A SEMI High Tech U Graduate Sounds Off

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A SEMI High Tech U Graduate Sounds Off

SEMI® High Tech U™ (HTU) has reached thousands of students across the U.S., as well as other countries. Many students that participated in the early versions of the program are now in college, pursuing math, science and technology-based degree programs. Some students, like Claudia Musick, found that her involvement with High Tech U kept her motivated through some really rough times. In fact, she says that it “completely raised my standards in life.”

Let’s look at how Claudia got involved in High Tech U. In January 2006, Claudia was a high school sophomore in Jones Farm, Oregon. She had just transferred to Aloha High School in Beaverton, Oregon. Soon, Claudia was approached by teacher Sylvia Barajas-Everson about the special SEMI High Tech U “All Latino” program—which was hosted by Intel (and key partners Portland Gas and Electric, SEMI Northwest Steering Committee, and Portland Community College).

“I was ecstatic! I felt lucky that I had switched high schools, since Aloha High School was the only school in the Beaverton School District to be invited,” explains Musick. “I had never been inside Intel, and just thinking about the people I would meet there, made me [excited].”

One of her fondest memories was during the last day of the program. “It was the last day in High Tech U when we had a job fair, and mock interviews,” said Musick. “At the time, I was only 15, about to turn 16, and had never had an actual job, let alone an interview for one. I think that the mock interviews were really helpful because instead of just learning how to answer question during an interview, we had the opportunity to try it!”

During the final day of the program, students also listened to a presentation from a local Portland Community College representative, who spoke about educational and career options as well as tuition issues.

After the High Tech U program was over, Claudia remained engaged and interested. Shortly later, she learned about a program called the Beaverton Early College High School Program, which allows students to attend college while finishing high school. She decided to apply and was accepted for the following fall—the beginning of her Junior year in high school. About that time, she found out that she was pregnant, with a due date just before she was to begin college.

In addition to a heavy school schedule and pregnancy, Claudia has remained involved with HTU, through the periodic alumni reunions, and by maintaining an ongoing relationship with program mentor, Marcelo Spagnolo, a project manager at Intel. At one of the more recent gatherings, she learned about a program called Business Education Compact (BEC), which arranged internships for students.

“I didn’t quite know what [the BEC] was about, but I was ready to try something new,” said Musick. “I went online and checked out the BEC website, and they had so many internships! She continues, “Most were with Intel, although there were also other companies that were available, so I filled out an application.”

A few weeks later, Claudia received a call to interview with Intel, at the campus she attended High Tech U. Shortly after, she was offered an internship as a Lab Support Technician, a position that she still holds.

When asked what advice she would give students who might be interested in participating in HTU, Claudia replied “This is truly great program; it completely raised my standards in life. It excites me to see kids that want a better future, and that they care about what becomes of their lives. Whatever career path they may choose they have already made the first step toward it, just by being in HTU. This program opened so many doors for me, and continues to do so with every day that passes.”

At present, Claudia is working to complete her high school diploma, and plans to transfer to Portland State University as a third-year student in the Fall with a double major in Accounting and International Business.

To date, there have been 14 HTU programs in Oregon, as well as two alumni reunions, reaching over 350 high school-aged students. Looking forward, the future of HTU in Oregon is bright as the SEMI Foundation is now signing up sponsors for a SEMI High Tech U, Teachers Edition, this fall.

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.