Breakfast with Visiting Scholar: Sylvia Acevedo

Breakfast will be Wednesday, March 9th, 2016 from 8:30 - 9:30 am in the Lieber room (JH 123).

Also, I hope you can join us for her talk Wednesday @ 4 pm in Swain West 119. She'll be talking about: "Inspiring STEM careers: A lifetime trajectory from First Gen Student to a White House Commissioner"

Background on Sylvia Acevedo:

Sylvia Acevedo has earned international recognition for her work in addressing one of society’s most vexing challenges – universal access to education. What started as a weekly hour of community service tutoring at a low-income school while working as a technology executive at Dell Computers quickly became a transformative idea. This idea led to a community mobilization campaign that reached over a quarter of a million people across America. That “A-ha!” moment gave Ms. Acevedo the insight that there were ways that her leadership and systems engineering skills could be used to provide much-needed access to the same type of community organizations that helped her so much as a young girl.

In response to the growing health disparities in children of underserved populations, Ms. Acevedo realized the linkage to access to sports and fitness activities and created the “Fitness Feria”. These campaigns successfully ran in Austin and Los Angeles, providing hands on play and sports experiences for over 27,000 children. The US ARMY recognized Ms. Acevedo for the mobilization campaign’s contributions at the US ARMY All American Bowl.

Along the way, Ms. Acevedo established distribution programs that provided over 250,000 books to families, many of which were the first books in their homes. Seeing children struggling to achieve academically simply due to untreated vision issues, Ms. Acevedo led a community collaboration that distributed over 11,000 pairs of glasses over a three-year period to children who needed their vision corrected.

Ms. Acevedo’s innovative systems work led to international awards and recognition including being named to the White House Commission for Educational Excellence for Hispanics by President Obama in 2011. In this role, Ms. Acevedo serves as the Chair of the Early Childhood subcommittee. The federal government of Mexico in 2011 honored Sylvia with the Ohtli Award, the country’s most prestigious civil rights recognition of non-Mexican nationals for her work in parental involvement in education.

Ms. Acevedo started her career as a rocket scientist at the Jet Propulsion Labs. As an engineer at IBM, she led the redesign of state of the art manufacturing facilities that became an international showcase. Leveraging her technical training in the technology industry, Ms. Acevedo served as an executive with Fortune 100 companies: Apple, IBM, Autodesk and Dell. Ms. Acevedo holds a Master’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University (where she was one of the first Hispanics, male or female, to have earned a graduate engineering degree) and a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from New Mexico State University. In addition to her work as a White House Commissioner, she currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors for the Girl Scouts of the United States and the Board of Directors for Synergis Education. Ms. Acevedo resides in Santa Barbara, CA.

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