Penn State named partner in Northeast University Semiconductor Network

July 6, 2023

By Sarah Small 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. Penn State has been named one of 21 founding member institutions of Micron Technology’s newly formed Northeast University Semiconductor Network. The network, established in partnership with the National Science Foundation, will focus on enhancing curriculum and developing new research and learning opportunities to prepare the next generation of the U.S. semiconductor industry’s workforce.  

“With Penn State joining the Northeast University Semiconductor Network, we are building on our strong collaborative ties with industry, other universities and government partners to help address a critical need for advancements in semiconductor production and future workforce training,” said Andrew Read, interim senior vice president of research at Penn State. “We previously have teamed up on centers such as the Penn State-led Center for Heterogeneous Integration of Micro Electronic Systems (CHIMES) as well as the Processing with Intelligent Storage and Memory (PRISM) center. With our institutional semiconductor expertise, we are thrilled to continue preparing the next generation of engineers and shape the future of the industry.”  

The formation of the network aligns with the goals of the CHIPS and Science Act, a $280 billion package to support domestic semiconductor manufacturing capabilities and increase research and development in the sector. Prior to the signing of the bill, UNESCO Chair and Professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics Osama Awadelkarim testified before Congress on the importance of strengthening the U.S. workforce and developing a pipeline from education to industry. Awadelkarim directs the Penn State Center for Nanotechnology Education and Utilization, which was established in 1998 to train workers to contribute to the semiconductor industry in Pennsylvania.  

“Penn State’s selection as one of the network’s founding members is a testament to the University’s leadership in this area,” said Vijaykrishnan Narayanan, associate dean for innovation in the Penn State College of Engineering and the A. Robert Noll Chair of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.  “It is exciting to be able to share our knowledge and resources through this network and push the boundaries of what’s possible in semiconductor engineering.” 

One aim of the Northeast University Semiconductor Network is to enhance existing curriculum with “industry-backed technical content, expanding experiential learning programs for greater access to cleanrooms and teaching labs, and bolstering research opportunities for students,” according to a Silicon Semiconductor press release 

Penn State students will have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience fabricating semiconductor devices and packages using advanced technology in labs and facilities across the Northeast, including the Penn State Center for Nanotechnology Education and Utilization’s cleanroom and the Penn State Materials Research Institute, according to Madhavan Swaminathan, electrical engineering department head, William E. Leonhard Chair Professor and director of CHIMES. 

“As we prioritize semiconductor workforce readiness in the classroom, students will have multiple opportunities to strengthen their skills through industry internships and Penn State co-curricular activities, such as the summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates, including the Drawdown Scholars Program and the Summer Research Opportunities Program,” Swaminathan said. 

To learn more and see the full list of founding member institutions, read Micron’s press release 


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College of Engineering Media Relations

"We are thrilled to continue preparing the next generation of engineers and shape the future of the industry.”

– Andrew Read, interim senior vice president of research