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78 SMT Magazine • August 2016 by Barry Matties I-CONNECT007 Every year, the International Microwave Symposium (IMS) show hosts a STEM pro- gram and invites young students to take in the sights and sounds of the microwave sym- posium. At this year's show, I met with IEEE MTT Education Committee STEM Lead Ste- ven Lardizabal to learn more about the show's STEM outreach. Barry Matties: Steven, you're a part of the educa- tional program, and today the kids are here attend- ing the STEM program. Tell me a little bit about the educational program and what that means. Steven Lardizabal: The student education pro- gram for IMS is actually something that's envi- sioned by the MTT Education Committee. It's a way to not only get graduate students involved in actually being researchers and not just re- viewing what's going on, but getting actively involved and talking to other researchers and getting that all the way down to the STEM area, which is down to mid- dle schools and elemen- tary schools. Matties: A very critical part of our future, right? Lardizabal: Yes. The na- tional focus on STEM is really middle schools. In middle school, stu- dents start getting dis- tracted. They get history class and civics, so they start learning about their world, and they start doing a lot of different things, like studying lit- erature, and math is only one piece of that. Sci- ence actually doesn't come until high school, so if the students don't pick up those abstract concepts early, you lose them. It's really hard beyond eighth grade to get focused. It's not to say that they're not going to become great writ- ers or even doctors, but they're probably not go- ing to design integrated circuits. That's where we're really focused. IMS and STEM: Building a Stronger Future FEATURE INTERVIEW Steven Lardizabal

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