By Connie Harvey, COO, Commercial Healthcare for Xerox

Xerox is a company that is built on innovation – the personal computer, the graphic user interface and the computer mouse. These days, our innovations tied specifically to big data, health care and transportation. Innovation is based on the principles STEM – science, technology, engineering and math. Unfortunately, too many students, including minorities, don’t have the opportunity to thrive in these areas. That needs to change. What is our society, and these students, missing out on – simply because these students didn’t have the opportunity to be exposed to these fields?

As the corporate champion of our Hispanic employee caucus group at Xerox, I thought it was important that we help create the LSTEAM Academy at a local middle school in Lexington, Ky. It’s STEM with the arts included, and is designed specifically for Latino students.

Because imagination is at the core of invention, we must not underestimate the value of the arts in society. I’ve seen first-hand how this school incorporates the arts into their math classes. By including the arts, the students use STEM concepts to imagine and create.

We partnered with the local chapter of the United Way, which has a history of successfully creating programs like this, and the Fayette County Public School system in Lexington. Together we have all the right people and talent to make this vision a reality. This is a great example of a public-private, and philanthropic partnership that could change society. It will certainly change our community, and it will improve the opportunities for these students.

And who knows, these students may eventually come to work for Xerox and help us create the next “big thing.” Now wouldn’t that be something?

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A student in a Xerox sponsored L-STEAM Academy shows of work she created using art and math principles to guide the project.

A student in a Xerox sponsored L-STEAM Academy shows of work she created using art and math principles to guide the project.