The cybersecurity workforce gap is real, and it’s growing. Based on a state-by-state analysis on CompTIA’s cyberstates.org, there are currently 320,000 open cyber jobs in the United States. By 2022, the projected shortage of cybersecurity professionals worldwide will reach 1.8 million, according to the Center for Cyber Safety and Education.
The August-Ft. Gordon Chapter is dedicated to supporting STEM students through scholarships and teacher grants. Thanks to a $100,000 endowment from the Chestnut Family Foundation, the chapter will be able to fund a new scholarship for students from the Central Savannah River Area who are majoring in STEM. Ben Chestnut, one of the trustees of the Chestnut Family Foundation and co-founder and CEO of Mailchimp, received an AFCEA Educational Foundation scholarship in 1996 to pursue his college education.
When it comes to giving back to the community, AFCEA members excel in supporting STEM education. Whether it’s the Aberdeen Chapter’s Young AFCEANs getting thrown in “jail” to raise “bail” to send local students to a STEM summer camp or more extravagant fundraisers such as the Bethesda Chapter’s Roaring 20 Years of Giving Gala, AFCEA members consistently come out to support the students and teachers in their local communities. In fact, some AFCEA corporate members are devoted entirely to bringing STEM education to students who use it as a tool to change their lives and careers, such as Per Scholas, which offers computer training and certifications to low-income students free of charge.
In the information age, military operations are becoming more and more dependent on network-based capabilities. Meeting the rising communication technology challenges of the future means having a workforce versed in science, technology, engineering and math, leaders suggest.
Barbara Borgonovi, vice president, Integrated Communication Systems, Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, shared that talented workers are needed to fill employment gaps at defense companies as well as in the military. She refers to the challenge as the talent imperative.
To fill positions, industry and the government need to change how they identify, hire and retain talent, Borgonovi said.
Mounting evidence shows that hands-on experiences such as play-based activities, clubs and science fairs are extremely effective in improving engagement in STEM. Studies by the National Science Teachers Association demonstrate that young children learn through active exploration—and the drive to observe, interact and discover is inherent in their development. AFCEA’s Educational Foundation offers grants to teachers in elementary and middle schools as well as in high schools to provide the materials needed to make these activities possible. Even a few hundred dollars helps give teachers support to create positive STEM education experiences for children.
As I have said in previous articles, I believe it is important to national security and the success of the country that we consider how to get young people more involved in STEM. Diversity also is important. While nearly as many women hold undergraduate degrees as men overall, they make up only about 30 percent of all STEM degree holders.
I thought it would be interesting and educational to get the perspective of a young woman majoring in engineering at Vanderbilt University, where 31 percent of engineering students are women, slightly above the national average.
Raising the bar for STEM education comes through practice, competition and a culture shift to help prepare the next generation of defense leaders. It’s less about how many hours of STEM courses or what is the right age to engage kids in STEM and more of a focus on how to create access to opportunities in a way that they can connect with for the long term.
The Alamo Chapter recently awarded a $1,000 STEM Teaching Tools Grant to Amanda Pelletier of Boerne-Samuel V. Champion High School in Texas. She began the school year with a brand-new class and curriculum, Earth and science, but budget restraints meant that Pelletier had to spend her own money to build the program. She believes in sharing science with young people, so she set aside funds for the new class.
“Teachers don’t make a whole lot of money, but I really do believe in this program and getting the students interested in STEM,” Pelletier said.
Entering its sixth year, Giving Tuesday is a global day of giving celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving in the United States. Last year, Giving Tuesday broke a record with $168 million in charitable donations worldwide. The day dedicated to philanthropy is quickly emerging as a national ritual after the well-recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
It was through a scholarship awarded by AFCEA International that some California elementary school students got up close and personal with the intricate workmanship of the intrepid Albert Tangemann.
In 1922, Tangemann used scrap metal from World War II battleships to create a first-of-its-kind spiral staircase that provided access to the bottom of California’s Moaning Cavern. Ninety-two years later, one teacher’s AFCEA scholarship meant that 84 students from Sonora Elementary School could glean insights into how far construction technology has come and what allows speleologists to study deep, dark cavern secrets.
I wrote about STEM—science, technology, engineering and mathematics—being a critical element of national security (CENS) in July 2015. At the time, 8.5 million STEM jobs already were on the market, with the number growing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects more than 9 million additional STEM graduates will be needed by 2022.
So, how is the nation going to meet this CENS need that crosses nominal disciplines such as the economy, power, water, transportation and defense?
Shopping for good is made easy by the AFCEA Educational Foundation and the CauseNetwork, which offer consumers access to discounts at more than 1,000 retailers that donate a portion of each purchase to support science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. Shop for STEM allows anyone to register and shop from a range of retailers, from small businesses to giants such as Amazon.com, Target and Wal-Mart. Simply visit shopforstem.org, and sign up quickly and easily with your email address.
Northrop Grumman Corporation is now accepting applications for its engineering scholars competition, which will provide $192,000 in college scholarships this year to promising high school seniors graduating from Maryland schools interested in studying engineering, according to a news release. Additionally, the company will award 26 scholarships to students who live near company campuses in Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Utah and Virginia.
It can be easy to forget that AFCEA is more than a professional association—AFCEA is a community. When the southeastern United States was pummeled by Hurricane Matthew in October, the AFCEA Educational Foundation and the North Carolina and South Carolina Low Country chapters were able to provide assistance to local schools in the hardest-hit areas.
For many people in the U.S., the end of Thanksgiving marks the start of a whirlwind shopping season. From Black Friday to Cyber Monday, the search is on for the perfect gifts. But the holidays also bring about a season of charitable giving and a day known as Giving Tuesday.
Giving Tuesday, celebrated on Tuesday, November 29, is a global movement fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Using the hashtag #GivingTuesday, nonprofits around the world will raise funds and awareness for their causes. The event encourages participants to find a way to give back with their time, donations or the power of their voices.
Notes from scholarship and grant recipients are constant reminders of the importance of corporate, member and chapter contributions to the individuals the AFCEA Educational Foundation serves. The foundation provides potential benefactors with the facts; the beneficiaries of their generosity tell the story.
Much attention has been focused on recent achievements by women who crack or break traditional glass ceilings. In its recent series on Women in STEM, SIGNAL has highlighted many of these achievements.
For 10 weeks, we have addressed the issue of women in STEM and why many leave the field after working so hard to earn their college degrees. For 10 weeks, we've run features on prominent women who stuck with their careers in science, technology, engineering and math, despite some hurdles. For 10 weeks, salient points have reverberated as leaders talk about the sexual harassment, the pay gap, waning student interest and the need for mentors. But we're not done talking about it. Next month, AFCEA International hosts its first Women in STEM panel at TechNet Augusta to tackle the issue. You should join us.
Employers today face a scarcity of qualified candidates for coveted jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM—jobs widely regarded as vital to U.S. economic and military strength. One key reason for the lack of skilled workers is gender inequities, which share as much of the blame for the dearth of diversity in these fields.