10 Reasons that Companies Believe in the Power of SEMI High Tech U

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10 Reasons that Companies Believe in the Power of SEMI High Tech U

By Lisa Anderson, Vice President, SEMI Industry Workforce Development

1. Technology is the Future

Technology is the future, but often students and teachers do not make the critical connection between the classroom and the real world of high tech.

In 2009, the SEMI High Tech U™ (HTU) worked with 416 students, 85 teachers, and 39 sponsors in five countries to make that connection. To date, over 3,100 students and teachers have completed HTU. This program is important for three reasons:

  • For students and teachers: HTU provides a rare opportunity to connect with professionals working in high tech industries. The program keeps students connected with SEMI and each other through events and social networking for up to five years.
  • For sponsors: HTU provides a forum for sponsor representatives and higher learning institutions to meet and collaborate.
  • For educational entities: HTU helps connect students with local colleges and universities.

For eight years, the High Tech U program has educated students about high tech careers. The program gets students excited about the future and sets many of them on the path to joining tomorrow’s high tech workforce.

2. High Tech U is Effective

At a recent SEMI HTU reunion, 86 percent of HTU graduates reported that they are taking or are planning to take Science, Technology, Engineering Majors (STEM) in college as a result of HTU.

In 2009, 88 percent of HTU students revealed that HTU influenced their education and career choices; 71 percent of students with “undecided majors” now want to pursue a career in engineering; and 62 percent are taking more math, science and technology courses than originally planned.

For the past eight years, the SEMI Foundation has nurtured and developed the SEMI High Tech U industry-driven math and science-based career exploration program for high school-age students and teachers. In 2009, the SEMI Foundation granted 23 scholarships totaling over $25,000 to promising high school students.

3. Ah Ha!— Students “Make the Connection”

Students love the technology powering the electronic devices they rely on so heavily. But few make the connection between their iPod, cell phone, or PC and their future career choices. High Tech U changes that. In program after program, students experience magical “Ah ha!” moments. In those moments of understanding, the direction of lives changes, because students realize that not only is high tech cool but high tech can be a life-long passion and a rewarding career.

"The spontaneous, enthusiastic response I get from students keeps me coming back as a volunteer instructor. I can see that what I do is playing a role in shaping the future of many of our High Tech U students. Knowing this gives me a great sense of satisfaction."

Brad Houser
Automation Manager, Intel

"The enthusiastic feedback from earlier High Tech U programs we've sponsored convinced us that this was a program we'd like to take and run with…. we can customize the program to appeal to our young people and their teachers. This will help to raise the level of understanding of industry in schools, allowing participants to get a very real sense of the type of work we do."

Monika Kircher-Kohl
CEO, Infineon

"Teachers learned first-hand (at Intel and SolarWorld in Oregon) about technology developed and used locally by the semiconductor industry, and the contributions it makes to emerging fields like solar. Back in the classroom, this knowledge will help them share a more complete and exciting picture of career possibilities here in the local workforce."

Aubrey Clark
NW Region Education Manager, Intel

4. SEMI HTU Offers a Relevant Curriculum

High Tech U is usually three days long. The curriculum is continually revamped to ensure that it remains cutting edge, and relevant. This year, we introduced a new pilot module called “MEMS Counterfeiting” for teacher evaluation. HTU Curriculum includes:

  • Math and Measurement— The Statapult: The air is filled with hacky sacks as students learn how medieval technology relates to modern day chip making in a math and statistics exercise called “Statapult.” This module integrates numerous skills including reading graphs, estimation, process and quality control.

