What does an engineer look like? In this month’s blog post, we introduced two inspiring GLOBALFOUNDRIES women, Kavitha Shankar and Cindy Hao Jing, who recently joined the #ILookLikeAnEngineer conversation to help spread awareness about gender diversity in engineering and technology. In continued celebration of women at GF, we’ve continued our conversations with female engineers who share their passion for their careers. Today we catch up with Ana Hunter on what the #ILookLikeAnEngineer campaign means to her.
Ana Hunter had just earned her degree in chemistry when a fabrication plant tour led her to an engineering job. Ana shares some of the biggest obstacles she faced in her career and valuable advice for other women in the industry.
GF: What made you decide to choose engineering?
Ana Hunter: I graduated with a degree in chemistry and got recruited to be a Semiconductor Process Engineer. I didn’t know what that was but after a fab tour, it looked cool and the starting pay was way better than offers my PhD candidate lab partners were getting.
GF: How did you end up at GF? What is your industry background? What is your role at GF?
Hunter: I’ve been in semiconductor manufacturing my entire career. When I started in the early 80’s, the fabless semiconductor model hadn’t been invented, if you were a semiconductor company, you had a fab. I got into the foundry business because my first boss asked me to join the company and start an engineering group to be the interface between the manufacturing team and the customers’ technical teams. I’ve been in foundry ever since in various roles in Process Engineering, Customer Engineering, Operations, and Sales and Marketing, where I am now running our US Sales team.
GF: In what ways does GF inspire you?
Hunter: We operate in one of the most competitive and technically challenging businesses. In my job, I am stretched to improve my capabilities every day. There are always new things to learn in technology, management and customer service. I am motivated by challenges and situations where I can continue to learn and apply the knowledge I gain from working with a very diverse group of colleagues and customers. GF gives me an opportunity to make a difference in our customer relationships. I like that.
GF: How has GF taken the initiative to encourage its female employees to take a stand against stereotypes in engineering?
Hunter: Participation in organizations such as Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and sponsorship by company execs is a start. Stereotypes exist and will continue to exist. It is up to each of us to be conscious of it and change our own behavior to fight stereotypes in the workplace. Simply being a woman doesn’t free one from stereotyping women. Just an example, several years ago I arrived at an office for a scheduled job interview. I was applying for a position as a consultant specializing in manufacturing cycle time improvement. I introduced myself to the woman at the front desk and told her I was there for an interview. She looked at me and said there were no openings for administrative assistants.
GF: Why did you want to get involved in the #ILookLikeAnEngineer campaign? What does a campaign of this nature mean to you?
Hunter: I can relate to the pictures and stories in the campaign. I feel a part of it and want to help younger women starting in their careers to keep going, to do what they want and achieve their goals, whatever they may be.
GF: In your opinion, how can female engineers continue to stand up against stereotypes in the industry?
Hunter: Keep doing your best at your job, and lead by example in how you treat others. Have the courage to call out inappropriate labels in whatever way fits your style. Because there are fewer women in engineering, we tend to stand out, make those moments when you are in the spotlight count by impressing the audience with your capability. Remember to ask for what you want, if it’s a new job, a raise, whatever it is, be your best advocate.
GF: What measures would you like to see taken by companies to promote diversity in the industry?
Hunter: Companies should measure themselves on how well they are doing in diversity. Any good engineer will tell you that if you want to improve something, you need to measure it and take actions based on what the data is telling you.
GF: Where do you hope to see the STEM industry, in terms of diversity and inclusion, in the next 10 years?
Hunter: In general, supporting girls, and all children, starting at a young age to be what they want to be is where it needs to start. I’m not an expert in education. In my own experience, no one ever told me I couldn’t study science, I was encouraged to keep going in a field I enjoyed. Everyone could benefit from this.
Keep an eye out for more interviews with GF’s GlobalWomen, coming this week!