Feature Story

Barbie is now an engineer–and you can be, too

by Stephanie Chan

Barbie is now an engineer–and you can be, too

See the changes to help bring more young women into STEM fields.

Barbie has a brand-new career, and it's inspiring many across the world to explore different job options. As a robotics engineer, the classic doll will come with six free coding lessons for beginners, kindergarten-age and older. These lessons teach coding basics, logic, and problem-solving. Mattel is working with coding lesson company Tynker to bring Robotics Engineer Barbie to life. Bringing STEM education to the forefront for kids is an important first step in creating future computer science careers.

This week at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference, Cisco announced its own computer science education program for middle school students. The program, called Global Problem Solvers: The Series, includes an animated series and supporting activities for free on www.gpstheseries.com. The initiative is also provided in English, Spanish, Hindi, and French. Cisco's goal for this program is to create a pathway for the future workforce, preparing them with entrepreneurial and life skills development.

See also: The opportunity of a lifetime, Cisco Networking Academy

"We find that within K-12, things are still very siloed," says Katie Clemens, Assistant Director for Youth Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship + Innovation, and Knowledge Enterprise Development at ASU, "Students have the core subject areas and, yes, they do projects here and there, but they really don't get a ton of truly real-world experience and opportunities until high school or college. So we wanted to try to bring that to middle school and to have them really look around their communities to say, ‘What problems do we care about and what problems impact us.'"

Global Problem Solvers: The Series' theme is all about harnessing the power of technology to make the world a better place. Read more about the program from Cisco SVP of Corporate Affairs Tae Yoo in her blog post here.

Global Problem Solvers: The Series is just one part of Cisco's overall commitment to empowering student education. The company's Networking Academy (NetAcad) initiative invites students from around the world to advance their STEM education and careers. NetAcad has recently celebrated its 20th anniversary—two decades of helping students online and in-person with courses on everything from networking to security.

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