SOC Students Visit Microsoft

IMG_1979.JPGToday 15 students from the Student Opportunity Center took a field trip to the Microsoft Campus in Las Colinas Texas.  The students were invited by Mr. Peter A. Burns from Nokia.  The event was the BAM Minority Student Day at Microsoft.

The event was a full day of activities for high school students from around the metroplex.

Microsoft was ready to greet the students with breakfast followed by a keynote speech from Dr. Richard Gallot, Jr.  President of Grambling State University in Louisiana.

Mr. Gallot emphasized to the students that research shows that more than 30 million jobs today will not exist in 2030 and that more than 30 million new jobs will be created to take their place.  Most of those jobs will be in some way related to technology.  He spoke about the University and its strength.  Grambling is “The place where everybody is somebody.”  When asked about the importance of education he said that a college degree equates to about 1 million more in extra pay over a High School diploma in a lifetime.  When asked for advice he offered a quote from Steven R Covey to “Begin with the End in Mind” and to have fun.   He also mentioned that he is currently reading the book “Good to Great” and that he is good and working to become great.  The importance of example, and always pushing to be better.

Dean Jones, Sr. Service Delivery Manager at Microsoft was the manager of the event and mentioned another great book that Microsoft is currently reading entitled “Growth Mindset” something we here at the SOC are very familiar with.  He also mentioned a Ted Talk “Creativity is a Remix” by Kirby Ferguson

After the keynote speaker, there was a panel discussion held with several successful business leaders in the area.


·  Thomas N. McCaleb – Director, Information Technology Applications for Strasburger LLP, a regional law firm based in Dallas, Texas.  Notable Quote.  “Always have a backup”  personal hobby counting cards.  (4 decks).  What do I do today to get better?  I read, what is going on in tech.  How do I use AI to improve productivity?  When I interview for a job today I am competing with the world.

·  Oliver L. Sims III – Senior Director Global Presales for CA Technologies.  – On the side startup company investor

· Peter Burns – Business Development and Technical Tendering Lead for Nokia – Create a smart team – began his career as a Telephone Installer and operator.

· Otis Spencer Jr.  – GenNx360 Captial Partners. – Private Equity Firm for companies not publicly traded.   If you excel in math and science people know you can think.  It is an opening ticket for so many doors.

· Debra Bruer – Sears Commercial Sales Services – Property Management.  As an employee, you are selling.  Dress for the job you want to have in the future.  Sell yourself, presentation.  Surround yourself with smart people.  If you are the smartest person in the room find a new room.  Network with everyone.  Sart with the end in Mind (5-year goal).  Encourage the person in the Mirror.

· Kevin Burnett Alcatel-Lucent – Now Nokia – Alcatel created the first CPU.  Nothing is impossible.  Do the hardest thing.  What is that?  Talk to someone older than you.  Learn from their mistakes and experience; find a mentor

· Dr. Klyne Smith – professor at SMU.  Currently in his classes today, he has 119 students in his Masters of Engineering Program.  Not a single one is American.  Your competition is studying.  There is a global pool of resources.  The U.S.  is better at putting it all together but the world is catching up.  Tech average salary in the US Is 100k, in India, it is 30k.

· Cazzi – recent Microsoft College hire.  – Gave the following advice to students, research companies of interest, be proactive, attend career fairs, use resource available.  Be Proactive, Be Prepared, Prioritize.

Afterward, the students were given the opportunity to tour the Microsoft Technology Center where they played with the latest in video gaming, Got to play with the new and not yet released technologies related to Virtual reality.

Everyone was treated to a pizza lunch and then one last trip to the Envisioning Center in the MTC showing Microsoft in our world.  Students were able to see Microsoft translation and Skype video conferencing with language translation. (Speak with someone around the world in a different language)

It was a great trip for everyone.  I think they all enjoyed it very much.

I am sure I probably missed many things but captured what I could.  Thanks to Mr. Burns for the invitation and wonderful time at Microsoft, and to Microsoft for their wonderful hospitality.

~ Michael Ellett, Science Teacher and Trip Chaperone