Student engineers shine in diverse settings

Over the past few years, the electronics industry has done a lot to create more excitement for students who are interested in technology. That really came to my attention last week, when I got a personal feel for the magnanimous efforts of volunteers who make these student projects possible.

In San Diego, three university students got to tout their technology efforts on the show floor at APEX EXPO 2012. IPC highlighted the efforts of students who have done sophisticated work in packaging and interconnects. The three winning teams detailed their efforts during a 90-minute Buzz Session.

The papers describe the diversity of research that’s going on in university settings. Loc Nguyen of San Jose State University described his Measurement Study for Cross Section versus X-Ray Inspection of solar components. Joseph Flanagan of Purdue University provided solid information on Low Temperature Lead-Free Assembly via Transient Liquid Phase Sintering. Iowa State University student Tim Pearson described his work on Solder Joint Workmanship Criteria Investigation for Components with Castellated Solder Joint Configurations

These award winners got a free trip to San Diego, not a bad reward for doing your homework. More importantly, they got to rub shoulders with industry experts who attended the session, as well as interactions they had on the show floor or in technical sessions. That’s a pretty impressive payback for many hours spent in labs.

At the high school level, my grandnephew went quite a ways in the FIRST Robotics Competition up in Oregon. I’ve seen a couple FIRST competitions, and have come away extremely impressed with the quality of the robots these high schoolers build. Anyone who attends has to be equally impressed with the dedication of the electronics professionals who mentor the students and organize the events.

Even the teams that come in last place learn a lot and have a great time. Quincy’s Sammamish High School team from Bellevue, Wash., finished in the top third in Portland and carried away the Creativity Award. Pretty cool stuff.

These are only a few of the programs set up to help generate and maintain interest in science, technology, engineering and math. They’re important efforts for the future of this industry. Not to mention that for the students who participate, and for the judges who get to rub shoulders with the, it’s just plain fun.

The student papers presented at IPC APEX EXPO are part of the conference proceedings. They will be available at no charge in the IPC members only section of the IPC website and available in the IPC online store as soon as the final review of all papers and presentations is complete.

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