Local NY student wins STEM scholarship

According to The U.S. Department of Education, only 16 percent of high school students are proficient in mathematics and interested in a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) (http://www.ed.gov/stem).  With a worldwide ranking of 17th in science and 25th in math, encouraging students to pursue a career in STEM is so important to ensure that the U.S. remains competitive in the global marketplace.

This news is of no surprise to Darrell Washington, a chief line mechanic for National Grid who works out of the Oakwood Avenue location in Troy, NY.  A decades-long veteran of the industry, Washington knows the importance of what National Grid does, and with this in mind, assisted his son Xavier, a tenth grader from South Colonie High School, in enrolling in SEMI High Tech U.

The program, a four-day, career exploration program facilitated by the SEMI Foundation, is conducted for high school students, focusing on the STEM skills needed in a high tech career.  The program also gives students a chance to participate in several hands-on activities, focusing on topics that include statistics, nanotechnology, solar and alternative energy technologies, mathematics, and problem solving.

The SEMI Foundation is a 501I(3) non-profit charitable organization whose mission is to support education and career awareness in the field of high technology.  The Foundation delivers SEMI High Tech U programs in 10 states in the US as well as in Asia and Europe.

At the most recent program held in the New York’s Capitol Region, Xavier and other students visited RPI, TEC SMART, Schenectady County Community College and the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.   Semi High Tech U is coordinated annually by Capitol Region BOCES.

In addition to focusing on STEM skills, the program also puts emphasis on “soft skills” such as teamwork, positive attitude and demonstrating an interest and aptitude in high tech.

At the conclusion of the four-day program, Xavier’s instructors and class of 28 students nominated one of their peers as someone who exemplifies the skills, abilities, and behavior conducive to the SEMI High Tech U program.

They chose Xavier Washington, who was presented with the “Desired Behavior Scholarship.” The award will pay him $1,000 in college tuition reimbursement wherever he decides to attend school.

Xavier was appreciative for the opportunity the program gave him and the scholarship award.

“High Tech U is a great opportunity for anyone, anywhere to participate in,” he said. “The experience is excellent, life changing and maybe even career changing!  SEMI High Tech U gave me an opportunity to see what’s out there for me, [and] also gave me a little more self-confidence about my leadership [sic] and realizing I should use it more often – in everything I do. I can’t stress enough how grateful am for the awards and scholarship.  Thank you.”

Sponsored in part through National Grid’s Corporate Citizenship function, the company has helped support the program for the last three years.

Congratulations to Xavier and his father, Darrell, from National Grid and SEMI High Tech U.


Darrell Washington and his son Xavier

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