I view education as an insurance policy. A degree is one of the few assets one carries that identifies one’s achievements. I believe in continuous lifetime learning. I am currently enrolled in a doctorate program for no reason other than I want to learn and exchange ideas with fellow peers and professionals globally. Life takes you in different directions, and surrounding yourself with people you can learn from might direct your path in areas you never dreamed would occur.

Studies continue to validate that college graduates, in general, enjoy a higher lifetime earning potential than high school graduates. From a business perspective, the net present value of college graduate lifetime earnings far exceeds the educational costs. Education correlates to the economic success of developing countries. Countries with better-educated citizens enjoy better health and even reduced infant mortality.

Turning to the issue of gender, women continue to earn substantially less than their male counterparts do at all education levels. Women in technical positions earn more than women in other roles, but still almost 10 percent less than their male counterparts. In the area of STEM, women still comprise only about 25 percent of the enrolling students. I graduated as a mechanical engineer approximately 20 years ago. I am stunned that the STEM classrooms today still do not have more women.

Education drives innovation through advanced research. It has proven to improve advancement potential. Companies can help by encouraging continuous education or tuition reimbursement. Governments can encourage enrollment in the STEM fields through incentives. An unfortunate trend of differential tuition or charging more tuition for particular programs of study has occurred. I believe the opposite should occur. Universities should be held accountable for delivering employable, sustainable graduates to the workforce. Encouraging enrollment in STEM programs and tailoring all programs with a math-based emphasis would drive an employable workforce.

Education relies on talented teachers in the classrooms. Studies have shown that the teacher talent correlates to student performance. Teachers serve as role models and trusted guides to a student. I had teachers who were there for me at turning points in my life. Teachers spend more time with students than parents do and the role they play should not be taken lightly. Having superstars in the classroom is what the children of tomorrow deserve.