Austin, TX (13 February 2007) – ATDF, the nanoelectronics R&D foundry, and the Austin Community College District (ACC) are offering online applications for the summer session of the Nanoelectronic Workforce Development Initiative (NWDI) – an internship program for college students interested in nanotechnology.
Already in its third class of interns, NWDI was launched in March 2006 to provide training in nanotech R&D at ATDF’s leading-edge, Austin fab to 160 Texas students in two-year technical, undergraduate, and graduate studies. The program, funded with a state grant and jointly administered by ACC and ATDF’s parent company SEMATECH, has welcomed 72 NanoScholars so far from The University of Texas campuses at Austin and Dallas, University of Houston, University of North Texas, Texas State University, St. Edwards University, TSTC-Harlingen and ACC.
Students interested in the summer session, which begins June 4, are invited to visit www.austincc.edu/nanotech or www.sematech.org/research/nwdi for more information and the opportunity to apply for one of three paid training periods:
Graduating interns describe NWDI experience as a boost to their career preparation. University of Texas intern Cynthia Burham said the program enhanced her understanding and practical skills in the nanotech fields of device physics, thin film fabrication, and interface analysis. “I’ve also been able to interact with interdisciplinary teams, including SEMATECH engineers and assignees who are experts in cutting-edge technologies," she said.
“Good workforce education is ultimately about arming students with the training and skills they need to get good jobs,” said Dr. Hector Aguilar, chair of the ACC District Electronics and Advanced Technologies Department. “This internship allows students to significantly increase their knowledge and skill sets through hands-on participation on real nano-industry projects."
Working technologists at ATDF likewise have benefited. “One of the interns assisted in performance and quality improvements on one of our most critical front-end tools, while another became an extra hand in process development projects,” said Dave Dyer, an ATDF technical manager.
Dyer added, “Our overwhelming collective consensus is that the program has been a great success. We have enjoyed a significant advantage to our operations by having the interns here. And we believe the interns have realized great value as well.”
Peter Marrone, SEMATECH’s project manager for NWDI, said NanoScholars show an average grade point average of 3.4, far above the program’s 2.7 prerequisite GPA. He cites the stipends and real-world learning opportunities as important lures for these high-quality students.
“All interns are trained in basic environmental, health and safety standards and procedures,” he said. “Additionally, we provide training on cleanroom protocol, standard operating procedures, and manufacturing execution systems for the assigned project areas, along with appropriate tool and process certifications.”
After initial training, the nanoscholars work with their manager or mentors on equipment and projects specific to their assigned technical area. “To date, the program has been a great success, with the students doing an excellent job,” Marrone said.
ATDF is where semiconductor manufacturers, equipment and materials suppliers, universities and other high-tech firms from around the world come to perform cutting-edge research and development. ATDF engineers develop baseline processes that bring new tools and materials to manufacturing at reduced cost. With ATDF's highly customized development activities, customers have access to the processes, electrical data and equipment necessary to bring products to market-fast. Because ATDF helps set the roadmap for future technologies, it is able to offer next-generation technology today. More information can be found at www.atdf.com.