Brown EDGE Scholars make visits to industry semiconductor plants

Micron EDGE group

Five Brown University students, as part of the newly launched Education for Diversification and Growth in Engineering (EDGE) Scholars program, made visits to Micron Technology in Boise, Idaho and GlobalFoundries in Essex Junction, Vermont during the past few weeks to view state-of-the-art semiconductor fabrication facilities. More than 30 Brown students have signed up to be EDGE scholars, and are eligible to take advantage of planned visits like these, and coach-mentor relationships sponsored by the EDGE consortium.

The EDGE Consortium is made up of women presidents and deans of engineering from the nation’s leading research universities and schools of engineering including Brown University, Dartmouth College, Indiana University, University of California-Berkeley, University of Rochester, the University of Washington, and the Olin College of Engineering. They work collaboratively to transform semiconductor-related education to be more accessible and aligned with industry workforce needs. Its intention is to double the number of women and historically marginalized groups in semiconductor and semiconductor related jobs. To deliver on this promise, the EDGE Scholars program will be a cross-sector network providing the educational and professional support needed to help students realize there is a place for everyone in STEM, including them.

“Visits like these help students discover more about the semiconductor industry,” said Brown’s Sorensen Family Dean of Engineering Tejal Desai. “The Scholars program was launched in partnership with leading tech companies across the nation to provide students with industry specific career development opportunities.

“Bearing witness to successful individuals doing their everyday work, especially engineers who may come from underrepresented backgrounds, allows students to see themselves in similar roles, and to visualize the ways they, too, will one day shape the future of semiconductors.”

Brown President Christina H. Paxson and Desai were among the 13 signatories of an open letter calling on universities to help meet the U.S. Commerce Secretary’s semiconductor workforce goals by preparing more women and people of color to enter the field.

The EDGE Consortium recognizes that the goals of the CHIPS and Science Act – to boost U.S. competitiveness, innovation and national security in the global semiconductor landscape – won’t be achieved unless historically marginalized groups are included from the start, so EDGE is committed to doubling the number of industry-ready women and people of color for semiconductor-related careers. The scholars program has about 170 registered students in its inaugural year. 

Katerina Nguyen ’27 (computer science) and Nicholas Lee ’26 (mechanical engineering) were among 14 students who visited the Micron Plant in Boise on Feb. 26. The students were given an in-depth tour of the existing manufacturing facility, which is the only fabrication facility for DRAM — a type of semiconductor memory chip — in North America. The group also met with talent acquisition staff, the company’s vice president and chief inclusion diversity officer Fran Dillard, leading engineers, several of whom are women, and Micron Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer April Arnzen.

“Visiting Micron in person was an incredible opportunity that offered me invaluable insights into the world of engineering and its profound impact on society,” said Nguyen. “Hearing about Micron’s future projects underscored the limitless potential for technological advancements through engineering.”

In January, Katrina Truong ’26 (mechanical engineering), Kexin Wang A.M.’24 (design engineering) and Will Sung Sc.M. ’24 (computer engineering) visited GlobalFoundries Fab 9 facility in Vermont. The day featured presentations focused on GF’s culture, community, career opportunities, a tour of the fab, and a “Day in the Life of a GF Engineer” panel intended to energize students about the semiconductor industry. 

Sung said, “It was an amazing experience to talk with some of the people working at GF, especially with the new hires. The fab tour was very interesting and well organized.”