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Recently, Tampa Prep Junior John McGivern ‘25 had the unique opportunity, along with six other high school students, to attend a workshop at MIT.nano, which is the Institute’s center for nanoscale science and engineering. During the workshop, John got to use photolithography to imprint pictures onto wafers and decided to use a picture of West Cass, Tampa Prep’s resident rock band (of which John is a proud member)!
TP: Tell me about your visit to MIT. How did this come about and what did you do while you were there?

JM: “It was really cool. We were there for about four hours. I got to suit up and go inside the MIT clean room, which is a big room with a bunch of very expensive machines that make very precise things. Dust and small particles will ruin the equipment, so you first go into an interim room, put on the bunny suit, hairnet, gloves, booties and safety goggles before you go into the clean room.  My dad teaches a course on semiconductor design & manufacturing at the MIT Beaverworks Summer Institute, and I’m really interested in STEM, which is how I got to do it.We got to see a demonstration of printing images on silicon wafers, which is similar to the same process that’s used for solar panels.

I also spent a day, while we were in Boston, helping my dad teach local middle and high school teachers how to solder circuit boards and build underwater ROVs (Remotely Operated Vehicles). It’s really important to know how to make the controllers and it helps teachers who are interested in starting robotics teams at their own schools.”

TP: What did you enjoy the most about this experience? 

JM: “I think my favorite part was getting to see the presentation before we went into the clean room. Just how small of a scale the nano technology was. Looking at the wafer under a microscope.  It was so cool to see how the images were created.”

TP: Tell me about your interest in STEM. When did this start? 

JM: “I’ve liked STEM since middle school. And since my dad’s an engineer, I’ve always enjoyed watching him create things. I have balanced interests, though. Like, I still really like music and I didn’t want my interest in STEM to make me have to sacrifice the ability to take music classes.”

TP: Do you plan to apply to MIT?  What do you think you might want to do after graduation?   

JM: “I was considering applying to MIT before this visit. And, after visiting I’m even more likely to apply. One of the other schools I’m interested in is the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). They also have a rowing team, which would be a big plus.”