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WSU to Create Intel-Driven Curriculum Programs

Physics | Emily Lewis | The Wright State Guardian

With a new facility in Licking County, Intel has released grants to institutions across the state to prepare students for potential career opportunities.

Intel’s investment

According to a press release from Intel, the company will spend more than $20 billion to build two chip factories in Ohio to facilitate the needs of the growing semiconductor industry.

Intel has awarded funding to several universities to support this initiative. According to an excerpt posted by Wright State University, these institutions include the University of Cincinnati, Central State University, the Ohio State University, Columbus State Community College, Kent State University, Lorain County Community College and Ohio University.

WSU’s involvement

Dr. Subhashini Ganapathy worked at Intel for six years before coming to WSU as an associate professor and now Chair of the ‘Intel Initiative.’ Ganapathy oversaw proposal development that landed WSU a partnership with UC and CSU. 

According to the initiative chair, the UC-led proposal allows WSU to collaborate with other universities to help create curriculum that supports semiconductor, microelectronics and microfabrication manufacturing.

Ganapathy elucidated that this partnership will result in a pipeline of cross-training for students and faculty across a range of institutions in Ohio. With this new curriculum in place, students will be prepared to work at technology companies, such as Intel.

The CSU-led grant will see a close partnership with WSU to help create a semiconductor program and facility. WSU already has resources and proficiencies available to facilitate this development at CSU, according to Ganapathy.

“We will use those capabilities to train some of the Central State students, as well as consult with them and advise them on how to build a microfabrication lab there,” Ganapathy said. 

One of those resources includes a new cleanroom facility, which is used to train students in fabrication, or the invention of products and materials.

Ganapathy also explained that multiple departments, from Physics to Computer Science to Business, will work together to develop the curriculum. The project is a sprawling endeavor that Ganapathy hopes will provide more options for students post-degree.

“It opens up more options for students, and I think that will be exciting for them. You don’t have to go to California to work at a tech company,” Ganapathy said.

Dr. Ivan Medvedev, Chair of the Department of Physics, shares a similar level of excitement about the opportunities that the collaborative curriculum design affords.

According to Medvedev, one of the aims of the department is to extend the preexisting microfabrication course by providing more intimate class sizes and adding more intensive coursework. 

“Ultimately, I think this will allow us to establish the dialogue with Intel, and hopefully other semiconductor manufacturers, to put us on the map of the semiconductor industry,” Medvedev said.

Physics major Neil Pohl believes that the curriculum from these grant proposals will be positive for the department.

“I’m excited for the future students,” Pohl said. “We have new management, and we’re trying to grow right now, so I can see this being a very good thing for our department.”

Trey Brown

News Editor