Athellina mentors for TechWomen

The year 2014 marks the forth year CSR’s Athellina Athsani has been participating in the STEM program known as TechWomen. TechWomen empowers, connects, and supports the next generation of women leaders in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) from Africa and the Middle East by pairing them with Silicon Valley female technologists and entrepreneurs. Athellina, Director of Strategic Planning, who is based in the San Jose office, is matched with Sherin Abdel Hamid [pictured left] from Egypt as a cultural mentor. Sherin is a PhD candidate at Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada with a research focus on intelligent transportation systems (ITS); she’s also an Assistant Lecturer at Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt. The role of the cultural mentor is to facilitate activities showcasing American work, lifestyle and culture. During the 5-week program, Athellina and Sherin spent time discussing career paths and wireless technology advances, while also finding time to enjoy sightseeing and the sampling the diversity of local cuisine.

Figure1TechWomen is an initiative of the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). Launched in 2011 by Hillary Clinton, the former Secretary of State, TechWomen supports America’s commitment toward advancing the rights and participation of women and girls around the world by enabling them to reach their full potential in the tech industry. Through mentorship and exchange, TechWomen strengthens participants’ professional capacity, increases mutual understanding between key networks of professionals, and expands girls’ interest in STEM careers by exposing them to female role models.

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CSR and STEMNET – Inspiring the next generation of engineers

There has been much talk of the ‘skill shortage’ that is going to face companies that require graduates with skills in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects. CSR is working with STEMNET, which is a UK organisation that creates links between employers and educators with the aim of tackling the STEM skills shortage. STEMNET believe that by enthusing young people about STEM, employers can help to develop the creativity, problem-solving and employability skills of young people and widen the understanding and awareness of STEM careers with the next generation of UK employees.

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CSR Cambridge is planning to attend a large STEM Fair at Duxford in 2015 to run a workshop which will involve writing Python code on a Raspberry Pi to interact with CSR’s SiRF Star V GNSS chip. Work has started to build the hardware required to run this workshop and a first draft of the workshop has been completed. CSR used some of the current crop of graduates as guinea pigs to road test the workshop and hardware.

The conclusion of the workshop saw students outside the Cambridge CSR HQ with the battery powered Raspberry Pi’s using the GPS to measure the distance between known points.stem3

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Rosh Hashanah fund-raiser

Rosh Hashanah 2To celebrate the Jewish new year holiday season (Rosh Hashanah), CSR Haifa held a fund-raiser for the purchase of food packages for families in need. On Thursday, 18th of September, CSR employees transported food parcels to the homes of those families. In addition, CSR Haifa held an on-site blood donation session during which some 70 units of blood were collected.

On Sunday morning (21st of September) a holiday toast was held in a packed “CSR Haifa Café” – the on-site dining room was transformed into a coffee house, breakfast was served, and Zeev, the office leader, greeted employees and their families, wishing them a successful new year, personal and businesswise.Rosh Hashanah 4Rosh Hashanah 3

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Frank walks 5th Komen for cancer research

Komen-day-1-cityThe unstoppable Frank McSorley (CSR Burlington) joined this year’s Susan G. Komen 3-Day® Philadelphia event (12-14 September 2014), one of a number of 60-mile sponsored walks around the USA. (The Philly event has so far raised $3 million). Frank also walked 40 miles in Boston back in May in aid of the same breast cancer research charity. (Only four members of Frank’s “Men with Heart” team could make the trip to Philadelphia, so the team joined Pennsylvannian “Team Breast Friends” who graciously allowed the men to wear their distinctive yellow shirts). Frank raised $4860 over both these walks; CSR donated $1000 towards his endeavours. Thanks to sponsors, more people are getting tested earlier, but more importantly, more are surviving. Further donations can be made here: http://info.avonfoundation.org/goto/frankmcs

Komen-day-2-group Komen-day-3-finishingHere’s Frank’s recap of his 60-mile journey:

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CSR Cambridge donates laptops for Veterans Charity

The Veterans Charity was founded in 2008 and focuses on providing fast, direct support to UK Veterans of all generations who may be facing hardship and crisis.

There are many factors that can influence such difficulties including physical and/or mental injury and obtaining essential items that we all take for granted can take a great deal of time, often resulting in decreasing mental and physical health.

Martin Copland, Communications Manager at CSR Cambridge, recently visited the site of the D-Day landings on a private trip to France and bumped into the CEO of the Veterans Charity, Danny Greeno. He was immediately impressed with their operation and their claim that they get rid of the “red tape” in helping veterans as quickly as possible and without giving them money. Instead they are focussed on providing basic items such as shopping, TV’s, mobile phones and laptops. The veterans have usually found the transition between leaving the forces and civilian life extremely difficult and are facing hardship of some nature. The items that the charity can give them, help get them back on their feet and on the journey to becoming self-sufficient on civvy street..

Martin  wondered how CSR might be able to help under their social responsibility programme and talked to the IS Department about reconditioned laptops. They were able to supply six of these for the Veterans Charity and load them with a full suite of services to assist them with their day to day lives.

