Rose Kirk is the Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer at Verizon. She is helping young children in K-12 get inspired by STEM and STEM careers. When asked what she loves most about her job she said, “Verizon is a tech company. We deliver on the promise of the digital world and make access available to those that need it most. I get to do this in my job everyday— bring access to those that need it the most.”
Kirk explained that the world we live in is changing rapidly, and the need for jobs in science and technology are increasing daily. At the same time, jobs like manufacturing are decreasing. She wants the next generation to be prepared for the world they step into. She has helped create the Verizon Innovative Learning initiative to raise funds to help schools teach STEM.
In a lot of schools that are in underserved communities, it’s hard to get proper STEM learning, she explained. Many children don’t have access to the internet or a mobile device, not to mention hands-on learning and mentorship. It makes it difficult for children to see where STEM is going and to get them interested and informed on it. Children who cannot access STEM learning are at a serious disadvantage for pursuing those fields later in life.
Kirk says one of the most fulfilling parts of her job is giving access to technology to students who had never had it before.
“Given the right tools and opportunities, kids can picture themselves as engineers or entrepreneurs,” she said. She said that students feel more confident with the technology and pick it up quickly. With that inspiration in their mind, she explained, they are getting interested in STEM subjects quickly.
She says the best way to reach and engage kids in STEM is by putting technology, role models and hands-on learning together. She said that kids can often feel overlooked by STEM education programs and underrepresented in science and technology.
The Verizon Innovative Learning minority males initiative is putting young minority men in Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic-serving institutions, and giving them opportunities to meet role models and learn things like coding, 3D design, robotics and entrepreneurship. They’re also launching a program for young girls in rural areas to learn about design and entrepreneurship on local community college campuses.
The #weneedmore campaign is a rallying cry that kids need to see more possibilities in the world that are waiting for them. They came out with an inspiring video featuring LeBron James explaining that while he is one of the greatest athletes of all time and an admired celebrity, the world doesn’t need more LeBrons. What Verizon believes the world needs are more coders, scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and they are determined to help young children see their potential.
Along with #weneedmore, Verizon has Verizon Innovative Learning as well as the Verizon Foundation, all formed to help make a better tomorrow. For more information visit www.weneedmore.com.