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Frank Greene Scholars experience innovation at TI in Santa Clara
(06/12)
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Silicon Valley Analog (SVA) engineer Maurice Eaglin works with some of the Frank Greene Scholars during the Summer Science Institute at TI in Santa Clara, Calif. View video.

Twenty-five African-American middle school students experienced innovation firsthand by attending a Summer Science Institute June 18-22 at TI's Santa Clara site.

TI partnered with the Greene Scholars Program to offer the annual, hands-on learning event to create excitement about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) among the high-achieving 11- to 14-year-old scholars.

"I really learned a lot from the lectures," said Stephanie H., a student at Quimby Oak Middle School in San Jose, Calif. "I think I might want to be an engineer."

Throughout the week, the students worked directly with a team of TI engineers who volunteered their time and ideas for activities that explored innovation, product development, solar technology and sports science.

In this collaborative team environment, these young scholars were encouraged to conceptualize and develop their own innovative projects, and, at week's end, present a product idea based on what they learned.

Three key themes that the engineers working with the students stressed included:

  • Innovation is an idea that solves a problem and/or addresses an unmet need.
  • Serendipity is when luck meets opportunity.
  • The product development process = define, design, build and test.
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Frank Greene Scholars race solar cars they created at the TI Middle School Summer Institute.

Hands-on activities, including building towers using marshmallows and toothpicks, designing futuristic bike helmets, and building and racing solar cars, helped demonstrate concepts learned about innovation and product development.

"Each and every presentation gave me a new understanding of engineering, inventing and innovation," said Ramzee N., a student at Keys Middle School in San Jose.

In addition to the interactive workshops, the students participated in a "sports science challenge" at the company's fitness center and toured the Audio and High Value Consumer (HVC) Labs, as well as interacted over lunch with the TI engineers.

"Supporting quality STEM education is a top priority for TI, because we know that most students need solid math and science skills for their future career success," said Dave Heacock, senior vice president and manager of TI's Silicon Valley Analog.

"And the future of our company, community and society depend on building an effective K-12 and higher education ecosystem for innovation to thrive."

Students thanked TI for hosting the science camp, saying:

  • "Thanks for making this science camp so much fun!" - Amrita S., Graham Middle School, San Jose.
  • "Thank you TI for caring enough to teach us more about what the world has to offer." - Redeat A., Bret Harte Middle School, San Jose.
  • "Thank you TI for the great experience. " It was a privilege and an honor to be here." - Kameron W., KIPP Summit Academy, San Jose.
  • "I learned a lot this week. I can't wait until next year so I can learn even more!" - Naima I., Milpitas Christian School, Milpitas.

Dave said: "TI is pleased to host these talented young scholars, and TI will continue engaging with organizations like The Greene Scholars Program that help spark interest in science and engineering, especially among minorities and women who've traditionally been underrepresented in careers involving the STEM fields."

TI, which acquired National Semiconductor in September, continued the partnership with The Greene Scholars Program that Santa Clara site employees have been involved with for more than a decade. This year, the TI team of engineers enhanced the Summer Science Institute experience by incorporating a theme of innovation and developing a cohesive curriculum.

"Students are fascinated by science and innovation when they can actively participate in discovery; the richer the experience, the more lasting the takeaway," said Gloria Whitaker-Daniels, program director of the Greene Scholars Program.

"This unique opportunity for our children to work alongside TI's best and brightest engineers will not only motivate and challenge Greene Scholars, but will also capture the children's imagination of possibility.

"As students practice science and engineering in collaborative and interactive ways, the subject matter becomes relevant and fun, sparking the beginning of a lifelong interest."

To be selected as a Frank Greene Scholars, students apply, demonstrating interest and aptitude for STEM. Scholars and their parents participate in monthly meetings and year-round educational sessions that focus on STEM enrichment, character development, academic planning, and college and career planning.

The Dr. Frank S. Greene Scholars Program is sponsored by the California Alliance of African American Educators and is a long-term initiative that promotes the development of a community of college-bound Scholars focused on extending their academic gifts in science and math.

The program's purpose is to increase the number of African-American youth choosing STEM career paths through high school, college and into their professional lives. Additional information is available at www.greenescholars.org.



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