There is little that compares with the electric charge and excitement in the eyes of junior high and high school students who compete in a major science fair! The spark ignited for most of them earlier in their lives at their local fairs, and it never extinguished! “Maybe I’ll discover or create something that can change the world” is what I think might cross some young minds. This excitement keeps me coming back each year to be a Grand Awards Judge at the annual Colorado Science and Engineering Fair! Volunteering my time to encourage these young people has been an important part of my life for over 25 years. Why? Simply put, I think that our students are our future.

Your Community Day provides management employees with 8 hours a year of paid time off to volunteer with a non-profit of their choice.

In an effort to support employees like me who volunteer our time with these types of activities, AT&T recently announced a new paid day off called Your Community Day. Your Community Day provides management employees with one full work day a year of paid time off to volunteer with a non-profit of their choice. This time is for volunteering above and beyond AT&T organized volunteer activities.

Science fairs are not just about honing technical science and engineering skills. Students are learning to speak clearly, dress for success and present their projects using language that can be understood by the public. These qualities challenge students to be prepared to work successfully with colleagues in the sciences and engineering, while also to convey information clearly with the public. There are those moments when a student’s discoveries challenge the knowledge of the judges, acknowledging that the young adult may be “onto something” important to society! These moments especially require clear communication skills.

I’m excited to use my Community Day to invest in students and in my community at this science and engineering fair. I’m also looking forward to hearing the many ways my colleagues intend to spend their Community Day and the stories of positive change that come from it. I invite you to explore the Colorado Science and Engineering Fair by clicking here, and to also learn what your students are up to!

About the Author

Stephen Bernard

Supply Chain Sustainability Program

stephen_berard

Stephen Bernard is an environmental engineer and sustainability professional with over twenty five years of experience in telecommunications and aerospace. He is currently a Senior Sustainability Manager at AT&T responsible for supply chain sustainability, developing and managing new policies and programs that build sustainable business practices into supply chain operations. He is an active member of professional associations focused on sustainable business practices, including program manager for QuEST Forum’s sustainability team. Steve enjoys driving his second hybrid car, this one a plug-in, after trading his first 2002 hybrid with it still running fine at 200,000 miles. He has supported science and engineering education as a state science fair judge for over 25 years.

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