1999 Aristotle Award

Professors Grant Willson and Roxann Engelstad accept the 1999 Aristotle Awards

[Note: The 1999 Aristotle Awards were presented to Professor Roxann Engelstad and Professor Grant Willson at the Graduate Fellowship Program Annual Conference at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Austin, Texas, on September 13, 1999. Below is the presentation speech by Larry Sumney, SRC President and CEO.]

The call for Nominations for the Aristotle Award begins as follows:

A primary goal of the SRC is to produce advanced degree students with the capability to work effectively in the semiconductor industry. The Aristotle Award was created by the SRC Board of Directors to recognize SRC-supported faculty whose deep commitment to the educational experience of SRC students has had a profound and continuing impact on their professional performance and consequently a significant impact for members over a long period of time. The Aristotle Award is intended to acknowledge outstanding teaching in its broadest sense, emphasizing student advising and teaching during the research project thereby contributing to the maturation of the student.

In its 17-year history, the SRC has recognized many outstanding researchers for their contributions to the semiconductor industry. In 1995 the SRC Board of Directors authorized a new award to recognize professors who best contribute to the development of the industry's most valuable resource, its human resource. Since that time Aristotle Awards have been presented to Professor Stephen Director, then at Carnegie Mellon, now Dean of Engineering at the University of Michigan; Professor Kensall Wise at the University of Michigan; to Professor Joseph Greene, University of Illinois, and to Professor Franco Cerrina, University of Wisconsin. This list speaks to the outstanding quality of SRC-supported faculty as exemplified by the Aristotle Award.

This year's Awards Committee was unable to arrive at one recommendation for the Aristotle Award. From the nominations considered, two rose well above the rest, and while presenting different approaches to producing outstanding graduate students, the committee came to the conclusion that the nominations were equally meritorious. And so we are honored tonight to present two Aristotle Awards for 1999, one to Professor Roxann Engelstad from the University of Wisconsin and one to Professor Grant Willson from the University of Texas at Austin.

The first 1999 Aristotle Award goes to Professor Roxann Engelstad of the University of Wisconsin. Professor Engelstad's students speak of her ability to balance student interests with industry needs, allowing them to choose the particular aspects of research of interest to them and finding support for different ideas, always encouraging innovative thinking. Students are encouraged to present their own results at SRC reviews, and she works with industry to ensure that her students have hands-on experience. Nearly every one of her students has an established relationship with an industry liaison that leads to summer internships and an early exposure to the job market.

Her students have made important, sustained and lasting contributions to the industry. As an example, one of her students developed a method to model membrane stress that is a factor of five times more accurate than previous methods and is the first method that can be employed to measure stress gradients in the membrane masks; Lucent has used these techniques to help design SCAPEL Masks for NGL semiconductor manufacturing.

Professor Englestad's former students also report a team spirit that is remarkable. The CMC operates on a 24-hour, 7-day a week schedule, just like a semiconductor fab, and the students love to be there. She holds her students to the highest possible standards of scientific rigor and intellectual integrity, and she gives unstintingly of herself to ensure that every one of her students can rise to meet those standards. Her students are not just working on problems; they are gaining an understanding of the important issues that will drive future technologies. That only happens when a professor takes the time to stay abreast of the new developments and to teach, guide and counsel the students. The methodology that she instills in her students has clearly positioned them for leadership positions in the industry.

Despite an incredibly busy schedule, Professor Engelstad meets with each student many times each week. She reviews where they stand in their work, where the new problems are, and she encourages them to develop solutions. Her students have multiple opportunities to leave school before completing their degree, but the importance of completing the degree is so well understood that not one of her students has been enticed to leave without the degree. She is an excellent role model for her students; her enthusiasm, technical understanding, and clarity of thought and expression are key to her exceptional performance as a teacher.

To quote Professor Englestad's nominators for the Aristotle Award, "...our greatest fear is that we are unable to capture in just a few pages the years of tireless dedication that Professor Roxann Engelstad has unselfishly offered her students and the semiconductor industry. The program she has shepherded at the University of Wisconsin is simply remarkable. It is impossible to place a value on dedicated educators like Roxann Engelstad."

Professor Engelstad, the SRC is pleased to present you with the 1999 Aristotle Award for excellence in teaching.

The second 1999 Aristotle Award goes to Professor Grant Willson, Rashid Engineering Regents Chair and Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. A word that appeared over and over in the supporting documentation for Professor Willson's nomination was "cross-disciplinary." His students report a total commitment to insuring that the students under his supervision gain a broad range of experiences and are exposed to a variety of challenges. He encourages his students to take courses and become involved with projects outside their traditional field of study. They often go beyond the confines of the research lab and seek out information and collaboration with researchers in other groups and at other universities and companies. Non-lithography related topics chosen by students for discussion provide a sense of independent investigation and non-linear thinking. This "cross-training," coupled with extensive industry contacts, results in a truly unique experience for graduate students under his tutelage.

Students in "the Willson group" take an active role in developing research strategies and in defining the specific goals for projects. The creative atmosphere of his laboratories is tempered by practical considerations and adherence to rigorous analysis and scrutiny of data. He places high priority on his students becoming "fluent communicators of technical information;" he holds them responsible for objectives. As a result of his personality and management style, the esprit de corps in this group is very strong.

Because he recognizes the unparalleled learning experience that can be provided by serving as a teacher and mentor, he encourages his graduate students to actively and enthusiastically engage in teaching assignments and to oversee the work of undergraduates. He is a strong proponent of involving undergraduates in research.

Professor Willson carries a full teaching load even though his chair appointment only requires half-time. He teaches the sophomore level introductory organic chemistry course as well as a graduate course in polymer chemistry. The joint appointment brings both the science and engineering perspectives to his students.

One of the strongest advantages for a student working in the Willson group is that he or she meets and interacts with a wide range of semiconductor industry researchers. His seamless blending of research and applications has decisively influenced his students.

A measure of a professor's success is in the success of his students. In 1996, Professor Willson and four of his students were awarded the SRC Technical Excellence Award for their work on Advanced Resist; in typical Willson style, he shifted credit to his students. His students have gone on to successful careers at SRC-funded universities and at a number of SRC member companies including AMD, IBM, Motorola, Shipley, LSI Logic, SEMATECH, and Intel. At least one of his former students is the Industry Advisor for a current SRC Fellow, also a Willson student. Others are Industry Liaisons to his and other research programs.

Professor Willson has the ability to "excite students and draw them into the process of invention and discovery." As one of his former students said, "The criteria for the Aristotle Award appear to be written in such a way as to customize the award specifically for Grant."

Professor Willson, the SRC is pleased to present you with a 1999 Aristotle Award in recognition of your excellence in teaching.

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