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EDGE Scholars Visit Micron Plant in Idaho

Mar 05, 2024   |   Dartmouth News

Three Dartmouth Engineering students were among a group of 14 members of the newly-launched EDGE Scholars program who visited Micron Technology’s state-of-the-art semiconductor fabrication facility in Boise, Idaho, last week.

EDGE Scholars Fatmata Sesay '27, front row, third from left; Victoria Ruiz '26, second row, second from left; and Lorenzo Rodriguez, third row, third from left; and Program Director Lesley Nesbitt, front row, second from right, toured Micron Technology last week. (Photo by Micron Technology)

"The idea behind these kinds of visits is to demystify the semiconductor industry, to show students what it's like to work at a fabrication facility, and also to connect them to people," says Lesley Nesbitt, program director of the EDGE Consortium, a coalition of universities and engineering schools with women presidents and deans of engineering that President Sian Leah Beilock co-founded and leads with Indiana University President Pam Whitten.

President Beilock last spring helped spearhead an open letter urging industry and government to work with higher education institutions to diversify and strengthen the semiconductor workforce. EDGE stands for Education for Diversification and Growth in Engineering.

Through initiatives like the EDGE Scholars program, which currently has about 170 registered students, EDGE aims to increase the number of women and underrepresented minority groups in the semiconductor industry and other engineering jobs.

During the February 26 visit, the students and Nesbitt were taken on 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 most valuable aspect of the Micron visit was the opportunity to immerse myself in the world of semiconductor manufacturing and gain insights from industry professionals," says Victoria Ruiz '26, an EDGE Scholar studying engineering sciences modified with biology. "Meeting individuals who are actively shaping the future of the industry was incredibly inspiring and informative."

The visiting scholars 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.

"I had already known that women pursuing engineering careers experience added barriers, and it was amazing to hear how these women were able to find a place of success at Micron," Ruiz says. "Witnessing this has given me hope, as it showed that with determination, I too can carve my path in this industry."

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