The IPC Education Foundation launched the IPC Student Chapter Program in February 2019, with the formal announcement at IPC APEX EXPO. The program aims to connect students in relevant two-year, four-year, and graduate programs to the electronics industry and IPC member companies.
As of March 2020, there are 33 IPC Student Chapters across 17 states in the U.S. There are 330+ student members in these chapters. Presently, 19 chapters exist at four-year universities/colleges, while 14 chapters exist at two-year community/technical colleges. The chapters operate as official student organizations on their respective campuses.
To be eligible for membership, student members must be pursuing degrees in the following disciplines: electrical, electronics, mechanical, computer, technology, chemical, aerospace, software, engineering, or another relevant industry discipline. The IPC Education Foundation has student members in certificate programs, two-year degrees, four-year degrees, and masters and doctoral students.
The IPC Student Chapter Program has several primary tenants: facilitating industry connections with IPC Members in the form of site tours and/or speaking engagements, providing scholarships, offering relevant industry content, assisting with career readiness, competitions, and projects.
The IPC Education Foundation seeks to connect each student chapter with at least two IPC Member companies in their area. The representatives of the companies work directly with the student chapter officers to set up events, such as plant tours, workshops, speaking engagements on campus, or other creative ways of introducing students to the industry partners. Each student chapter has the expectation of hosting four events with industry partners per academic year. An example of this is the Hanover College IPC Student Chapter’s visit to Key Electronics in Jeffersonville, Indiana (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Members of the Hanover College’s IPC Student Chapter visiting Key Electronics.
Summit Interconnect in Anaheim, California, provides an excellent example of partnering with nearby schools. The IPC Education Foundation connected its three area schools, UC-Irvine, Cal Poly Pomona, and UCLA, with this industry partner to show students real-world applications and connect them to successful companies in their area.
In 2019, the IPC Education Foundation selected 23 student chapter members to be awarded scholarships. Click here to view all the scholarship winners. Anna Browne, chapter president at Michigan Technological University, said:
"This scholarship demonstrates that the PCB industry is changing drastically and that it needs college support. I am happy to accept this reward in order to show to the members of my chapter that the PCB industry is growing and is a viable industry for all engineers to be involved in. I will utilize the funds by helping with my tuition so that I am able to focus more of my time on being the president of the Michigan Tech IPC and Electronics Student Chapter."
To introduce or expand each student’s access industry content, students can log in to a portal on the IPEF website that has nine video training modules. The modules cover introductory-level topics, such as soldering, mechanical assembly, ESD, and surface-mount technology. Each module has a corresponding quiz. When a student passes the quiz, they are awarded a certificate of achievement.
All student members are expected to complete two or more modules each academic year with the hope that they complete all modules by the time they graduate. In addition, students have special access to a select portion of IPC’s more popular standards documents. These documents are to be used for familiarity, projects, and coordinating their classroom education with real-world applications.
IPC and the IPC Education Foundation seek to provide projects and competitions to IPC Student Chapters starting in fall 2020. Currently, student chapters are encouraged to seek out local or national competitions in which they wish to participate that IPC can then support.
The IPC Education Foundation continues to expand the reach of the program by growing the number of chapters in the United States with plans to expand internationally in late 2020. If there is a school, professor, or student that you would like us to connect with, we welcome the introduction.
To learn more about the IPC Student Chapter program, and for a list of the institutions that host IPC Student Chapters, visit ipcef.org/student-chapters.
Editor's note: Click here to watch a video interview with Aaron Birney from IPC APEX EXPO 2020.
Aaron Birney is the IPC education program manager.