Sylvia Acevedo - Communicard
CEO CommuniCard LLC
Commissioner, President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
CommuniCard LLC provides solutions in education and healthcare for the America’s rising generation. Sylvia has served as an executive for several Fortune 100 companies including IBM, DELL and Apple. She started her career literally as a rocket scientist at Jet Propulsion Labs. Sylvia was recently named by President Obama to the White House Commission for Educational Excellence for Hispanics. In September 2011, Sylvia was honored by the Government of Mexico by receiving the Ohtli award, one of its most prestigious civil rights recognitions. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Girl Scouts of the USA and the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders. She lives in Austin, TX where the Austin Statesman named her as one of Austin’s Heroes. Sylvia holds a master’s degree of science in Industrial Engineering (Stanford University, 1983), and her undergraduate bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from New Mexico State University.
Why do you believe STEM Education and Workforce are important to our nation?
In the 21st century, the ability to create and produce technological innovation is absolutely essential for the well being of our citizenry and for our national security interests. The countries with the most scientists and engineers will be able to lead by creating the jobs of the future. It is in America’s best interest to have its citizens trained and educated to be able to provide and secure its national resources and interests.
How are women and minorities important to STEM careers?
Women and America’s rising generation of youth make up more than 50% of the workforce. It is absolutely vital that we utilize the capacity and capabilities of the brightest and best of all of our population, including women and the rising generation of youth. People, from all walks of life, bring their own vitality and unique perspective to solutions. Having women and America’s rising generation of youth select STEM careers strengthens America by diversifying our workforce and increasing the pipeline of STEM talent.
What can we do to assure more women leaders in STEM?
To increase the number of women in STEM, we have to start by encouraging young women students to pursue STEM careers. Organizations, like the Girl Scouts, who have a reach in all zip codes in the USA, can support the efforts to introduce STEM careers to girls and to help them see that it is a great opportunity for them in college and as a career. Having schools include efforts that are more inclusive of girls in STEM activities will help girls see that STEM is an option for them.
What about STEM gives you passion?
The ability to create, design, produce and solve problems is one of the key aspects of an innovative society and culture. STEM careers are at the forefront of solving some of society’s most vexing issues and problems. Working to problem solve challenges is one of the most exciting aspects of being an engineer and is a highlight of a STEM career. Creating a product or solution or solving a problem is what excites me about being an engineer.
Of what one initiative you are most proud?
The initiative that I am most proud of is using my systems and process abilities to create some of the nation’s largest educational mobilization campaigns for America’s rising generation. In 6 years, we have reached over 181,000 people and distributed over 160,000 books. The innovation of the mobilization campaign is based on applying engineering process skills to a bring together community partners, educational institutions and the rapidly shifting population of students and their families in entirely new ways that create lasting change. It’s been heartwarming and extremely gratifying to see parents become more involved in their child’s education and for students to learn about STEM and other careers.