AUSTIN (KXAN) - Stony Point High School junior Alexis Forte spent her Wednesday morning building a micro-chip and learning how medieval technology applies to modern-day chip making at Samsung Austin Semiconductor in North Austin.
Forte is one of 40 students selected to participate in the Semi High Tech U Program where students spend three days learning about the field of technology and careers in the field.
"I think this is very exciting," said Forte. "I want to be an electrical engineer and I figure that this would help me learn more about electrical engineering and the field I want to be in when I grow up."
Forte's mom works in the technology field and Forte feels this program allows her to take ideas and concepts she is already familiar with more in-depth.
She is not the only female enrolled in this three-day program that will split time between Samsung and Austin Community College-Riverside. There are 20 females and 20 males -- defying the stereotype that males are more inclined to pursue or have interest in math and science.
"I think it is incredibly important to have that split," explained Charmaine Winters, senior manager of human resources at Samsung. "We focus quite a bit on getting that same focus within our organization. I think like any organization, you struggle to get young women interested in engineering or understanding that they can be engineers too."
Students are from Austin Independent School District , Manor ISD and Round Rock ISD . Proximity to Samsung was also key in the student selection process because the company wants to recruit and hire local now and in the future.
"At the end of the day, you have more local engineers, people in the area that can build on our organization. We want to stay in Austin a long time. We are going to need engineers and technologists for a long time coming forward building the local market as well as get kids interested in what we have," Winters added.
The company did not just seek out A+ students. Those with lower grade point averages are also participating.
"In the past two years, with the downturn in economy, we have changed our focus a little bit, and while we are still looking for those high-potential engineers, we have been going to other universities and looking for lower level grade point averages because they're great employees," Winters said.
The program, an initiative of the SEMI Foundation, provides students with hands-on experience that focus on statistics, electronics and mathematics, nanotechnology, and solar and alternative energy technologies.
The ability to be hands-on is what drew Nathan Garcia to the program. The Cedar Ridge High School junior enjoyed making pseudo micro-chips.
"I saw this as a great opportunity and I wanted to seize it," said Garcia.
He strives to become a architect or engineer and believes this program is showing him what path he needs to take to achieve his goal.
"I just want to know all the opportunities," he said.
All 40 students will head to Austin Community College Thursday for more hands-on training and then have a wrap-up and review session Friday.
Family and friends held a vigil Wednesday at the State Capitol in hopes that a Bastrop man can win a new trial.
An unusually cold blast of arctic air arriving early Thursday will be followed by an increasing chance of freezing drizzle/rain and sleet by Friday morning.
The HealthCare.gov website is working more smoothly for central Texans.
City leaders in West Lake Hills discussed the ongoing concern with the city's water system Wednesday night. The problems arise when water is needed most; fighting fires.
Federal, state and local authorities on Wednesday arrested 15 people and seized 70 firearms in raid on a methamphetamine operation based in Burnet County.
Former Georgetown Police Officer Stephanie Brown said her ex-boyfriend, former Round Rock Officer Eric Poteet, made up accusations against her after she broke up with him.