Cisco’s commitment to STEM and willingness to partner with others improves the education and lives of students and families in communities around the world, Cisco has proven to be a leader among businesses and industries to strengthen STEM.

Cisco honored by SMT Center for “Enduring Commitment” to improve STEM education in North Carolina

28 April 2014

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC – The North Carolina Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education Center CEO and President Dr. Samuel Houston has named Cisco the 2014 winner of the SMT Center’s Business & Industry Award for the company’s significant work in improving STEM education in North Carolina.

The SMT Center honored Cisco at an awards ceremony at the Cary Embassy Suites Saturday evening.  A video profile can be found on the SMT Center’s website.

“Cisco has an enduring commitment to improving STEM education in North Carolina,” said Ed Paradise, Cisco Vice President and Research Triangle Park Site Executive.  “That’s why Cisco and our employee volunteers partner with innovative organizations and community leaders to encourage students to develop a life-long interest in science, math and technology.  The goal:  fueling the pipeline of next generation talent critical to Cisco, our industry and our region.”

The SMT Center honored Cisco for its significant efforts in improving STEM education in North Carolina, and singled out Cisco’s work in several areas including:

  • The Cisco Networking Academy.  Every year, Networking Academies  help hundreds of thousands of individuals around the world prepare for in-demand information and communication technology (ICT) jobs and career certification. Since 1997, the partnership between Cisco and North Carolina educational institutions has touched the lives of more than 47,000 students, as they develop foundational skills in ICT while acquiring vital 21st-century career skills in problem solving, collaboration, and critical thinking.  Across North Carolina, Cisco has partnered with 90 schools and organizations to offer ICT courses.  Durham Technical Community College, North Carolina Central University, Chapel Hill High School, and Athens Drive High School in Wake County are a few in the Triangle area.
  • Non-Profit Partnership. Cisco partners with innovative nonprofits and organizations who are inspiring  North Carolina students to pursue STEM education. A few of Cisco’s partners include FIRST Robotics, Girl Scouts of Coastal Pines, and Citizen Schools.  In apprenticeships offered through the non-profit Citizen Schools, Cisco employees teach middle school students for a semester at a time, bringing real-world relevance to learning in topics from robotics to engineering to programming.  Cisco volunteers teach apprenticeships at Lowe’s Grove and Neal Middle Schools in Durham.

“I have had the privilege of witnessing first-hand Cisco’s dedication to getting their employees engaged through our apprenticeships in order to prepare our young people for success in high school, college, the workforce, and beyond,” said Jake House, Executive Director of Citizen Schools in NC.  “That synergy of experts and professionals leading and motivating our next generation is exactly the magic of Citizen Schools, which would not be possible without dedicated businesses like Cisco.” 

  • US2020 STEM Initiative. Cisco has joined other companies across the US to make a bold commitment: to have 20% of its US workforce performing 20 hours of STEM mentoring per year by the year 2020.  As a founding partner of US2020, a national initiative to ignite students’ passion for STEM careers, Cisco is focused on connecting STEM mentors with students underrepresented in STEM fields.  Here in the Triangle, the local Cisco team has supported efforts of the Research Triangle Park Foundation to position RTP as a serious contender in the US2020 City Competition, which will reward grant funding and staffing resources to winning cities committed to being centers of STEM mentorship. RTP is one of 13 finalist cities, with final results expected soon.

Due to their commitment to STEM and willingness to partner with others to improve the education and lives of students and families in communities around the world, Cisco has proven to be a leader among businesses and industries to strengthen SMT.

The SMT Celebration was established in 2007 to recognize and acknowledge leaders and innovators in STEM education across North Carolina.


Media Contact:  Russ Campbell, 919-667-8866 or