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NSF funding expands micro-engineering program

Santosh Kurinec
Santosh Kurinec

The evolution of semiconductor technology is driving demand for graduates trained in a cross-section of disciplines. To address this need, the Kate Gleason College of Engineering is expanding a program promoting multidisciplinary education and the recruitment of women and minority

The National Science Foundation is funding a three-year, $1 million program creating an elective sequence for micro-e students and a new minor for non-micro-e students, allowing them to customize a concentration and access new courses in nanotechnology.

Led by Santosh Kurinec, professor and department head of microelectronic engineering, the program also offers expanded co-op and service opportunities for students, and it creates outreach programs for underrepresented minority students.

“We will be able to enhance courses and laboratories, expand faculty expertise and attract bright students from multiple disciplines to gain experience in RIT’s state-of-the art semiconductor fabrication facility,” Kurinec says. “Partnerships with mechanical engineering Professor Vinnie Gupta and with Professor Ann Howard in the College of Liberal Arts in service learning are some of the key components of this program.”

This grant will also be used to purchase an instrument for visualization of nanoscale structures.

The program is also supported by Hewlett-Packard Co., Microsoft Corp., National Instruments Corp., Texas Instruments Inc. and the Semiconductor Industry Association.

The NSF funding is a follow-up to a $100,000 planning grant received in 2003 that triggered a university-wide review of engineering curricula. The study highlighted flexible curricula as the key to the larger goals of enrollment growth and expansion of job opportunities for graduates.

Michael Saffran