Imagination and Art Create More Opportunities for More Innovation

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.

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  1. Robin Harold September 22, 2014 - Reply

    What a fantastic idea. It would be great if this could be duplicated in Rochester, NY. I am an engineer and many of my colleagues have skills in the fine arts and photograpy. They may welcome an opportunity to share their interests and let children know that the technical field is not entirely analytical, but highly creative as well. Thank you.

    • Gregory Pings September 23, 2014 - Reply

      Robin: Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Mike Long is the administrator of the Xerox Science Consultant Program in Rochester, N.Y. I alerted him to your comment, and asked him to reply:

      “It’s exciting to know that Xerox support of STEM education is expanding with the development of enhanced programs, like the LSTEAM Academy that Connie wrote about. Now in its 47th year, the Xerox Science Consultant Program (XSCP) sends volunteer scientists and engineers into Rochester area elementary schools to create excitement about science. We also have a newer, and smaller, program in Wilsonville, Ore.

      “One of my personal key learnings about STEM is that it is as much about ways of thinking as it is about the subject areas that the acronym represents. Enhancing STEM learning with the added value of lessons in the arts seems like a wonderful accelerant to the demands of creative thinking.”

      Mike Long, XSCP Administrator,

  2. Chris Gilligan September 22, 2014 - Reply

    Robin – I work with Connie Harvey at Xerox and am part of the organizing committee for the LSTEAM Academy in Lexington. This is a model that could easily be replicated in any community to service any group. Our local United Way took our vision and ran with it. Our partners at the local school helped us find the schools where we could have the biggest impact.

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