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Team CSR completes Pan-Mass Challenge

Team CSR rode in the 35th annual Pan-Mass Challenge bike-a-thon to support adult and pediatric cancer care at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. CSR Burlington’s Mary Alice McParlane (4 time rider) and Art Weeks (3 time rider) joined approximately 5800 other riders and 3000 volunteers in a common goal of raising over $40 million. Thanks to the generosity of CSR and many sponsors they were able to raise nearly $10,000. (Donations can still be made to support this great causes: Mary Alice McParlane; Art Weeks).

Art Weeks at the Finish Line Mary Alice McParlane at the Finish LineArt writes: “This year the route took riders from the starting point at Babson College in Wellesley to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro (home of the New England Patriots). From there we made our way back to Wellesley along a route that felt like a climb all the way. Who knew there were so many hills? In total we covered 47 miles on the bike in mostly overcast and rainy conditions. Almost on cue the sun made an appearance as we crossed the finish line…”

The experience left both riders wanting more and plans have already started to tackle the more challenging 163 mile two-day ride next year. Thank you to everyone for the tremendous level of support this year!

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Party for Leo Baeck after-school group

Leo Baeck logoEmployees of CSR Haifa recently organised a wonderful Bar Mitzva coming-of-age party for one of the boys attending a local after-school day care center. (This July also marks the 13th anniversary of the company’s association with this particular Leo Baeck center). In the Jewish religion, reaching the age of 13 marks the transition into adulthood and is usually celebrated by holding a Bar Mitzva party.

This epic party took place in the dining room of CSR Haifa with the generous support of CSR volunteers. There was a fun atmosphere with plenty of refreshments and lively music from a DJ. The party-goers watched a personalized video and friends from the afterschool staged a short show. CSR also presented the young man with several ritual items that are of religious importance to him and his family.

The boy’s family – of Ethiopian descent – thanked CSR for organizing an unforgettable celebration. A tour of Jerusalem for the young man and his schoolmates is planned for the autumn.

 

 

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Anuj swims to Save The Bay

Save The Bay logoSave The Bay held its annual fundraiser swim on the 19th of July, 2014. CSR Burlington’s Anuj Sampat (pictured) took the plunge and raised over $400 [donation page]…

This annual swim supports the efforts of Save The Bay to protect and restore the Narragansett Bay region, a bay and estuary of unparalleled natural beauty on the north side of Rhode Island Sound. Nearly 500 plucky swimmers, aged between 15 and 77 years, swim the 1.7 nautical miles (~1.95 miles) across the Bay to raise money and awareness.

The swim started at 7:15am under slightly humid but otherwise perfect swimming conditions — sunny skies, almost no wind, and very little chop in the water. The water temperature was somewhere near the mid-70′s Fahrenheit, which was comfortable for swimming.

anuj-savethebayThough technically not a race, all swimmers received finishing times for their swim. CSR Burlington’s Anuj Sampat finished with a time of 54 minutes and 42 seconds for the nearly 2-mile stretch between the starting line in Newport, Rhode Island to the finish on the other side in Jamestown.

“The entire swim felt pretty strong and the backdrop of the Newport Bridge provided for an amazing view during the swim. Swimmers were greeted at the finish line with “Welcome to Jamestown” and lots of smiles.” said Anuj afterwards. “A big thank you to CSR for supporting this cause!”

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CSR Cambridge Team completes Tough Mudder

End of TM

On Saturday 12th July a nineteen-strong group of employees from CSR Cambridge spent a day running around in an extremely muddy field for 12 miles, with regular breaks (!) for tackling obstacles. The course featured twenty-five obstacles, all in all, which mainly consisted of jumping over things that were much too tall for them and jumping into muddy water that was much too deep for them. This ‘fun’ was also peppered with a bunch of other (arguably ill-advised) activities including jumping into a skip full of ice, being electrocuted – not once but TWICE – and launching themselves up a quarter-pipe ramp. This is otherwise known as completing the infamous Tough Mudder obstacle course.

Leanne Wood, a Paralegal in CSR and one of the plucky band of nineteen said “We can confirm that it was tough, and it was certainly muddy”.

She went on to say – that  “Joking aside, it was an incredibly fun day and we were lucky enough to all complete the course with only minor injuries – we all had just enough cuts and bruises to successfully show off that we had actually completed the course!  Whilst it was fun, and there were a lot of laughs to be had at each other’s expense, we were also running and climbing for a very good cause. Help for Heroes is a UK military charity that provides practical and financial support to our wounded soldiers and to the relatives of those that have been injured or lost a loved one. So far our team have raised over £2400 in support of this charity and that is something we are all really proud of!”

I am led to believe that rigorous training is already well underway for Tough Mudder 2015…

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CSR Bristol donates to Grand Appeal

grand-appeal-noteStaff at CSR Bristol recently donated £2000 to Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal, a local charity fundraising for the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St. Michael’s Hospital.

Sarah Vipond and Helen Haskill from the charity collected the cheque from CEO Joep van Beurden while he was in Almondsbury to officially open CSR’s new Bristol R&D centre.

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