STEM JOBS

EARLY FALL 2017

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28 EARLY FALL 2017 // STEMJOBS.COM We usually think of the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math) as being separate. But the truth is that they are all connected. Inventors can't create the technology we all love without having strong understandings of science, engineering, and math concepts. No one knows that better than Todd Younkin, the executive director of the Joint University Microelectronics Program. "I had excellent science teachers in 8th through 12th grade who inspired me to study liberal arts and sciences in college. Upon starting at the University of Florida, I naturally clicked with some remarkable chemistry teachers who unlocked the hidden mysteries of both the visible and atomic world. This propelled me on to graduate school at Caltech – where I studied organometallic catalysts that could create new industrial plastics," says Todd. Creating new materials is key to many innovations, including things that power the gadgets we all take for granted, like processors and microchips. That's why technology is a great field for chemists, who have a unique understanding of materials and how they interact on a molecular level. These in-demand skills have given Todd new opportunities throughout his professional career. "After many years researching new materials and the fabrication of cutting edge computer chips, I now direct a long-term research initiative at Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC). Our program is creating high performance, energy- efficient microelectronics for computing, sensing, and actuation. What does that mean? It means we are researching revolutionary types of computing, such as brain-inspired computing, smarter artificial intelligence (AI), and trusted ways to improve the interface between man and machine. All of these research areas require new materials, new fabrication processes, and the innovative use of current materials and processes," explains Todd. Doing this intense job well requires a broad set of STEM skills from all of the disciplines, including some skills you learn in your chemistry lab experiments! "My job requires the ability to create a hypothesis and use critical thinking to solve problems in real-time. I use statistics to design and interpret data from complex experiments. I rely on the ability to communicate complex results CHEMISTRY // TODD R. YOUNKIN PUTTING THE 'T' IN CHEMISTRY Chemistry and Tech – A Surprising Combination BY ELLEN EGLEY

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