High Tech U Wraps Up a Year of Firsts

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SEMI High Tech U Wraps up a Year of Firsts

2007 was a breakthrough year for the SEMI Foundation’s High Tech U program, which enjoyed many “firsts.” Among the highlights were the first HTU programs held in Europe and Japan the introduction of biotechnology and solar cell manufacturing sessions to the curriculum and the appointment of Maricopa Advanced Technology Education Center as the first official replicator of HTU programs in New Mexico and Arizona.

In addition to the above accomplishments, the SEMI Foundation also held its first focus group with HTU alumni in the Silicon Valley to discuss the current program, and develop suggestions on how to improve the program’s content and curriculum.

Since the inception of HTU six years ago, the program has gone through myriad changes, each designed to better address and educate students on new trends and issues in the semiconductor manufacturing industry. Key to the program’s ongoing success has been the tight integration between the SEMI Foundation, the industry and the education community. Also integral to the program are the many companies and individuals who took an active role in the program by sponsoring events, and donating resources and funds that enabled the SEMI Foundation to not only sustain, but grow the program, and ultimately reach a larger number of students. New hosting sponsors in 2007 included Soitec, STMicroelectronics in France, Sony and Tokyo Electron Ltd. in Japan, and Salt River Project in Arizona.

“When we were looking at how to expand the program, we realized that the true challenge was more than convincing companies to provide financial support, since there is so much more to it than that,” reflects Lisa Anderson, vice president of the SEMI Foundation. “While financial support is absolutely essential, the long-term viability of the program requires companies to actually engage the program on a more personal level by making their campuses available for HTU classes, encouraging employees to help teach the classes and assisting with ongoing curriculum development.”

Anderson also notes the importance of the program’s higher learning partners—community colleges, state colleges and universities. “Many of these institutions have microelectronics labs, and are willing to open these up to students for tours and technology demonstrations,” she said. “We have been very fortunate to have had the support of numerous prestigious higher learning centers, and that support helps keep the HTU program vibrant and exciting for our students

Even with all of the tools, sponsors and the overall experience students receive during the program, maintaining relationships is of equal importance as former participants begin college, determine majors, graduate, and ultimately join the workforce.

“One of the keys to the success of HTU is its focus on students after they attend the program,” said Jerry Coder, chairman of the SEMI Foundation. “We believe that by staying in touch, we can help sustain and grow their interest in the idea of pursuing high tech careers

To that end, the SEMI Foundation has been holding HTU graduate reunions and reconnection activities in Silicon Valley and Portland for the past several years, and in 2007, it held the first of such reunions for alumni in Arizona and Idaho. Many of our HTU grads are completing engineering degress and ready to enter the workforce.

SEMI High Tech U is an industry-driven math and science-based career exploration program for high school students and teachers.

For more information, or to become a sponsor of SEMI High Tech U programs, please visit www.semi.org/foundation.