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04-19-2001

Clarkson Receives Sponsorship For Equipment In Electrical And Computer Engineering From IBM

[A photo for newspaper use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/akiki.jpg.]

Clarkson University’s Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) program will upgrade equipment in its laboratories as the result of a $10,000 sponsorship received from IBM through the efforts of a dedicated alumnus. The gift was orchestrated by Fram Akiki, manager of IBM’s Semiconductor Contract Manufacturing organization. Akiki is a 1986 graduate of Clarkson University’s ECE program and an industry representative on Clarkson’s School of Engineering Advisory Council.akiki

Akiki has been recruiting Clarkson graduates for IBM since he began working for the company after graduation. He believes that upgrading lab equipment for current students will pay off for IBM down the road, since Clarkson is a key source for new IBM employees, and is consistently in the top five for providing recruits to the Microelectronics division.

“This is an investment,” says Akiki. “In order for Clarkson ECE grads to be well prepared for a career at IBM, they need to have current and up-to-date lab equipment.”

The sponsorship, matched by an additional sum and discount from the manufacturer, will purchase a complete set of digital sampled oscilloscopes for the undergraduate laboratories.

Recruitment has changed over the years. In the classical model, a recruiter visits campus before students graduate, interviews them and hires the top choices. Akiki tries to focus on building a relationship. “Building a relationship is important for recruiting top talent. It’s important to have an awareness of IBM on the Clarkson campus. Supporting the students’ education is one way to build that relationship.”

Towards this end, IBM is supporting Clarkson’s ECE program through more than just financial sponsorships. IBM employees act as judges for students’ capstone projects, which gives students a taste of a professional presentation situation. IBM employees also participate in role playing with students and giving feedback on other projects. Under development is a “faculty partnership program,” through which faculty can spend several months at an IBM site becoming familiar with current industrial applications, market issues, and research needs.

IBM is also a corporate sponsor of Clarkson’s Center for Advanced Materials Processing.

Akiki sees his role as a natural extension of his education at Clarkson. He explains that during his years as a student he was active in honor societies and clubs. The connections he maintained with these organizations provided the initial link with current students once he began recruiting for IBM, and he feels that seeking recruits through extracurricular organizations makes sense because of the many skills these students have developed.

“First and foremost,” says Akiki, “Clarkson graduates are considerably well prepared from a technical standpoint. But they are also very well rounded, with leadership and communication skills, and that’s what we look for.

PHOTO CAPTION: Fram Akiki (left), a 1986 Clarkson graduate, discusses job opportunities at IBM with Christopher Hartz, an electrical and computer engineering major from Malone. Looking on is Megan Peters, a computer science major from Rochester, N.Y., who is completing a co-op program at the Burlington, Vermont, IBM facility. Akiki helped provide a $10,000 sponsorship from IBM to Clarkson’s Electrical and Computer Engineering program.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or aharrison@clarkson.edu.]

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