TITLE: Director of Global Strategic Initiatives
FUNDING AREAS: STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education, with an emphasis on girls, women, and the underserved
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IP TAKE: McAllister is an engineer with an MBA and accreditation as a business coach and facilitator. In her latest role in a long career with Intel, she oversees grantmaking with an emphasis on STEM education for the underserved.
PROFILE: Having great mentors is what first led Barbara McAllister into a career in engineering, and deciding to become a mentor to others early in her career is what made her into a better engineer, she said during one interview. Ever since, McAllister has worked to balance her interests in science and business, while continuing to coach and support others.
Now approaching nearly two decades at Intel Corporation, she's had the opportunity to serve all of these interests, currently overseeing grants for science education among underrepresented communities. McAllister is director of global strategic initiatives at the microchip giant's Intel Foundation, which primarily involves coordinating grant initiatives that support STEM education for girls, women, and underserved youth, as well as encouraging those populations to pursue careers in the fields.
McAllister is personally familiar with the importance of having support at an early age. She was the youngest of eight siblings, most of whom are in STEM-related careers, and their example and mentoring when she was young were crucial to her entering the field of engineering, she told the blog STEMinist.
As she entered college, she became a mentor for younger students herself, a role that she found not only rewarding but also beneficial for her own skills and career. She has continued to be a coach to others while pursuing her own career.
After earning a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and an MBA, both at the University of South Carolina, McAllister worked jobs in engineering for about seven years. In 1997 she joined Intel, where she would work in a variety of roles before starting her current position at the foundation.
One of her formative jobs with Intel involved moving with her family to Costa Rica to help establish and oversee facilities for a new manufacturing plant. Then, for seven years, she served as an in-house business consultant, improving the performance of various projects and departments.
Along the way, she became certified with the International Association of Facilitators and the International Coach Federation, associations that promote supporting and assisting businesses and staff. All of this makes her a great fit for her position in awarding grants for the education and guidance of young people looking to get involved in science and engineering.
The Intel Foundation grants about $45 million each year. Part of the foundation's purpose is to coordinate with the company's employee volunteers to aid the communities where the business operates, but it mostly funds STEM education. This focus involves science talent competitions, science and engineering fairs and tournaments, and various other contests for bright young minds, whether put on by Intel or partner organizations. The foundation supports teachers with programs like the Intel Educator Academy, a gathering to share STEM education best practices, and also gives out undergraduate research grants with an emphasis on women and minorities. But the foundation gives hundreds of grants a year, ranging from a few thousand into the millions, to anything from museums, universities, college funds, and K-12 school districts.