resource, it results in an overall increase in consumption. Writing on the increased use of coal as a result of technological improvements, 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons found that these improvements led to the development of new ways to utilize coal. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Thiele, Chief Strategy Officer for Apcera, compared the Jevons Paradox to modern-day enterprise IT, examin...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICC-USA, a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. ICC is a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances to meet a wide range of ...
Headquartered in Plainsboro, NJ, Synametrics Technologies has provided IT professionals and computer systems developers since 1997. Based on the success of their initial product offerings (WinSQL and DeltaCopy), the company continues to create and hone innovative products that help its customers get more from their computer applications, databases and infrastructure. To date, over one million users around the world have chosen Synametrics solutions to help power their accelerated business or per...
We are seeing a major migration of enterprises applications to the cloud. As cloud and business use of real time applications accelerate, legacy networks are no longer able to architecturally support cloud adoption and deliver the performance and security required by highly distributed enterprises. These outdated solutions have become more costly and complicated to implement, install, manage, and maintain.SD-WAN offers unlimited capabilities for accessing the benefits of the cloud and Internet. ...
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight...
Join IBM November 1 at 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, and learn how IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Cognitive analysis impacts today’s systems with unparalleled ability that were previously available only to manned, back-end operations. Thanks to cloud processing, IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Imagine a robot vacuum that becomes your personal assistant tha...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
I think DevOps is now a rambunctious teenager - it's starting to get a mind of its own, wanting to get its own things but it still needs some adult supervision," explained Thomas Hooker, VP of marketing at CollabNet, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Recently, WebRTC has a lot of eyes from market. The use cases of WebRTC are expanding - video chat, online education, online health care etc. Not only for human-to-human communication, but also IoT use cases such as machine to human use cases can be seen recently. One of the typical use-case is remote camera monitoring. With WebRTC, people can have interoperability and flexibility for deploying monitoring service. However, the benefit of WebRTC for IoT is not only its convenience and interopera...