Jeniffer Harper-Taylor - Siemens Foundation
As President of the Siemens Foundation, Jeniffer Harper-Taylor leads one of the nation’s preeminent nonprofit organizations dedicated to STEM education. During more than a decade of service she has impacted students, teachers and schools on a national scale, introducing tens of thousands of young people to opportunities in STEM. Today she oversees an annual investment of more than $7 million in innovative education programs that support, recognize and encourage the scientists and engineers of tomorrow. Ms. Harper-Taylor is active on a number of fronts to close the minority gap in STEM and is considered a leader in STEM education outreach advocacy and appears regularly in the media.
Why do you believe STEM Education and Workforce are important to our nation?
Our ability to meet the global challenges of the 21st century depends on STEM education. We need to train the next generation of world-class inventors, doctors, scientists and engineers, and that requires a world-class investment in STEM.
What traits do senior leaders need to effectively support and advance STEM today?
Our leaders need to be fierce advocates for STEM education. They need to be engaged in and excited by STEM topics and passionate about making the case for STEM as a national priority.
What can we do to assure more women leaders in STEM?
We need to create a culture that celebrates math, science and technology at all levels of society. We should look to develop more public-private partnerships and collaborations between academia, the business community, government, nonprofits and the media that inspire women to become more actively engaged in STEM.
What is your concept of mentoring and sponsorship of others for STEM careers?
It all comes down to education. We need to take a comprehensive approach to advancing STEM education from elementary school through graduate school with a national commitment to creativity, flexibility and innovation in engaging students and educators to the possibilities that exist when you pursue STEM disciplines as a career. We need to do better at making STEM topics relatable to students’ everyday lives and interests. We need programs that challenge students and educators to do original research and learn through inquiry at the earliest possible opportunity. And we need to do a better job of recognizing and rewarding students and teachers who are successful in STEM.
What about STEM gives you passion?
I have the opportunity to interact on a regular basis with educators and students all across the country who are doing amazing work in STEM. Their ingenuity and energy are a constant source of inspiration.