Ken Vickers obtained his MS physics degree in 1977, then worked for Texas Instruments for more than twenty years in integrated circuit process and equipment engineering. Seventeen of these years were in various levels of engineering management, hiring, and developing students directly after graduation. These experiences in the development of technical personnel brought him to the conclusion that traditional educational paths in science and engineering did not provide the optimal educational background for a person working in solid-state device development and manufacturing. So he joined the faculty of the University of Arkansas in 1998 to create a model interdisciplinary educational program to prepare students to work in the realm of microelectronic and photonic materials, devices, and systems. This microEP graduate program has won multiple national awards and funding grants for its innovative educational approach—an approach blending traditional technical education, training and practice in organizational effectiveness, and immersion in a supportive culture of innovation and research commercialization. Vickers is the director of the microEP Graduate Program, now in its sixth year of existence.

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