Contacts: Di Saunders - Office: 503-725-5714; Cell: 503-807-5539

Source:    Gary Lietke, manager AeA scholarship program, OUS: 503-725-2922; cell: 503-230-4327

 Jennifer Bosze, executive director, AeA Oregon Council: 503-624-6050

 

College students, high tech leaders exchange internship/mentoring lessons 
Student winners of $1.36 million in AeA scholarships part of strategy to "grow our own" engineers and computer scientists in Oregon
 

CLICK HERE FOR ADDITION INFO: List of All Students and Locations; Fact Sheet on AeA Scholarship Recipients; 2003 AeA Scholarship Winners


PORTLAND, September 22 - Today at Intel's Jones Farm complex in Hillsboro, over 100 college students from across Oregon are joining with 60 high tech leaders to better understand how students can take advantage of corporate internships and mentoring by engineers and computer scientists. The students, ranging from freshman to seniors in college, are recipients of AeA Technology Scholarships that include a $10,000 award, a paid summer internship at a high tech company, and a mentoring relationship with an engineer or computer scientist. 

The new 2003 scholarship awards to twenty-five freshmen were sponsored by four high-technology corporations - Hewlett-Packard Company, InFocus Corporation, Intel Corporation, and Pixelworks, Inc. In past years, awards were also sponsored by Planar Systems, Xerox Office Printing Business, and ESI, Inc. "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, and one of the speakers at the event. "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."

Increasing the number of under-represented minority students and women in engineering and computer science fields is also a goal of the program. Almost one-third of the scholarship recipients are Latino, African-American, or Native American students, and one-third of awardees are women. The majority of students, just over three-fourths, attend Oregon State University, known for its top engineering programs that cover a broad spectrum of specialties. One-quarter of the students attend Portland State University, Oregon Institute of Technology, University of Oregon, and Southern Oregon University, all of which have strong computer science programs that attract students from across the state, from other parts of the country, and internationally. The competitive merit-based scholarships have been earned by students from almost every geographic region in Oregon.

John Harker, chairman, president and CEO of InFocus Corporation, addressed the students about their role in Oregon's high tech future. "With the constant advance of technology, the state will always need a large pool of talented Oregonians to become engineers and computer scientists. I encourage you to push yourself beyond your normal comfort zone and investigate doing more than you ever thought you could both in college and in your future career, because you are Oregon's future."

Stephen Pawlouski, Intel Corporation fellow and director of communications and Interconnect Technology Lab, also spoke at the event, noting, "Intel is proud to have initiated the scholarship program in 1999, which was adopted by AeA Oregon Council the next year. Since then, 136 scholarships valued at more than $1.36 million have been awarded through 2003-2004. That's a real commitment from Intel and Oregon's high tech sector to support our industry from inside the state by improving the number and caliber of graduates entering the field," he added. 

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 element 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 as a 10-year, multi-million dollar strategy to create job opportunities by growing an in-state high tech workforce through nationally ranked programs and faculty, and providing support for young people wishing to enter the field.

"Many of the best technology jobs in the state were going to employees that had to be brought in from outside our borders, not to Oregonians," said Richard Jarvis, chancellor of the Oregon University System, to the students and corporate members at the event. "While you are students today, soon you will be part of a strong foundation of engineers and scientists that will bolster Oregon's largest sector by filling top jobs and helping to strengthen and sustain our state economy," added Jarvis.

ETIC's investments in growing the state's technical professionals have reduced the cost of hiring from out-of-state, while providing opportunities to Oregonians. 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 Jarvis. 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.

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. The 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. AeA has been the accepted voice of the U.S. technology community since 1943. 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 on OUS, go to www.ous.edu; for information on ETIC go to http://www.oregonetic.org/; for information on AeA 2003 scholarship recipients and engineering and computer science efforts in Oregon go to http://www.oregonengineer.org/

 

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