This month, Tektronix announced a $75,000 donation to engineering programs at Oregon State University. This donation is earmarked to fund hands-on engineering projects for the University's Creative Collaboratory (modeled after the MIT lab), SAE vehicle teams, and solar car challenge (see Figure). I had the opportunity to ask Dr. Kevin J. Ilcisin, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Tektronix, about the company’s commitment to assist with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, and how that might fit into the future of engineering.
EET: What is Tek's history of supporting STEM education through donations?
Ilcisin: Tektronix has a long history of supporting all levels of education from junior high schools through to graduate programs. We are committed to helping inspire young students’ interest in mathematics, computers and physics through hands-on experience with state-of-the-art electronic solutions. For example, Tektronix annually hosts the Beaverton School District’s annual science fair and provides volunteers to review science projects for students from kindergarten through high school.
The Tektronix Education Support Program (TESP) is a company initiative to foster interest in physics and electronics within the local community, other regions of the country and around the globe. The TESP initiative also manages ongoing donations to several universities including Arizona State University, Montana State University, Oregon State University, Portland State University, University of Texas at Dallas, University of Washington as well as Jiao Tong University in China.
For example, in 2008 we donated oscilloscopes to 22 Oregon area high schools. The oscilloscopes are used in electronics, engineering and physics classes as well as used to support Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs at many of the schools. The donation allowed the schools to add more complex experiments to science lab curricula. In 2010, Tektronix, together with our sister company Fluke Corporation, announced a $100,000 donation to DeVry University for a five-year scholarship program. Under the program, $20,000 will be awarded each year in $1,000 scholarships to 20 students, each in the name of Tektronix and Fluke. In 2011, Tektronix donated an oscilloscope to Portland Public School’s ACCESS Academy, a 1st through 8th grade program that serves Talented and Gifted Students from Portland and nearby communities. The scope will be used by science teacher Alfonso Garcia to teach physics and electronics concepts to seventh and eighth graders. Furthermore, several students are planning to use the oscilloscope in programming projects they will create for the school science fair, with guidance from a Tektronix engineer.
In May of 2011, Tektronix, Fluke and Keithley joined the Higher Engineering Education Alliance Program (HEEAP) with a $300,000 donation of laboratory test equipment and cash scholarships for faculty training. The goal is to help provide increased opportunities for engineering students to obtain practical, hands-on experience using electrical and electronic testing and measurement in manufacturing and research and development applications. HEEAP works closely with Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and leadership at partner universities and technical colleges to implement programs and broad infrastructure that supports faculty training, curricula development and hands-on student learning experiences. In February last year, Tektronix donated equipment to Washington State University (WSU) Vancouver which included 24 AFG3011 arbitrary/function generators, a RSA3408B real-time spectrum analyzer, a DPO70404C oscilloscope, five DPO2024 oscilloscopes, a MSO3054 mixed signal oscilloscope, two Keithley 4200-SCS semiconductor parameter analyzers, and three Fluke 87V True-rms multimeters. In addition, WSU Vancouver purchased 19 more DPO2024 oscilloscopes along with 60 PWS2000 Series DC power supplies, including supporting accessories and other equipment.
In April of 2013 Tektronix donated a TDS1000B to Beaverton High School which will be used by science, physics and engineering students to complete a number of advanced research projects and for general lab use.
Just this month (May 2013) we made a donation totaling $75,000 to fund three advanced laboratory and engineering programs at Oregon State University. The donations continue the decades-long partnership between Tektronix and OSU. The funded initiatives here include the Creative Collaboratory (modeled after the MIT media lab), where the Oregon State Collaboratory enables teams of engineering students to develop working prototypes of new electrical systems. It also assists the SAE Vehicle Teams. The OSU undergraduate and graduate students participating in this program design and build vehicles to compete in student competitions around the world. It also supports the Solar Car Challenge through the OSU Solar Vehicle Team. Using funding from Tektronix, the team will be able to purchase new solar cells to upgrade its solar array in order to compete in the Formula Sun Grand Prix to be held October 2013 in Irvine, CA .
Using funding from Tektronix, the OSU Solar Vehicle Team will be able to purchase Why do you think it is valuable to support high school STEM education?
new solar cells to upgrade its solar array in order to compete in the Formula Sun Grand Prix
to be held October 2013 in Irvine, CA.
Whether it is our local high school or colleges in Oregon, the US, or the world, we believe that growth and quality of life is enhanced by an increase in the number of scientists and engineers who are addressing the world’s great problems. Tektronix has had and will continue to have an ongoing commitment to support future generations of engineers through STEM programs at every level; these are the individuals who one day will design, develop electronic solutions around the world. High School specifically is a time when young students are exposed to potential career paths. We believe that the earlier we can help inculcate a passion for science and technology, the more likely students will pursue these fields when they enter college.Do you offer any curricular support with the instruments?
We provide several different educator kits and resources. For example, every TBS1000 model includes an education resource CD filled with tools to help students master the use of an oscilloscope. The education resource CD includes two student labs and instructor's guides, and two primers. The Introduction to Oscilloscopes student lab and instructor's guide explains the basics of oscilloscope operation complete with hands-on exercises for students. The Introduction to Oscilloscope Probes student lab and instructor's guide explains the fundamentals of probing and how probes can affect measurement quality. The two primers included are the most popular and widely-used from Tektronix - the XYZs of Oscilloscopes and ABCs of Probes