On March 14, 2011, 75 IBM engineers and scientists from San Jose and Silicon Valley went “back to school” and spent a day at Overfelt High School in San Jose to discuss the value of math and science and the importance a future career in engineering. This Celebration of Service event to give back to the community was a follow-on to a successful Black Technology Family event, held in October 2010 and sponsored by the Silicon Valley Black Employee Network. Impressed with IBM’s commitment to education and the student’s interest in technology, Overfelt High School Principal Vito Chiala asked IBM to return to the school to present to a broader student audience its message of the potential of technology to positively impact education and careers.
Throughout the day, IBMers talked to students about math, science, Deep QA system Watson, which just won the heralded Jeopardy! match, the value of a college education, and what it was like to be an engineer. At lunchtime, Laura Clayton McDonnell, Vice President, Public Sector West IMT, joined a group of 70 high achieving students enrolled in AP Calculus and AP U.S. History, to reinforce the message of making the right choice to continue their education and the habits that are necessary for success at school and work. With over 600 students in 15 classes hearing the message about education, thanks goes out to Lynn Guest, Energy Coordinator for San Jose and Silicon Valley Lab, for organizing the successful event and for all of the IBMers who gave their time to inspire our youth to go to college and pursue a career in math and science.