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First Class of Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology Students to Graduate from Hudson Valley Community College
Class of 2007 Commencement scheduled for Saturday, May 19

CONTACT: Janine Kava or Jason McCord (518) 629-8071
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Thursday, May 10, 2007

Hudson Valley Community College this month will graduate its first-ever class of students specifically trained to work in the emerging field of semiconductors and nanotechnology.

Three students – two men and one woman – have earned associate's degrees in Electrical Technology: Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology (SMT), one of 18 associate's degree and certificate programs offered through the college's School of Engineering and Industrial Technologies.

Instituted two years ago in response to the Capital Region's growing Tech Valley initiative, the Semiconductor program provides a combination of classroom education and hands-on instruction to train students for employment as work station operators in clean room environments or for transfer to bachelor's degree programs upon graduation.

"Hudson Valley Community College's history is rooted in technology education, so it was only natural for us to seize upon this new opportunity to provide cutting-edge instruction in this emerging field," said Phillip White, dean of the School of Engineering and Industrial Technologies. "We are proud of this program and look forward to providing Advanced Micro Devices and other companies in the region with a qualified workforce to further drive the Tech Valley initiative."

Hudson Valley's 53rd Commencement ceremony begins at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 19, in the McDonough Sports Complex. To date, the college's Class of 2007 has 1,793 graduates – the largest in Hudson Valley's 54-year history.

Robert M. Chiusano, a 1970 graduate of the college who recently retired as executive vice president and special assistant to the chief executive officer of the aviation and aeronautics company Rockwell Collins, will give the keynote address. A native of Schenectady, Chiusano had a 28-year career with Rockwell Collins, a global, Fortune 500-company based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The first three graduates of the Electrical Technology: Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology program are:

  • LeAnna Taber, 23, of New Lebanon. Taber recently began working part-time as a process technician in research and development at GE Global Research in Niskayuna. Once Taber graduates, she will move into a full-time position at GE Global Research.
  • Benjamin Pilat, 21, of Lanesboro, Mass. Pilat also works at GE Global Research, in a part-time job after securing an internship through the college. After graduation, he plans on taking a semester off and then begin working toward his bachelor's degree, possibly at Binghamton University or Stony Brook University.
  • Chris Taylor, 19, of Waterford. The first in his family to graduate from college, Taylor hopes to secure a job at Albany NanoTech after graduation.

"I started in the Electrical Engineering program then switched after my freshman year because this is more technical and there are more job opportunities. I just think it's amazing what (people who work in the nanotechnology field) can do," Taber said.

There are currently 11 other students enrolled in the Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology program. The first year of the program mirrors the first-year curriculum of the college's Electrical Engineering Technology program. Students then take four, semiconductor-specific courses during their second year of study: Semiconductor and Nanotech Overview; Vacuum and Power RF; Semiconductor Manufacturing and Nanofabrication Processes; and Semiconductor Metrology and Process Control. The college's ultimate goal is to train 80 students annually, White said.

Founded in 1953, Hudson Valley Community College offers more than 70 associate's degree and certificate programs in four schools: Business; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Sciences; and Liberal Arts and Sciences; and workforce and academic preparation programs offered through the Educational Opportunity Center. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, it has an enrollment of more than 12,000 students, and it is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and worker retraining. Hudson Valley has more than 60,000 alumni.