Microsoft recently put its money where its mouth is when it came to encouraging children to seek out and explore careers involving STEM focused curriculum.
As part of a school project that asked students to reach out to their favorite businesses and express their appreciation, a Silverland Middle School student by the name of Sky Yi wrote to President and Cheif Legal Officer at Microsoft, Brad Smith.
While the chances of a letter from a middle school youth reaching such a high-level executive at Microsoft seemed relatively low, Yi completed his assignment by penning an honest and relatively self-aware letter to Smith expressing his appreciation of the software company.
“I know this letter won’t be opened by you on the spot, as I’m sure you guys get millions of letters,” Sky wrote. “I bet whoever is getting this letter, whether it be your secretary or whatnot, is probably just throwing this away or something like that.” Still, he added, “Keep up the good work running that company.”
Wouldn't you know it, not only did the letter get past a communications bot and executive assistant, but it made its way to Smith's desk which prompted the executive to visit the middle school in Fernley, Nevada.
Not only did Yi's letter bring Smith to the middle school to stress the importance of emboldening teachers and students who engage in STEM curriculum but Yi was also gifted with one of Microsoft's latest Surface Laptops for his efforts.
Before his visit to Yi's middle school, Smith responded in kind with this letter,
“At Microsoft, we’ve been working with middle schools for a long time, especially on subjects like middle-school math,” Smith said at the end of his visit. “Because what we’ve learned, what the country knows, is that middle-school math is a game changer. If kids make it through seventh- and eighth-grade math, and they succeed, they’re almost certain to keep succeeding, they’re almost certain to graduate from high school. And one of the things that makes this story exciting, is that this is a middle school that clearly has some great math teachers doing really creative work, drawing kids in, helping them not just learn to count and focus on things like algebra, but showing how math has a real-world impact, and as schools are finding out across the country, that makes all the difference.”
Beyond Microsoft's work in creating tools, services, and programs to help aid teachers in reaching out to students interested in STEM as well as encouraging students to seek out science, technology, engineering, and math, it is nice to see the company humanizing its efforts with cases such as Yi's.
For students looking for new hardware going into high school or college, perhaps, sharpen those pencils and write to your favorite Microsoft employee soon.