Marcus Kienlen
Undergrad: Pacific University, Forest Grove, OR - Physics/Math
Track: PV/Semiconductor
Internship: TriQuint Semiconductor
Currently at Intel


What was your undergraduate institution?
Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon. Major: Physics Minor: Mathematics.

How did you find yourself at Oregon and what about the program intrigued you?
After graduating undergrad I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I ended up applying and working at Intel as a manufacturing technician, as I didn’t want to start graduate school just because that was what people did. This job allowed me to ask questions of the engineers, and really begin to understand the semiconductor industry. I had never thought about semiconductors, and didn’t really learn about them in undergrad. After working for a year, I knew I wanted to go back and get my masters, but didn’t want to go for a long time (and give up making money ). I knew I wanted to work in industry, and wanted a program that was geared toward my goals. When searching the internet one day I stumbled upon the MSI program website and was hooked. It was a year, completely based on getting industry experience, and when completed I would have 9 months of experience to show for it.

What was the intensive summer like for you?
The summer was challenging in many ways, but great in many ways as well. We were pushed to the max, with very little time for much other than school. But in this time you really do learn, and learn how to figure out problems on your own. As someone who worked in the industry before, I was impressed with how it related to the real world. Your boss (professor) gives you an assignment and says figure it out. It is your job to figure it out, and then present in an organized fashion. You work with your group, and find any necessary resources to get the job done. This is identical to what your life will be like as an engineering. The lab work is priceless, and you learn how to present your knowledge and how to interact with coworkers to the benefit of all. It is stressful, but by the end you will know that you have learned a lot about your field, but most importantly a lot about yourself.

Where did you do your internship?
I did my internship at TriQuint Semiconductor, in Hillsboro, OR which I pursued on my own outside of the interview event. I really wanted to work there, and went to interview on my own. This turned out to be great for me, as it was in defect metrology which is exactly where I wanted to be. My boss actually did the program in its first year of existence, and they were all thrilled to have another U of O student.

Did you feel the program prepared you for the internship?
The program for me was perfect for my internship. My role was as a defect reduction engineer where I worked on optical defect imaging equipment and worked with varying modules to try to eliminate defects. Thus the broad lab coursework and knowledge helped me out perfectly as I worked hand in hand through the whole semiconductor process. I was able to immediately go in and discuss varying equipment sets and processes with very little training. My coworkers were really impressed with how easily I picked up the work, in large part due to the program.

How did your internship prepare you for your current position/career path?
My internship was a stepping stone for me. I applied to Intel and got a job as a process engineer working again in defect reduction. My 9 months of work was pivotal to me being hired. Without it, I doubt I would have even gotten an interview or through Intel’s screening process

Often times in this last year I look back and reflect on how I ended up where I ended up. In 1 year I left my job at Intel, got my degree, worked my internship and ended back up at Intel as an engineer. That is quite an amazing year! Sometime I sit around with my close friends from the program and we will talk about how we can’t believe we are where we are. Everyone got jobs, everyone is still in touch, and everyone is happy. There hasn’t been one moment where I have regretted getting my masters at University of Oregon. It was the best career move I made, and have recommended the program to everyone I meet.