At United Way of the Columbia-Willamette, we have a simple, ambitious vision—to make our home a better place for everyone.
We bring our leadership, expertise and resources together throughout our region to change the education, health and economic outcomes for kids in low-income families. We can break the cycles that trap children in poverty and move children
and families toward better lives.
Friday, August 17, 2012
Intel program inspires engineering students to help community
Michelle Kantor presents Intel project
have kids, you know that childcare can be really expensive. In fact, it can
range from $4,000 to $10,000 per year per child! That can be challenging for
A group of
engineering students recently thought of a great solution to this problem,
thanks to an Intel Corporation program that United Way recently participated
is called Zip Care, and it’s a website that uses technology similar to a
car-sharing business to help local Latino families set up babysitting co-ops
and learn about child safety.
was just one of the innovative projects students participating in the Intel
Ultimate Engineering Experience here in Portland have come up with to use
broadband technology to address challenges facing underserved people in our
Intel created the Ultimate Engineering
Experience as part of their work with the White House Council on Jobs and
Competitiveness. The program’s goal is to encourage freshman and sophomore
engineering students to stick with their engineering program to completion.
Currently the United States produces 130,000 engineering students per year.
This compares to 1,000,000 per year in India and China.
One of the reasons this is happening is that more
than half of all US engineering students drop out of their engineering program
by the end of their second year.
Ultimate Engineering Experience is a six-week summer program at six Intel sites
in the U.S. that helps students learn how to be innovators and entrepreneurs, showing
them what it’s really like to be an engineer, as opposed to just the theory
they learn in engineering school. The
program is built around four projects that build in complexity during the
session and expose participants to different fields in engineering and design
Jack Baker presents Intel project
Students also get a scholarship to support
their continued pursuit of an engineering degree.
The first project centered on a concept called
ideation. Ideation is a process where participants learn how to identify
problems, to look at these problems as opportunities, and gain the confidence
to become the innovators of tomorrow. This is where United Way was invited to
United Way staff members Roserria Roberts and
Sarah Groshell presented information and data to the students about the
challenges that many people face in our community every day.
Here are just a few of the issues brought to
light by Sarah and Roserria:
·Over half a million people live in poverty in
the Portland metro area
·Over 350,000 people have no health insurance
·A third of ninth graders will not graduate
from high school on time
students were very engaged and wanted to know more about the barriers in
people’s lives,” said Roserria.
these students had no idea the dropout rate was so high,” said CJ Phillips,
facilitator of the ideation training and a Physical Design Engineer with Intel.
Next, students worked in teams to come up with
ideas they could use to help underserved communities using broadband technologies.
Here the idea for ZipCare was born.
Spencer, a student who worked on the Zip Care
project, said, “I was surprised because I was expecting robots and software and
that kind of thing and then the first thing we’re talking about is United Way
and social issues. A lot of people came in thinking about what they would get
out of it, and then we were asked to think about helping others.”
At the end of the week, a panel of judges,
including United Way team members Colin McCormack and Don Braden, reviewed all
of the projects.
“Knowing that someone from United Way was
going to be a judge made us feel like we could really make a difference in an
engineering capacity,” said Michelle.
“I was impressed by many of the innovative
ideas these students came up with,” said Don. “I really think learning this
kind of approach would serve us all well.”
Corporation is a longtime supporter of United Way of the Columbia-Willamette.
Last year alone Intel employees and retirees and the Intel foundation donated
$7.2 million to our annual giving campaign.
was thrilled to be able to step up and help Intel with the Ultimate Engineering
Experience when they called.
really want to thank United Way for helping us with this project on relatively
short notice,” said Irwin Yablok, the Intel employee who along with Leigh
Weisshaupt coordinated the entire Intel Ultimate Engineering program here in
Oregon. “It’s a win-win!”
not agree more Irwin! Thank you Intel for all you do. You are an important
asset for our region.