SCALE: High-tech ticket to rewarding possibilities

SCALE participant Jacob Manion

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Jacob Manion’s world just grew exponentially. With his recent experience in the Purdue University-led national SCALE program (Scalable Asymmetric Lifecycle Engagement) to complement his newly minted bachelor’s degree in electrical and computer engineering, he’s gotten off to a running start in a career with vast opportunities. In July, Manion started a new adventure in Austin, Texas, as a physical design engineer for Ericsson, an international information and communication technology company.

Manion says his education at The Ohio State University plus his SCALE experience gave him a leg up in pursuing his passion for microelectronics.

“SCALE developed my interests in the integrated circuit field and microelectronics, and gave me master’s-level knowledge before I graduated,” Manion says.

Manion’s story is not unlike other technology-savvy students who are aware of the global need for microelectronics professionals and are eager to get involved in the burgeoning field.

SCALE is supported by a $19.2 million investment from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), managed by NSWC Crane, and has attracted leading researchers and educators from 17 top universities including Purdue, Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech and OSU. More than 200 students are enrolled.

The SCALE experience includes unique courses, mentoring and internships that are tailored to specific student interests and abilities. It also features research projects in five microelectronics areas: radiation hardening, heterogeneous integration and advanced packaging, system-on-a-chip, embedded system security/trusted artificial intelligence and supply chain awareness.

For Manion, SCALE was a way to expand his knowledge in a field that already had captured his imagination: “For me, microelectronics felt like bending the rules of physics to create electronic devices that are really fascinating. It’s amazing how small these transistors can get. It’s like the bleeding edge of physics and technology that merges with all these cool things in our everyday life.”

Having gotten his bachelor’s degree just a few months ago, Manion is using his professional experiences to help inform his future career decisions. He recognizes that his current qualifications and the professional knowledge he’s gaining now provide lots of options in industry, academe or a combination of the two. At Ericsson, he’s learning about chip technology used in cell towers.

“One reason I wanted to come to Ericsson was because their focus is in the communications area, and I think the internet itself is the best invention we’ve ever come up with,” he says, adding that he wants to focus on analog circuits, application-specific circuits or the mixed signal VLSI (very large-scale integration) domain.

His advice to other students considering the SCALE program: “Just get involved with SCALE and go to seminars and go to classes. A lot of classes you can audit without taking for credit. It’s a great experience for anyone who has a passion for microelectronics. It opens your eyes to all the different paths. It’ll give you more exposure and help you make decisions.”


Led by Purdue and funded by the Department of Defense, SCALE facilitates a unique and ambitious approach to training highly skilled U.S. microelectronics engineers, hardware designers and manufacturing experts. SCALE brings together a public-private-academic partnership of 17 universities and 34 partners within the defense industry and government. The industry and government partners regularly meet and update a list of knowledge, skills, and abilities important for new entrants to the workforce. The SCALE universities then update their curriculum to ensure that students are prepared for the rapidly advancing microelectronics field.

Writer: Amy H. Raley,

Source: Jacob Manion,