Regina Catholic Education Center students will hear all about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) on Friday. They won’t be in class, though — they’ll be listening to someone who was once like them.
Mike Foley, former executive director of Bluetooth Special Interest Group Inc., graduated from the Iowa City school in 1982. The Redmond, Wash., resident has returned to Iowa to accept one of the Regina Foundation’s two Distinguished Alumni awards.
Foley and this year’s seven other Regina alumni honorees are scheduled to attend a 5:30 p.m. reception at the school as well as the evening’s homecoming football game against Cardinal Middle-Senior High School. The event is not open to the public.
Recipients don’t always address students, but administrators made the offer to Foley because of his academic and professional background.
“It was a unique choice this year,” said April Rouner, executive director of the foundation. “STEM is such a curriculum emphasis statewide and nationally that to have someone of Foley’s prominence to receive this award … we wanted to give the teachers and the students the opportunity to hear from him.”
Foley studied electrical engineering at the University of Iowa and Arizona State University. Before his time at Bluetooth SIG, he worked as a wireless architect for Microsoft.
Despite that subject-specific education and experience, Foley said that he plans to keep his remarks to Regina’s students much broader.
“I’ll touch on (STEM), but I do want to give something that’s more inspirational to all the students because not all of them in the room are going to pursue a career in the science, technology, engineering and math areas,” said Foley, who now works with start-ups as an independent consultant. “Even if you’re not an engineer, STEM comes into lots of other aspects of life as well.”
In the three decades since Foley graduated from Regina, technology has changed considerably, he said. Foley forecasted that the pace of change will accelerate for Regina’s current learners, and they’ll need to be aware of it regardless of their involvement.
“Technology is so embedded, whether it’s how you watch TV, whether you use a DVR or stream it for the web, technology is changing the TV industry,” he said, by way of example. “Even if you’re not the engineer creating the technology, you’re a consumer using it.”