A Middle East First: Emirate of Abu Dhabi Sends Students to SEMI High Tech U


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A Middle East First: Emirate of Abu Dhabi Sends Students to SEMI High Tech U

Calling it a strategic investment in Abu Dhabi’s high-tech future, the Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC), which is wholly owned by the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, recently sent 50 high school students to Singapore to participate in SEMI High Tech U. The program, held November 29 through December 1, was presented by the nonprofit SEMI Foundation, and organized by ATIC. It was the first time students from the Middle East have participated in High Tech U.

“Establishing a thriving research and innovation advanced technology ecosystem in Abu Dhabi relies on the commitment of a highly skilled and well-rounded workforce,” said ATIC executive director Sami Issa. “SEMI High Tech U is an important component in ATIC’s strategy of investing in development of the future talent necessary to bring the ecosystem to life. We are delighted to have partnered with SEMI to make this fantastic experience available to students from the Middle East for the very first time.”

The 11th and 12th grade students (25 girls, 25 boys) were accompanied by their parents and a group of teachers who also participated in a program of activities designed to improve their awareness of advanced technology and the semiconductor industry. For parents, it was an opportunity to develop an understanding of the strategically important advanced technology industry, and the role their children can play in the industry’s development in Abu Dhabi. For teachers it was an opportunity to expand their knowledge and ensure that the High Tech U curriculum will be supported in classrooms back home.

The three-day program introduced students to high tech through an engaging series of presentations and fun hands-on workshops and experiments that demonstrate semiconductor-manufacturing concepts and explain microchip logic. Hosting entities AMD, Applied Materials, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, and Singapore Polytechnic provided funding, classroom facilities and/or volunteer instructors.

According to Sagar Al Mannai, United Arab Emirates Academy, the program was a “titanic endeavor” that achieved the goals that had been established at the outset. “High Tech U was invaluable in developing the participants’ knowledge and awareness about the industry, the various educational practices and pathways that lay ahead of them, as well as the chance to get practical experience working hands on in engaging and rewarding activities,” he said. Al Mannai accompanied the group as an educational liaison and translator.

Day one of the program was hosted at GLOBALFOUNDRIES. Activities included sessions on career pathways and the worlds of chemistry and electronics, followed by a tour of GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ chip manufacturing facility. During the second day, hosted at Applied Materials and Singapore Polytechnic, students engaged in hands-on lab sessions focusing on wafer processing and solar cells — and even built a solar-powered car. On the final day, hosted by AMD, students attended classes on careers and college entry, followed by a series of lessons on applications of advanced technologies, particularly solar power, to global challenges.

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Peter Goerigk, a Singapore-based GLOBALFOUNDRIES senior manager, called his stint as a volunteer instructor an “encouraging experience.” He remembers several students stopping by at the closing dinner celebration to ask him and a number of his fellow volunteer instructors to have a picture taken with them. “Together we must have made the memorable impression on them — just as we had hoped,” he said.

SEMI High Tech U is an international industry-driven math- and science-based career exploration program that over the past nine years has been presented 113 times to 3,725 students and teachers in Austria, France, Japan, Singapore, The Netherlands and United States.

“Over the years, we have demonstrated that our program’s ability to help young people make the connection between classroom studies and rewarding careers in high tech knows no regional or international boundaries,” said SEMI Foundation vice president Lisa Anderson. “We’re delighted that these students, their parents and teachers from the Emirate of Abu Dhabi were able to participate. Hopefully, they returned home with new insight into the exciting possibilities presented by careers in high tech.”

Programs like High Tech U are only possible with your support. The Abu Dhabi program was generously supported by ATIC with additional support by AMD, Applied Materials, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, and Singapore Polytechnic. If you would like information about how to become a sponsor of High Tech U, please contact Lisa Anderson at landerson@semi.org.

January 5, 2011