Veteran and novice teachers are learning together how to improve educational outcomes for their students at William C. Overfelt High School in San Jose, California.
Led by the New Teacher Center, this professional collaboration is helping to transform teaching and learning at the high school in one of the lowest income neighborhoods in Silicon Valley, and it exemplifies the Applied Materials Foundation’s investment in teachers. In addition to funding the New Teacher Center’s work at Overfelt, the Foundation is supporting similar efforts in Austin, Texas, Portland, Oregon, and Kalispell, Montana, all communities where Applied Materials has a presence.
It is a thrill to experience the energy, creativity, and enthusiasm of young people from around the world as they apply their curiosity and talents to address significant global challenges. There are budding scientists and innovators all around us and I have been fortunate to recently visit with some of the best.
On an October Saturday in Datong City, China, one hundred students from 35 universities melded into five integrated, multi-lingual teams and immediately found their unique competitive spirit. The teams eagerly answered trivia questions, celebrated correct answers, and were awarded materials allowing them to build a traditional Chinese structure – an Ancient Chinese Bucket Arch which is created by locking beams and requires no nails or cement to stand for hundreds of years. Amazing!
This was my third year attending the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting (CGI). It seems to get better every year. Between the world leaders, superstar nonprofit organizations, social entrepreneurs, foundations and corporations, former President Clinton has created a movement that is changing the world in sustainable ways. At my first meeting, I was learning about environmental philanthropy and investigating potential partners. Today it is all about our commitment to action, the amazing results of our first CGI commitment, and the announcement of our second. In the video below I discuss our commitment in a bit more detail.
I really enjoyed being involved in yesterday’s opening of Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties’ new facility in San Jose, CA. It is an impressive building that provides 75,000 more square feet of operating space, greatly increases the Food Bank’s capacity to involve volunteers in meeting the needs of our community, and enables an amazing 50% of distributed items to be nutritious, fresh produce!
I recently attended a breakfast meeting hosted by Deloitte designed to build awareness for City Year and the powerful work that nonprofit is doing in Silicon Valley’s education system. The Applied Materials Foundation has been a longtime partner of City Year, so this meeting held special significance to me. Additionally, Dr. Tom Green, the Director of School Transformation for one of our school district partners, the Alum Rock Union Elementary School District, was featured as the keynote speaker. Tom captured the essence of the challenges facing public schools and the social contract that now mandates the moral imperative with which schools operate. It was fascinating learning for me and made me proud that the Applied Materials Foundation has chosen to concentrate its philanthropy into closing the achievement gap in the most underserved areas of our community, such as Alum Rock.
As I watched the opening ceremony of the London Olympics, I was impressed – not just with the amazing production – but with the hundreds of smiling athletes from countries around the globe who have worked so hard and long to realize their dream of international competition. They have developed unique talents, persevered in the face of challenges, and focused with tremendous determination to reach a goal that puts them on a global stage.
It wasn’t much of a stretch for me to think of the social entrepreneurs and leaders of nongovernmental agencies who do the same thing each day … they lock their sights on a goal and drive themselves and their organizations to fulfill a vision of making a positive impact on society. Although the scale is different, the annual Tech Awards, presented by Applied Materials, are the Olympics for innovators who are using technology to benefit humanity and for philanthropists like Narayana Murthy who is a champion in using the power of technology to improve the way people live.
His accomplishments in both business and charitable endeavors are remarkable, but I was most impressed by his humility as an influential entrepreneur and philanthropist, N.R. Narayana Murthy, was announced as the recipient of the 2012 James C. Morgan Global Humanitarian Award at a recent event at the Tech Museum in San Jose, California.
In acknowledging praise for his contributions to society, Mr. Murthy talked of “transforming the world through ideas and technology” and stressed the importance of solving the problems of poverty through the creation of jobs. In expressing his gratitude for the award, he spoke of philanthropy as bringing justice and equity to the world and making the planet more peaceful and harmonious.
The H20asis project, a solar-powered reverse osmosis water supplier system, from Cupertino High School won first place in the San Francisco Clean Tech Competition.
The presentations were first-rate and the innovations were ingenious, but what impressed me most at the recent judging of Clean Tech Competition projects in Silicon Valley, Calif. was the focus on how technology can improve the way people live.
In this inaugural year of the Competition, presented by Applied Materials, student ages 13-18 worked in teams both in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Xi’an, China to design a solar solution to a humanitarian crisis in the aftermath of a real or imagined natural disaster. At the California judging recently held at Santa Clara University, students described earthquakes, floods and volcanic eruptions and then demonstrated their solutions ranging from food storage and cooking systems to communication and location devices to solar masks.
As I sat through a three-hour session of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors meeting recently and waited for my agenda item to be discussed, I realized – once again – that sometimes the wait is worth it.
I have been working on solving the issue of chronic homelessness for years and, backed by the Applied Materials Foundation, have been involved as a steward of Destination: Home, a local nonprofit dedicated to providing permanent housing solutions and support services to some of the most difficult people to house in our community.
I was pleased to see that 13 of the 16 schools being honored for academic improvement at the annual meeting of SJ2020, a community-wide collaboration to eliminate the academic achievement gap are part of the Applied Materials Foundation Education Initiative effort. In fact, The Applied Materials Foundation was a founding member of SJ2020 because of its 10-year Education Initiative, dedicated to improve educational outcomes for students in San Jose, Calif. The event provided credibility that our education contributions were paying nice dividends. Although we know much work remains.
The Department of Energy announced the 20 university teams selected to participate in the next Solar Decathlon in the U.S....and California is a big winner with four teams from the Golden State. The third place winner in 2009, Santa Clara University, will be joined by newcomers Stanford, University of Southern California, and a collaboration between Southern California Institute of Architecture and California Institute of Technology.
And, none of the four teams will need to travel far.
I am always amazed at the ingenuity and passion on display at the annual Tech Awards, presented by Applied Materials. And, last night’s Gala in Silicon Valley, a benefit for the Tech Museum, was not a disappointment.
Fifteen Tech Laureates from five countries explained their unique remedies to global problems including access to safe drinking water, the lack of financial services in India, failing education systems, and health care inequality. Solutions included a solar powered water ATM, a voice-based knowledge system accessed via mobile phones, and an alphabet-teaching puppet with its own television show!