By Sherry DiBari

Three students from Old Dominion University's Batten College of Engineering and Technology have been selected for research internships with the Virginia Microelectronics Consortium (VMEC).

Justin Heisterkamp, Rita Meraz and Sofia Tequida will spend the summer working as VMEC Summer Scholars. The program offers hands-on research opportunities in state-of-the-art facilities to juniors and seniors attending Virginia universities.

The VMEC is a facilitator of university-industry partnerships in education, training and research for the state's microelectronics industry. Helmut Baumgart, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at ODU's Batten College of Engineering and Technology, is one of seven VMEC professors.

Heisterkamp, a senior, is dual-majoring in electrical and computer engineering with a minor in computer science. Asa process engineer intern in the clean room of Micron Technology Inc., a Manassas-based producer of computer memory and data storage, he will work on product characterization and yield analysis, new tool implementation, process enhancement and new product implementation.

"I really enjoy digital design and computer architecture-related tasks," he said. "I plan to pursue a career in that direction."

Heisterkamp said he was inspired by Professor Sylvain Marsillac's microelectronics materials and processes class.

"His class definitely influenced my intrigue in this field, and he's a very inspirational teacher, as well," he said. "I remember being captivated by all his lectures and his interactivity with the class."

Heisterkamp has been accepted into ODU's BS/MS link program.

Meraz, an electrical engineering major with a minor in physics, will spend the summer in the High-Performance Low-Power (HPLP) lab at the University of Virginia.

Her internship will focus on artificial intelligence/machine learning hardware, low-power very large-scale integration design, Internet of Things at the edge hardware and printable electronics.

Meraz recently participated in an independent study on radio systems with Dimitrie Popescu, professor of electrical and computer engineering at ODU. "This research allowed me to explore software-defined radios and spark further my interest in communication systems," she said.

Meraz, who graduates in May, plans to pursue a master's in electrical engineering.

Tequida, an electrical engineering major with a focus on power and renewable energy and a minor in mathematics, will spend the summer at Norfolk State University fabricating silicon nanowire arrays for reducing surface reflection.

Tequida's interest in microelectronics was also influenced by Marsilliac,

"Dr. Marsillac has inspired my interest in the microelectronics field because of his enthusiasm in class when teaching about microelectronics," she said.

She will graduate in spring 2022.

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