Microsoft cheers on girls who like science and the women they grow up to be – Weekend Reading: March 13th Edition

Welcome to Weekend Reading, with stories about Microsoft encouraging girls – and women – in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), an exciting first partnership event with Real Madrid, and four creative folks who are helping design the future of Microsoft.

In “Girls Do Science,” a video from Microsoft released for International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, we hear from young girls who like science – a lot. But in some cases, they already feel discouraged from pursuing it because of the stereotype that science is more for boys than girls. Seven out of 10 girls are interested in science but only 2 in 10 will pursue it as a career. “I built a garage door opener and I’m working on my own website,” says Anya, one girl in the video. Then she is handed a letter from Microsoft. “Dear Anya, Keep opening those garage doors. Our doors will always be open for you.” Also this week, “Big Dream,” an inspiring film about seven young women breaking barriers as they follow their passion in the STEM fields, was shown at South by Southwest Education (SXSWedu), a spinoff of the SXSW festivals of music, interactive and film.

The partnership between Microsoft and Real Madrid scored its first goal Thursday, when players met thousands of their fans via a newly created online “Fan Sticker Album.” The album features thousands of fans from 118 countries, ranging from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, a kind of United Nations of football fans for one of the world’s most popular teams. Twelve fans from the album were chosen to participate in a Skype video chat with players at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in Madrid, Spain. “This is what our partnership with Real Madrid is all about – bringing people together in a different dimension of community and connectedness,” said Orlando Ayala, Microsoft corporate vice president and chairman of Emerging Markets.

Real Madrid, Skype
Real Madrid fan Karla Esther Aguilera Rioboó of Venezuela chats with Real Madrid players, from left, Marcelo, Gareth Bale, Sergio Ramos and Chicharito, via Skype on Thursday, March 12, 2015.

We met some of the imaginative people who are helping to design the future of Microsoft: Kat Holmes, Operating Systems design director; Jonah Sterling, Azure creative director; Yeongkyu Yoo, Devices creative director; and Ralf Groene, Surface creative director. “As a kid, I adored ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and straying from the path,” Holmes tells writer Emily Alhadeff. “Curiosity and play are central to design.” You can hear more from Holmes, as well as from principal researcher Bill Buxton, in the second episode of Next at Microsoft’s podcast series on inventive people.

Weekend Reading
Clockwise, from top left: Yeongkyu Yoo, Kat Holmes, Ralf Groene and Jonah Sterling. Photo by Brian Smale / © Microsoft

For the 5th year in a row, Microsoft is on the list of The World’s Most Ethical Companies, announced this week by the Ethisphere Institute. Also this week, Microsoft was ranked as one of the world’s most innovative companies in the Internet of Things (IoT), according to “Fast Company.” The magazine highlights how Microsoft IoT has helped improve health care, elevator maintenance and emergency response systems.

Many of us think of Lync as being used for work meetings, but it’s also being used to help new moms bond with their babies when they’re in neonatal intensive care, and can’t be together. At Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, patient Maribel Castillo was “stressing” from her hospital bed about not being able to see her newborn son in the neonatal intensive care unit. So she was thrilled when a nurse handed a tablet showing her son via a secure Lync connection. “Even though you can’t be there, the next best thing is to be able to watch him,” she says in the video, below.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online service became available from local data centers in Japan. With the announcement, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online joins Office 365 and Microsoft Azure in “providing the complete Microsoft Cloud for Business to our customers from these local datacenters,” said Bob Stutz, corporate vice president of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. By the end of this month, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online will be deployed in six global regions, with Japan and Australia joining North America, European Union, Asia-Pacific and South America.

If your Spidey sense is tingling, it might be because of the fun games that await you. In “Disney Infinity 2.0: Play Without Limits,” you can create your own worlds and games with more than 60 characters from Marvel and Disney, including new play sets from “The Avengers,” “Spider-Man” and “Guardians of the Galaxy.” The latest update to “Sonic Dash” gives your favorite hedgehog extra points when you unleash Sonic’s dash move. In “TurnOn,” a new game exclusive to Windows Phone, the lights are out and you have the power to make it bright again. “Age of Empires: Castle Siege” is updated, with a new musket tower that can attack over short and long distances, and new economic and military tech upgrades. Meanwhile, players have been dodging falling boulders, collecting gems and avoiding scary enemies with Rockford for 30 years, but time flies – and you will, too, in action-puzzler “Boulder Dash 30th Anniversary Premium,” which has 240 levels and physics galore. And, basketball fans – be sure to install NCAA March Madness Live app, free from the Windows Store and Windows Phone Store, before the tournament starts Tuesday.

Weekend Reading, games
“Disney Infinity 2.0: Play Without Limits”

This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we introduced the thinnest desktop set Microsoft has ever created.

hardware, Weekend Reading
The new Microsoft Designer Bluetooth Desktop wirelessly pairs to your laptop or tablet.

Thanks for checking out this edition of Weekend Reading. Rest up, relax and breathe. And we’ll see you next Friday!

Posted by Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff

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