Tom Becnel, a University of Utah electrical and computer engineering graduate, won a $200 prize in the “TechTalks” contest sponsored by IM Flash.

The “TechTalks” contest, held Oct. 4, involves students giving a five-minute presentation to university students and IM Flash engineers on a general topic. It is held at IM Flash once in the fall semester and again in the spring and includes undergraduate and graduate university students from Brigham Young University and the University of Utah. Becnel (pictured left) competed against five other engineering students, and this semester’s topic was “Alternative Applications of Semiconductors.” Becnel’s research involved creating semiconductor sensors that detect different-sized particles to provide a low-cost sensor capable of providing more frequent readings of urban pollution.

“The presentations were very technical, and the students did a lot of research on the various topics they selected,” said Chase Ellett, IM Flash Process Owner, who helped organize the event.

IM Flash began “TechTalks” as an effort to build relationships with local universities and to get students excited about career possibilities in semiconductors. The event usually draws more than 40 engineering students and some faculty who learn from the student presenters and take a tour of the IM Flash facility in Lehi, Utah.

“We enjoy developing relationships with the local engineering universities and inviting engineering students to our facility,” said Brandon Brown, IM Flash Process Manager. “It’s always a fun competition to have University of Utah engineering students and BYU engineering students go up against each other in this technical competition.”