Ever since I was a kid, I was taken in by the world of electronics and gadgets. Solving problems by concocting innovative approaches has always drawn me to the field of engineering. With a persistent desire to fix things, I remember sitting with every broken gadget at my home; trying to mend them.
Time went by and my dream to become an engineer only got bigger. It was during high school that I enrolled in Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) classes as I was determined to get into one of the best engineering institutes in the country. In a batch of 70 students, only 12 of us were women. While it was intimidating, it was sheerly the consistent motivation of my parents, friends, and faculties that propelled me to keep on chasing my dreams, and after two years of immense hard work and perseverance, I got selected for the National Institute of Technology, Calicut, to pursue a degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering. However, I never knew that the journey of a girl pursuing her dream in the field of STEM would often be beset with gender stereotypes and biases.
I remember how back in the day I would often wonder if corporates can empower women in the field of technology. It was in 2021 when Lam Research started recruiting from our college. While at that time I didn’t possess in-depth knowledge about the company’s profile, I was extremely fascinated by the fact that Lam Research was a part of the semiconductor ecosystem which essentially is the “brain” of modern electronics. In addition, I also connected with my seniors working there, and they briefed me about the company’s dynamic work environment and how it’s committed to pushing the boundaries of technical limitations through its work. I prepped hard and immersed myself in the world of semiconductors, researching every bit about the company which essentially thrives on innovation and digital transformation. After a few rounds of rigorous interviews, I was offered a full-time role at Lam Research which initially started as a five-month internship. While my parents swayed with happiness and tears, I was thrilled to finally embark on my engineering journey with a role that spoke to me. Little did I know that my getting through Lam Research, one of the world’s leading semiconductor manufacturers, would alter the course of my life forever.
The energetic, collaborative and supportive culture offered by my team at Lam Research fuelled and expanded my knowledge thereby adding to my critical and unique skills. Even during my internship, my manager ensured that I was productive and engaged with different activities that allowed me to know more about the industry, its various challenges, and exciting new technologies. The transition from being an intern to a full-time position at Lam Research was very smooth as well. The first week of joining included a one-week orientation with all the New College Graduates (NCG), which included numerous interactive and fun engagement sessions with the company’s senior leaders. One particular session that left a huge impact on me was by our Senior Director, GIS at Lam Research, Sushma Rao. Her empowering, passionate and memorable address inspired us to strive for overcoming the odds and chase dreams relentlessly.
It has been more than a year now and each day I have appreciated Lam Research’s commitment to promoting women in engineering and fostering an inclusive and diverse organization. Every employee gets a chance to visit our other global locations for training and development which opens multiple avenues for our personal and professional growth in this industry. It truly showed how corporates can make a huge difference in carving systematic approaches for advancing women in technical roles and can immensely contribute to impeding barriers that exist for us while building a career in STEM. To further enhance our technical skills, we are encouraged to enroll in various hands-on courses and engineering certification programs.
Today when I look back, I feel proud that I didn’t surrender to societal or gender biases. My aspiration to become an engineer in the semiconductor space was bigger than my occasional clouding fears. It’s riveting to be part of such a great work culture that holds an unwavering commitment to marking technological breakthroughs, celebrates diversity, and encourages its employees to try new things and take risks.
As for empowering women in STEM, we must work harder to educate young girls to actively consider qualifications and careers in allied industries. Families, societies, and corporates must take greater strides in smashing disparities and think about educating men about the value that women engender when working in these fields. The focus should be on raising the profile of women who are successful in tech roles to act as role models and for us to firmly start believing in the life we’ve dreamed of as a child with those twinkles in our eyes. For when you have dreams, the sun knows, even the sky is not the limit.