  • Atoms and Materials— Matter Matters: Through the use of batteries, light bulbs and salt water, students experiment to learn about conductivity and electricity. The module is linked together through a team game that tests their knowledge of the periodic table in a “Jeopardy” type setting.
  • Nanotechnology: Students view a quick five-minute video produced by the television show “Sunday Morning” to learn “How small is small?” and “What is nanotechnology?” They then participate in small group activities that link nanotechnology to their daily lives.
  • Electronics Devices: Students work with diodes, transistors and capacitors on a breadboard to learn how to store and transmit energy.
  • Gates & Human Calculator: Students learn about three kinds of gates (“and”, “or”, and “not” gates) to lay the foundation for playing the Human Calculator game. Then using a “feet-on” exercise like the game “Twister”, students try not to get tangled up as they simulate electron flow in microprocessors when binary numbers translate to decimals.
  • Working in Industry and Educational Pathways: Students learn about various educational and career pathways that can lead to exciting careers in the high-tech industry.
  • Preparing for a Behavioral Interview: Students learn how to prepare for, and participate in an interview. Human Resource professional(s) lead students through the ins and outs of a behavioral interview – sharing why an interviewer learns more through open-ended questions than through “yes” or “no” questions.
  • Mock Interview Sessions: Students prepare for the “real world” by sharpening their job interviewing skills through one-on-one mock interviews with real hiring professionals in the semiconductor industry.
    You can view some of these HTU activities at

5. Expanding Accomplishments are Impressive

  • HTU introduces students to the semiconductor and other high technology industries in a way that increases their knowledge and stimulates their interest. It’s a unique program that connects students, their teachers, industry leaders, and higher learning institutions. By any measure, 2009 was a great success:
  • Student programs: Thirteen student programs reaching 416 students were presented in five states and four countries.
  • Teacher programs: Three teacher programs— more than in any other year— were held in 2009. These programs reinforce the concepts that students learn at High Tech U. In most cases, continuing education unit (CEU) credits are available.
  • Social media presence: To improve communication with students and provide forums for staying in touch, High Tech U has established a social media presence on FaceBook, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
  • Geographic expansion: The SEMI Foundation expanded internationally, presenting a High Tech U Teacher Edition program sponsored by the ASML Foundation in Veldhoven, The Netherlands.

6. HTU Replicators (like Infineon Austria) Maximize Resource Use

To expand the reach of our High Tech U programs, we encourage sponsors to become replicators, taking responsibility for presenting programs with minimal assistance from Foundation staff. In 2010, Infineon, Soitec and STMicroelectronics will be replicators, joining the Maricopa Advance Technology Education Center.

7. Staying in Touch with HTU Students is Key

One of the strengths of SEMI HTU is that it stays in touch with students, encouraging them to stay on the college math and science track. The Foundation schedules periodic alumni reunions to help continue the momentum of High Tech U. Alumni events include student networking opportunities and continuing education. The opportunity is also used to gather updates from students about their education plans, and obtain survey data that help track student progress.

During the January 2009 reunion at SEMI headquarters, James Plummer, Dean of Engineering and Professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University (front right) and Art Zafiropoulo, Ultratech CEO (front left), spoke to students.

Zafiropoulo welcomed the students, and Plummer discussed the 21st century attributes and skills that undergraduate students need to be successful in the engineering field, including creativity, good communication skills, global knowledge and experience, and an entrepreneurial outlook.


James Plummer (Dean of Engineering and Professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University) on front right, with Art Zafiropoulo (Ultratech CEO) on left, with students.

"Entrepreneurship is a mindset and outlook that shapes the way you see the world and the possibilities that it holds. It is born of a basic dissatisfaction with the status quo, and it is the courage to say to yourself, 'this could be better'."

James Plummer
Dean of Engineering and Professor of Electrical Engineering
Stanford University


At the summer reunion, High Tech U alumni toured the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. As part of the High Tech U program at Lam Research Corporation in June, students got the “inside scoop” about the college experience from HTU graduates and Lam scholarship recipients, and networked with them after the program. Over the summer, eleven students reconnected with the Foundation by volunteering as summer interns at SEMI headquarters and working at SEMICON West 2009.

"Interning at SEMI helped me leverage the volunteering and networking skills I learned at High Tech U. It was a great experience and it's a definite plus on my resume. High Tech U reinforced my interest in high tech, and now I'm a junior majoring in Engineering at Cal Poly."

