Contacts: Di Saunders - Office: 503-725-5714; Cell: 503-807-5539 (until noon on June 19; thereafter         contact Diane Vines, vice chancellor - Office: 503-725-5707; Cell: 503-329-7356)
Sources: Gary Lietke, manager AeA technology scholarship program, OUS: 503-725-2922
Jennifer Bosze, executive director, AeA Oregon Council: 503-624-6050

25 High School Seniors Awarded a Quarter Million in Engineering 
Scholarships to Attend Oregon Universities
Four tech companies, AeA and Oregon University System help state "grow our own" engineers 

PORTLAND, June 18 - Twenty-five outstanding Oregon high school seniors have been named as the recipients of engineering and technology scholarships, enabling them to attend public universities in Oregon and participate in corporate mentoring and internship programs at some of the state's top technology companies. 

Four high-technology corporations - Hewlett-Packard Company, InFocus Corporation, Intel Corporation, and Pixelworks, Inc. - sponsored this year's AeA Technology Scholarship Awards which are administered by the Oregon University System (OUS). The students are eligible for an annual renewable scholarship of $2,500, or $10,000 over a 4-year period while enrolled at an OUS institution. In addition, a corporate mentor will be assigned to each student, and the scholarship recipients will be eligible for paid, summer internships. 

Intel Corporation initiated the scholarship program in 1999, and it was adopted by AeA Oregon Council the following year. Since then, 136 scholarships valued at more than $1.36 million have been awarded through 2003-2004. The first "class" of Intel scholarship winners graduated last week from Oregon State University, Portland State University and University of Oregon, with degrees in engineering and computer science. 

"The scholarship program is an industry response to encourage top Oregon high school students to attend college in the state, helping fill the local need for engineers and computer scientists in tech firms and other companies dependent on technology," said Jennifer Bosze, AeA Oregon Council executive director. Recipients of the scholarships come from cities and towns across the state, including Portland (4 students), Beaverton (3 students), Corvallis (2 students), Madras (2 students), Albany, Baker City, Canyon City, Clackamas, Depot Bay, Dexter, Hermiston, McMinnville, Monmouth, Nyssa, Salem, Scio, Springfield, and Sweet Home.

The 25 student scholarship recipients will be studying in the academic majors of mechanical, electrical, computer and chemical engineering, as well as chemistry and computer science. Nineteen of the students plan to attend OSU, 5 will attend PSU, and 1 student will go to the UO, all beginning this fall.

Historically, Oregon has ranked 49th in terms of the number of high-tech degrees awarded compared to the number of high tech employees in the state. The scholarship program is just one part of a larger effort begun by the Engineering and Technology Industry Council (ETIC) to double the number of engineering and computer science degrees by 2009. ETIC was established in 1997 by the Oregon Legislature through SB504. It is a 10-year investment strategy to create job opportunities for Oregonians by growing our own high tech workforce of engineers and computer scientists through nationally ranked programs and faculty, while also providing support for young people wishing to enter the field.

"Many of the best technology jobs in the state were going to employees imported from other states, not to Oregonians," said Robert Dryden, dean of PSU's College of Engineering and Computer Science. "The idea behind the scholarships is to encourage local students to pursue engineering and computer science degrees, and to grow the pool of groups previously underrepresented in these fields, such as women and ethnic minorities," added Dryden.

ETIC's investments in growing the state's technical professionals have reduced the cost of hiring from out-of-state, while providing opportunities to residents. These investments have also given confidence to companies considering Oregon as a base that there is an available pool of highly skilled workers ready to help them succeed. "The time and money required to import talent from out of state puts both existing and prospective companies at a disadvantage, leading some to consider other states besides Oregon," said Dryden. He noted that professionals hired from Oregon's colleges and universities are more likely to stay in Oregon as their skills grow, further benefiting our economy and stabilizing the pool of engineers and computer scientists.

"This program continues to grow in importance as a model for successful industry-academic partnerships," says Bruce Schafer, director of industry affairs for Oregon University System. "Exposing students to the academics on campus, the hands-on experience through an internship, and a mentor to help them learn the ropes is the best way to train young engineering professionals while also giving them real world experience." 

Advancing the business of technology, AeA is the nation's largest high-tech trade association, representing more than 3,000 companies with 1.8 million employees. AeA's members span the high-technology spectrum, from software, semiconductors, medical devices and computers to Internet technology, advanced electronics and telecommunications systems and services. With 17 regional U.S. councils and offices in Brussels and Beijing, AeA offers a unique global policy grassroots capability and a wide portfolio of valuable business services and products for the high-tech industry. AeA has been the accepted voice of the U.S. technology community since 1943. AeA's Oregon Council works to improve the visibility of the industry, keep industry executives abreast of trends, provide networking opportunities, and advocate the industry's position on public policy issues. For more information, contact AeA at 503-624-6050, or go to www.aeanet.org.

Oregon University System (OUS) comprises seven distinguished public universities, reaching more than one million people each year through on-campus classes, statewide public services and lifelong learning. For additional information, go to www.ous.edu.  



EDITORS NOTE: Click here to see a list of student names, hometowns, high school, corporate sponsor, university they will attend in the fall, and selected major.

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