The #ILookLikeAnEngineer campaign shined a light on the diversity of today’s engineers and encouraged many Intel engineers to celebrate what makes them unique.
When enterprise software developer and platform engineer Isis Anchalee Wenger agreed to be featured on a OneLogin billboard as part of a recruitment campaign, she wasn’t prepared for the overwhelming attention and backlash.
“In fact, if you knew me, you would probably know that being famous is one of my biggest nightmares,” Wenger wrote in a Medium post. “Seriously right up there with falling into a porta potty.”
Yet, it seemed that everyone had a comment.
Misogynistic tweets claimed Wenger was “too pretty” to actually be a tech professional, and people picked apart her expression in the ad.
The sexism that often plagues the industry had reared its head.
Instead of getting discouraged, however, Wenger led a call to action, complete with its own hashtag.
And some seriously badass lady and LGBTQ engineers who connected with the #ILookLikeAnEngineer message overwhelmingly responded. Despite being attractive, pregnant, transsexual or often mistaken for somebody’s girlfriend, these women also happened to be engineers.
While the campaign has primarily focused on women, the goal is to highlight anyone who, as Wenger wrote in her post, doesn’t “fit the ‘cookie-cutter mold’ of what people believe engineers ‘should look like.’”
The engineers at Intel took this to heart. After all, they are parents, band members, culinary pros and world travelers, but they certainly aren’t cookie-cutter humans.
Here, eight Intel engineers share their job titles, surprising traits and advice for anyone who doesn’t fit the industry mold.
Day job: I work in Intel Labs as a senior principal engineer creating wearable technology prototypes.
What you wouldn’t expect: I love to play music, and I’m in two Portland bands, Rocket 3 and Avalanche Lily.
Words of wisdom: Engineering is a great career because technology is changing all the time. Thrilling breakthroughs are always on the horizon. And it’s challenging, so if you are a challenge seeker, then engineering is a great career.
Day job: Manufacturing Manager: I manage the Substrate Packaging Technology Development factory in Chandler, Ariz.
What you wouldn’t expect: I try new hobbies all the time and visit two new countries a year. I’m currently approaching 30 countries visited.
Words of wisdom: Stick with it. It is hard, and it is not sexy, but each day, you will work to solve problems that will impact the world. What you do today as an engineer will impact generations to come.
Day job: Vice President of the Storage Group. My group delivers Intel’s products that help our Data Center customers solve their storage problems. (Editor’s note: Crair is now Vice President of Development at Lenovo.)
What you wouldn’t expect: I can breathe underwater. I also bake amazing strudel and challah.
Words of wisdom: Make the fact that you’re different part of the value you bring to the table. You are different — that’s awesome because you can think of things that no one else would think of and come up with ways to solve problems that other people wouldn’t try.
Day job: As an Engineering Manager, I lead a team developing one of the cooling technologies for (what’s slated to be) the world’s fastest supercomputer, Aurora. Aurora will be used to advance scientific discoveries in fields such as energy storage, climate science, extreme materials, the expansion of the universe and more.
What you wouldn’t expect: My superpower is the ability to be right 99 percent of the time. Just kidding. I have a chef certification and was a cooking class extra on Season 2, Episode 3 (“Now We’re Cooking”) of TLC’s “The Little Couple.”
Words of wisdom: People who do not look like, think like, act like or come from the same backgrounds are exactly what the engineering field needs! More diversity on teams makes them more effective. Providing unique solutions to the world is how we make it a better place. But we can’t make it a better place for everyone if our teams of engineers do not represent the perspectives and backgrounds of everyone.
Day job: ATTD Chip Attach Module Engineering Technician. I’m also the Intel Native American Network AZ Chair
What you wouldn’t expect: I am agile, adaptable, driven, multi-task orientated, possess endurance, portray pure strength and love…a good mix between Superwoman and Wonder Woman.
Words of wisdom: If you’re curious about how things work, enjoy math or science, love learning, thrive on challenges, work hard — take full advantage of that and believe you are an engineer. Your mind is what brings you power.
Day job: Vice President of Human Resources, and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Intel Diversity in Technology Initiative
What you wouldn’t expect: I’m a hula hoop contest winner, too.
Words of wisdom: If you are looking to change the world or travel the world, the engineering career is an excellent path to do just that. If you fall down, dust your butt off and get back up. Failures are necessary struggles we call learning.
Day job: I am a Technical Consulting Engineer. I work with third parties (ISV’s and academics) to optimize their software to run well on Intel processors. (Editor’s note: Bachmayer is now retired from Intel.)
What you wouldn’t expect: My superpower is my passion for what I believe in, which leads to persistence when faced with a challenge.
Words of wisdom: Do not let anyone tell you that you cannot do something, that the project is too big or too hard or that you do not know enough. Look at the problem in different ways and with different perspectives in order to find the right solution.
Day job: I am a Principal Engineer designing Analog/Mixed Signal Circuits. My current focus is on hardware security.
What you wouldn’t expect: I enjoy orienteering/wilderness navigation with a map and compass.
Words of wisdom: Take stuff apart. Learn how it works. Fix it. Put it back together. This will give you problem solving skills that aren’t taught in school.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated since it was originally published.