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Foundry Files

I Look Like an Engineer: Celebrating GlobalWomen in STEM

  • By: Communications
  • September 17, 2015
  • Category: Culture

Not all engineers are men.

That’s the message behind the #ILookLikeAnEngineer social media campaign. In case you aren’t familiar with the initiative, the Twitter hashtag conversation, started by full-stack engineer, Isis Anchalee Wenger, challenges race and gender stereotypes in the technology industry. The social network movement calls fellow engineers to action to show that there’s not a ‘one size fits all’ engineer, and to underscore the reality of gender diversity in science, tech, engineering and math (STEM). Since starting the campaign, over 75,000 tweets from around the world have been sent out in support.

Engineering is a problem-solving profession: it is fun and creative, it is rewarding; and GLOBALFOUNDRIES sees it as our responsibility to enhance the engineering profession through contributions to industry, education, and the community. Furthermore, GF prides itself on having diverse and talented workforce that’s committed to community engagement initiatives that focus on STEM education.

At GF, we have some brilliant engineers – many who are women. We met with a few these talented female employees who joined the ‘I Look Like An Engineer’ conversation and asked them to share their story and why this campaign is so important to them.

Kavitha Shankar, a member of the technical staff at GF India, mentors other women engineers while also finding time to balance her busy work and family schedules.


GF: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Kavitha Shankar: I am a Design for Test (DFT) CAD professional enabling solutions for design and product teams to perform reliable testing of ASICs. I have 10 years of industry experience and I am the Global leader for DFT Synthesis flow at GF, India. Currently, I am driving key initiatives for DFT/Test roadmap as well as actively involved in working with design teams for early adoption of new technologies. Apart from contributing to business with my technical skills, I mentor women engineers in my organization, participate in innovations and represent my organization in technical conferences.

GF: Why did you choose a career in engineering?

Shankar: “How things work” has always intrigued me and I was inclined to learn more about how electronic gadgets like television and motors work. My parents were determined to make me financially independent and strongly advocated for a professional field as a foundation to fulfil my career aspirations. This inspired me to pursue a career in engineering and I chose Electronics and Communication in alignment with my interest.

GF: What are the challenges faced in your life as a female engineer and how did you overcome these challenges?

Shankar: I started off my professional life and motherhood simultaneously. Therefore, the biggest challenge that I face on a daily basis is work-life balance. It takes a lot of planning and establishing a good support network both at home and at work to achieve a semblance of balance.

There are times when it is a challenge to be confident and portray that image. It hinders how proactive we are in grabbing opportunities in life. I believe in facing challenges enthusiastically and accepting responsibilities that come along the way. My confidence in my abilities has helped me to take on new challenges with a positive outlook and deliver results. On the other hand, knowing my weaknesses motivates me to learn new things and staying up-to-date in my field.

GF: Why did you want to get involved in the ‘I Look Like An Engineer’ campaign?

Shankar: This campaign highlights the engineering professionals who do not fit into the conventional “Engineer” image, hence addressing the issue of stereotypes within the profession. I believe this campaign will motivate more young women to join this amazing profession. Through this campaign, I also hope that it will inspire other female engineers not to give up and encourage the rest to return to the fold and make their mark.

GF: What does the ‘I Look Like An Engineer’ campaign mean to you?

Shankar: The ‘I Look Like An Engineer’ campaign to me is a way to reach out to women all over and to tell them “If I can do it, so can you.”

Below, hear from Cindy Hao Jing, senior engineer at GF Singapore who enjoys traveling to different countries during her down time.

Cindy Hao Jing

GF: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Cindy Hao Jing: I am Cindy, a Senior Engineer from Industrial Engineering at GF Singapore. Do I look like an engineer? During my leisure time, I love to travel to different countries to experience different cultures. I also like to dive under the sea or climb mountains to explore the unknown world. They are fascinating to me.

GF: Why did you choose a career in engineering?

Hao Jing: I feel a sense of achievement when I am able to use my knowledge to help the company improve on its efficiency. That, to me, is the most wonderful thing about engineering.

GF: What are the challenges faced in your life as a female engineer and how did you overcome these challenges?

Hao Jing: I remembered when I first joined the company as a fresh graduate I needed to use my data analysis skills to convince a manager with 20-years of experience that his method is not the best way.

GF: Why did you want to get involved in the I Look Like An Engineer campaign?

Hao Jing: I want to show to the world that, no matter how I look like, I can be an expert in the field of engineering.

GF: What does the I Look Like An Engineer campaign mean to you?

Hao Jing: It’s a window for every engineer to present the best of themselves. For me, it’s my pleasure to let you know me, let you know what we do in the field of Industrial Engineering.

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