Teenage students experience electrical engineering at Silicon Labs

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Jason surrounded by 8th grade students during their educational trip to Silicon Labs

At Silicon Labs, not only will you find seasoned engineers but also middle and high school students who want to learn about electrical engineering. Jason Savage, a Senior Product/Test Engineering Manager, is the person behind the Engineering Mentoring Program. The program is designed to expose teenage students to electronics and to encourage them to consider engineering as a career.

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For the last 3 summers, four 11th grade students have visited the Austin campus for an 8-week engineering internship. The internship covers lab basics, statistics, electrical engineering principles, chip layout and an overview of microcontrollers. This program is run by a very small group of 13 volunteer engineers.

“Even younger students are interested in engineering and want to learn about the profession. We knew that many 8th graders are involved with after-school robotics leagues. So we reached out to this age group because these students still have plenty of time to explore engineering as a career. I felt it was important to show them our world of engineering and how exciting it can be as a profession,” said Jason.

This spring, 72 eighth graders from 15 different schools visited Silicon Labs for a one-day campus visit. They toured our engineering labs, created basic circuits with an electronics kit, and heard stories from some employees that turned their electronics hobby into a professional career. These visits received enthusiastic reviews from the visiting students and teachers. There are plans to invite almost 200 eighth grade students to the Austin campus in the upcoming school year.

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Abby joins the microcontroller team as a part-time intern at Silicon Labs

While working with these students, Jason was asked by a middle school teacher to meet with Abby. Abby is a 9th grader who writes embedded code for her high school robotics team. Jason initially wanted Abby to attend some of the lectures that are given to the 11th grade summer interns. After looking at Abby’s code, Jason shared it with a few other engineers to get their opinions. They were all very impressed and nobody thought it was written by a 15-year-old until he told them. These engineers all felt that Abby should be given an opportunity to develop her programming skills at Silicon Labs. Jason quickly received enthusiastic support from the executive staff and HR to offer Abby a part-time paid internship. She was very surprised when she was invited to work with college interns and professional engineers at Silicon Labs this summer.

Jason hopes that more employees will volunteer for the Engineering Mentoring Program so that more students can be exposed to our world of engineering.

Visit Silicon Labs’ Careers page to learn more about our students & graduates programs. 

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