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The Geek Generation Rocks

I love seeing smart kids that are go-getters. {complink 577|Avnet Inc.} hosted the 6th annual Avnet Tech Games where Arizona college students compete for scholarships in contests like building a solar-powered water pump or engineering the fastest computer. Some even competed in virtual games from locations around the world.

When I walked into the University of Advancing Technology (UAT) on game day the atmosphere was electric with the excitement and energy of the 190-plus competing students. There was good rock-and-roll music soaring over the buzz. The students are bright. They are talented. They are always intense. They are loud. They care about what they’re doing. Geek is a good thing. If you have not heard about UAT in Phoenix check’em out at IT/Tech school rocks.

The kids played hard, dressed in school colors, with one team in suits and ties. Northern Arizona University participated for the first time, along with ITT Technical Institute and our local community colleges. I loved the spirit of Arizona State University and the University of Arizona when they won — but in rare sense of sportsmanship, without boos.

Since the beginning, Avnet has given out more than $250,000 in scholarships. More than 1000 students have competed, and some of them have found jobs at Avnet or our partners as a result of the games. Teachers like Bassam Matar and Tim Frank have partnered with Avnet employees to help students learn what a business is really looking for when hiring students fresh from college.

So why do we bother? Because 10 years from now we will be counting on these same students to design such things as low-energy street lighting, market our products, process our orders, and build our computers. We bother because we will need them and we want to help them be their best and protect the future for all of us.

We call it investing, because that's what it is. We're putting in something now in the hopes it will get bigger and better over time. As with all investing, there is a risk it won't pay off. But I'm betting it will. These are the kids who will make a difference and create the future. If you have tech/engineering college kids check us out.

Follow on Twitter at #ATG2011.

14 comments on “The Geek Generation Rocks

  1. AnalyzeThis
    April 11, 2011

    I actually wasn't aware that Avnet hosted such a competition, so thanks for pointing it out…

    Really, ANYTHING that can be done to encourage young people to pursue careers in tech and engineering is a good thing, in my book. Taking this a step further and actually dishing out some significant scholarship money is fantastic, I think!

    I've heard the argument that the younger generation needs less encouragement to seek jobs in tech and engineering, due to their life-long exposure to computers, the Internet, and cell phones. However, I don't believe this is necessarily true: savvy kids see that many jobs in this field have been outsourced and the job markets in some areas of the country aren't especially healthy. And some parents may attempt to steer their engineering-curious kids away from the field in favor of something more “traditional” and less “risky,” such as medicine.

    Anyhow, again, I agree: we need to cultivate bright minds in order to ensure a bright future.

  2. Clairvoyant
    April 11, 2011

    Events like this are great! It really gets the students interested in what they are doing, and I'm sure the spectators have a fun time as well! Geek is becoming the new 'cool'.

  3. Anand
    April 12, 2011

    “As with all investing, there is a risk it won't pay off. But I'm betting it will.”

    Al Maag, I am with you on this. Definitely this investment will pay off. I wish more and more companies like Avnet will get involved and help build platform for these students.

  4. eemom
    April 12, 2011

    I think this is a wonderful thing.  More companies need to invest in possible young scientists and engineers.  An investment now reflects confidence in our children and in the future.

  5. Ariella
    April 12, 2011

    Some start exceedingly young. A school district in Maine voted to buy iPads for kindergarteners. See http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2383362,00.asp

  6. mfbertozzi
    April 14, 2011

    It could be great for example to investigate in investment trends in education and which firm or industry in electronics achieved in mid-long term major benefits in terms of operational processes, turnovers and economics KPI.

    @Al: Dear Al, based on your experience (in addition to your wonderful editorial) could you report some?

  7. Nemos
    April 14, 2011

    While I was reading the article also wondering  what Geek means . Here is what I found via Google: geek is a slang term, with different meanings ranging from “a computer expert or enthusiast”

  8. itguyphil
    April 14, 2011

    I like the 'expert' definition!

  9. Nemos
    April 15, 2011

    Hahahahha , me too 🙂

  10. Wale Bakare
    April 15, 2011

    @Nemos you are right. Geek is quiet often use amongst computer wizards –  occationally called set of computer engineers who can tweak any sort of smart gadgets, if faulty provide instant troubleshooting, fix and make them up & running in a jiffy.

    Meanwhile, AVNET has done pretty well, catching them young for the sustainability of evolved and emerging technologies.

  11. t.alex
    April 22, 2011

    Any event like this in school was a great excitement for me 🙂

  12. electronics862
    April 23, 2011

    Yes,thats true,events likethis motivate the students in a good way..

  13. Kunmi
    April 25, 2011

    I agree. What a great idea! It is absolutely cool!!!

  14. Mr. Roques
    April 28, 2011

    Excelent way to push innovation … students benefit from the scholarships but I'm sure the companies get the most out of it… good new entries profiles, good ideas!

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