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Investing in STEM Excellence Together

Profile on SCUSD’s Partnership with GLOBALFOUNDRIES

When GLOBALFOUNDRIES started in 2009, most of SCUSD’s third and fourth graders were being born. So, perhaps it is fitting that the earliest benefactors of GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ GLOBALGives STEM Day were students from George Mayne Elementary School, many of whom were born the same year as GLOBALFOUNDRIES.  

GLOBALFOUNDRIES, a semiconductor foundry company headquartered in Santa Clara — with foundries in the United States, Germany, and Singapore — makes the wafers for much of the technology used by consumers every day: smartphones, artificial intelligence, automobiles, the internet, communications and data, and aerospace and defense.  Though a relatively new company, most of its employees came from well-established and Silicon Valley familiar companies such as AMD, IBM, and Chartered.

It is due to these employees’ rich histories of community involvement that the company launched its GLOBALGives initiative in 2016, according to Kimberley Shinmoto, Director of Employee Communications and Community Involvement for GLOBALFOUNDRIES.

“GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ STEM program inspires young minds in kindergarten through twelfth grade by engaging them in science and technology, and focusing their energy on areas where they aren’t already getting that exposure,” said Shinmoto. “We want to inspire them to see what is exciting about technology and what GLOBALFOUNDRIES enables.”

GLOBALFOUNDRIES chose the Boys and Girls Club at George Mayne Elementary to launch its first STEM event in Santa Clara County.  Through modest funding and “a lot of employee volunteer interest,” according to Shinmoto, 80 George Mayne students in grades kindergarten through fifth grade participated in GF STEM Day in the fall of 2016. Twenty four volunteers guided students through eight tables of activities, including building molecules, emulating lithography (a process used in wafer development), constructing electrical circuits, and trying on and learning about the importance of “bunny suits” (coveralls worn by workers in the lab to protect wafers from contaminants). And, in order to provide future learning opportunities for students, GLOBALFOUNDRIES then gifted the activity kits to the Boys and Girls Club.

The next year, 150 Don Callejon K-8 School seventh grade students were the first students in the nation to experience a STEM Day at the GLOBALFOUNDRIES Santa Clara site.  Students engaged in interactive and demonstration sessions around chip design, manufacturing processes, assembly and testing, physics, chemistry, computing, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.

Wanting to do more to expand STEM opportunities for George Mayne students, GLOBALFOUNDRIES donated a STEM cart filled with full sets of materials donated by generous employees,  including gear kits, animation kits, K’nex, Maker kits, art kits, and more. The STEM cart supports activities including building bridges in teams (students work to answer the question, “How long can you build the bridge and still have it be supported?”), mechanical challenges (so students can experience seeing how things work), and design thinking activities. “This cart contributes towards fostering a learning environment for our students and teachers to gain 21st Century skills for college and career,” said Steve Neese, Partnerships Manager, Santa Clara Unified School District.

“We recognize the value in inspiring young minds to understand and get excited about the importance of technology to our everyday lives,” said Shinmoto. “This initiative also inspires our employees — they love what they do, and when they can get a young person excited to learn more, it’s very rewarding to them.”

Heading into the 2018-2019 school year, GLOBALFOUNDRIES and SCUSD are looking at additional ways to bring STEM to more students for the greatest impact. "We are grateful to GLOBALFOUNDRIES for their direct investment in the future of our students,” said Neese. “This partnership truly highlights how a company can make an incredible difference and elevate excellence in our students and schools.”

Shinmoto echoed Neese’s sentiment. “We want to ensure that we continue to have a positive impact in our community, working closely with the District to identify those opportunities that are most meaningful to the students,” she said. “We are building excellence together.”