SCALES Consortium Virtual Panels on Workforce Development

Swarup Bhunia

Throughout March, April and May, 2023, the Southeastern Consortium for Assured and Leading-Edge Semiconductors (SCALES) hosted a series of four virtual panel discussions on workforce development in various engineering technology areas. Each panel brought together experts across many disciplines, applications and perspectives to share their viewpoints, answer questions, debate approaches, and possibly find mutually beneficial solutions.

The panel series was co-organized by Dr. Swarup Bhunia, Professor and Director of the Warren B. Nelms Institute for the Connected World at University of Florida (UF), and Dr. Jack Judy, Professor and Director of the Nanoscience Institute for Medical and Engineering Technologies at UF. 

Jack Judy

“Largely we’re being inspired to stand up and work together to take advantage of a once in a lifetime opportunity to really scale up and improve workforce development done here in the United States, in particular, to support the growing microelectronics industry,” said Dr. Judy.

The goal of the discussions was to examine the current workforce-development landscape, challenges, and paths forward in each of four technology areas: Microelectronics, Heterogenous Integration & Packaging, Secure Computing, and AI/ML Hardware.

“The goal is to bring diverse stakeholders from industry, academia and government, and hear from all of the attendees, so that we can figure out what are the challenges and needs and what we can do together collectively through our efforts and initiatives to address this problem,” said Dr. Bhunia. 

Panel 1: Workforce Development for Microelectronics


  • Sherine O. Obare, NCA&T State University and University of NC, Greensboro
  • Jennifer Fowler, The Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC)
  • John Damoulakis, Cadence
  • Aaron D. Franklin, Pratt School of Engineering, Duke University
  • Jack Judy, University of Florida

Moderators: Dr. Swarup Bhunia & Dr. Farimah Farahmandi, UF

Panel 2: Workforce Development for Heterogenous & Integrated Packaging


  • Eric Breckenfeld, SIA
  • Najme Ebrahimi, UF
  • Kevin Hoopingarner, Renesas
  • Walter Kocon, Global Foundries
  • Len Orlando, Ansys
  • Todd Younkin, SRC

Moderator: Jack Judy, UF

Panel 3: Workforce Development for Secure Computing


  • Antonio de la Serna, Siemens
  • Domenic Forte, UF
  • Rob Aitken, Synopsys
  • Sharlini Sankaran, Duke University
  • Selcuk Uluagac, Florida International University

Moderator: Sandip Ray, UF

Panel 4: Workforce Development for AI/ML Hardware



  • Hai “Helen” Li, Duke University
  • Steve Trimberger, NAE Member, Formerly with Xilinx & DARPA
  • Markondeya Raj Pulugurtha, Florida International University
  • Mircea Stan, University of Virginia
  • Andrea Ramirez-Salgado, UF
  • Terry Back, Synopsys

Moderator: Gloria Kim, UF