Tony Zhang
SEMI Summer Intern
Cal Poly Engineering Student

Through events and activities, High Tech U strives to engage with students for five years after their High Tech U graduation — typically their sophomore year in high school to sophomore year in college. This allows students to continue their relationship with SEMI and sponsoring companies long after the three-day High Tech U program. Reconnection opportunities include activities such as tours, conferences, education workshops, and internships, in addition to social media venues.

8. Educators Are Enthusiastic about SEMI High Tech U

"High Tech U reaffirmed the relevance of what I do in the classroom:  preparing my students for high tech jobs. It opened my eyes to the wealth of resources that are available through the businesses in our own community. I had several students attend the High Tech U program last year and they came back fired up about engineering."

Carol Gaumond
Science and Engineering Teacher
Glencoe High School
Hillsboro, Oregon

"This is the best professional development program I have ever experienced in my 16 years of teaching."

Mark Kaercher
Math Teacher
Shaker High School
Latham, New York

"High Tech U is exactly the kind of hands-on, real world engagement students need to ignite that spark about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) careers. So many of our young people cannot comprehend how math and science are used in the work world and as a result, their interest in math and science rarely moves past the required courses in school. We are thrilled to have this opportunity for our youth and our community."

Brandi Stewart-Wood
Director of Strategic Initiatives
Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council

9. HTU Aligns with Sponsors’ Community Outreach Goals

SEMI HTU is viewed as an important program by a growing number of companies working in their local communities to help develop a high-tech workforce. For some, the work of the SEMI Foundation helps support their company’s mission and community service objectives. Others have a deep commitment to the idea of helping expand possibilities for young people. No matter what the reason, all agree that SEMI HTU is an important endeavor that deserves their continued support.

10. HTU Sponsorship Base is Growing— including these Sponsors

Sponsors include: Advantest, Air Products, Applied Materials, ASML Trust, Avnet, Computer History Museum, Dai Nippon Screen, DNS Ebara, FH Kärnten, Honeywell, Hatakeyama Foundation, Hitachi Chemical, Hitachi High Technologies, Honeywell, Horiba STEC, HSBC, Infineon, Infotonics, Intel, JEITA, Lam Research Corporation, NEC Electronics, NYSUT (New York State Union of Teachers), Pitney Bowes, Selete, SEMI Japan, SEMI Pacific Northwest Steering Committee, Soitec, SolarWorld, Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council, SRP, STMicroelectronics, Suzuden, Taiyo Nissan, Tokyo Electron (TEL), SuperPower, Underwriters Laboratories Inc., WIRED, Work Systems Inc.

Educational sponsors include: Arizona State University Polytechnic, Arizona State University Skysong, Clark College (Vancouver, WA), Estrella Mountain Community College (Avondale, AZ), INPG (Grenoble, France), Mission College (Santa Clara, CA), Portland Community College (OR), San Jose State University, University of Rochester (NY).

In addition to underwriting by High Tech U program sponsors, the Foundation received two generous donations from individuals — $100,000 from SEMI Board Chairman J.C. Kim, Representative Director and Chairman, Edwards Korea Limited, and a $25,000 gift of Ultratech stock that was presented by Art Zafiropoulo, Chairman, CEO and President, Ultratech.

Here’s How You Can Help the SEMI Foundation and SEMI High Tech U

High Tech U cannot “make the connection” between the classroom and the real world of high tech without your support. We welcome your financial contributions, which help support the activities of the SEMI Foundation, including the Foundation’s scholarships and High Tech U programs for high school students and teachers. We are extremely grateful to the individuals, companies and organizations that support the Foundation and HTU.

Because the SEMI Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization, all contributions are tax-deductible for U.S. tax reporting. If you wish to make a contribution, please make checks payable to SEMI Foundation, and mail to:

SEMI Foundation
3081 Zanker Road
San Jose, CA 95134

Donors are invited also to consider planned giving opportunities such as a charitable trust or corporate stock donations.

For more information, please contact:
Website: www.semi.org/foundation
Email: semifoundation@semi.org
Phone: 1.408.943.7860

January 5, 2010