They came from China, Korea, and Spain, etc., — 53 rising sophomores and juniors at their respective universities — to learn all about high-tech in the Silicon Valley.
For the next three weeks, these students will immerse themselves in the “Summer in Silicon Valley” program at San Jose State University by designing engineering products, visiting high-tech companies and simply soaking in the culture of the Valley.
“I’m excited to start working and to make something to impress Silicon Valley corporations,” said Jiaxi Liu, a materials science and engineering major from the Beijing University of Technology.
Michelle Espinoza, the program coordinator, said that while students will do some engineering, the goal is to teach students about communication and networking in teams.
“Engineering relies on communication,” Espinoza said. “We really want the students to take the skills from collaborating with others back with them.”
San Jose State professor Richard Chung founded the program three years ago to help international engineering students build connections. A simultaneous program sends SJSU students to Taiwan. Like Espinoza, Chung stressed the importance of working in teams.
“Miscommunication in engineering corporations is one of the biggest challenges to overcome,” said Chung, who teaches in the Biomedical, Chemical and Materials Engineering Department at SJSU. “If you can’t communicate, you can’t work together as a team, and you can’t build a successful company.”
Monday, students were immediately put into teams. One team already had visions of what they wanted out of the program, including becoming best friends to build a better team.
Bo Li, a computer science student at the Zhejiang University in China, said he hopes to build team connections and improve his English during his time in the program.
“I want us to improve our English so we can talk about our goals and network,” Li said.
Projects and SJSU engineering student mentors are assigned to each of the teams, which are exploring product ideas that include portable water and air purifiers, a data-replication protocol and a cyber-security system. Teams will present their ideas at the end of the program, with top three presentations awarded a prize.
Li is part of a team led by 23 year-old SJSU Biomedical, Chemical and Materials Science major Crystal Pereira and is working on a project to convert and store mechanical energy as electricity. Pereira said she is excited to see the students already interacting with each other and learning about the Bay Area.
“It’s cool to see them learning about the place I call home,” Pereira said. “I’ve already learned so much about their cultures and it has only been one day.”
When students weren’t working on their projects Monday, they listened to lectures from SJSU professors in engineering.
Over the next few weeks, students also will visit headquarters such as Google, Facebook and Cisco where they will be able to speak with business leaders and engineers.
But the program is more than just about engineering and business — students will go on field trips to explore the rest of the Bay Area.
“It’s important that they understand that Silicon Valley is a unique cultural hub as well,” Espinoza said.
Partly selected from http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/07/10/international-students-spend-summer-engineering/