Keysight Women Engineers Describe Their Early Inspirations: Part II

By Riya Shrivastava

A 2018 PISA survey found that male students expressed science and engineering career expectations at twice the rate of young women. Then, according to a survey conducted by professors at Colorado State University and San Diego State University in 2016, women are 1.5 times more likely to leave a STEM pipeline from high school than their male counterparts despite 66% of girls being interested in science and 68% of boys being interested in science when they are in 4th grade.

However, there is good news that shines through. I had initially published this string of statistics in an article much like this one on International Women in Engineering Day. The overwhelmingly positive reception and reactions to the article proved to me how the women at Keysight are valued and bolstered.

Empowerment is not meant for only one day. Recognition and celebration of the amazing minds at Keysight should happen every day. As a part of the Keysight – Society of Women Engineers Enterprise Program (KSWEEP), today I wish to continue highlighting the women around us. Allow me to repeat what I have said many times before, “Empowered women, empower women.” By empowering the wonderful women in Keysight, KSWEEP hopes to do just that.

As we had done last time, KSWEEP connected with a diverse array of women engineers around the globe to ask one essential question, “Who/What inspired you to become an engineer and continue to pursue engineering?”

Below are the testimonies from the women we talked to.

Now, we hear from Suchita, who works in Engineering Management out of Delhi, India. Suchita is the KSWEEP ambassador in India. She helps spread awareness of KSWEEP throughout our India branches and facilitates many activities and events. Suchita hopes to help globalize KSWEEP through increased content and engagement within Keysight as well as increasing volunteer opportunities for more people within the company to get involved with KSWEEP.

Suchita responded to our question like so:

"For me, it was my father. He was the one who inspired me. My father always wanted me to be a doctor or engineer. I was not good at dissecting and all those doctor things, so engineering was the option I knew was for me. And, of course, I had a natural curiosity. . . then I discovered electrical engineering. . . It has so much scope for curiosity and creativity. . .I knew engineering was for me, especially electrical engineering. I am very proud of it."

Next, we spoke with Bertie who works as an R&D Engineer. Bertie is a strong believer that anyone can be an engineer. To her, engineering is independence and happiness. Bertie aims to help women and BIPOC everywhere see the pure potential of this career and make success feasible for everyone. She took that mindset in with her when she joined SWE. Through SWE, she got to help people from all walks of life to pursue engineering and break the myth that one needs to possess a certain appearance of math skillset to do so.

Bertie responded to our question as so:

“Anyone can be an engineer. If you’ve ever seen Ratatouille, the movie claims that anyone can cook. . . . I think anyone can be an engineer because the job is so diverse and requires multiple skillsets to succeed. In school, we didn’t have many girls studying electrical engineering, but I could look to my mom as a female engineer in my life as inspiration. Once I got my degree, that’s when the real learning started, and that’s what makes my job so interesting – the ability to always be learning new things and solve problems, and be on the cutting edge of technology. I was never good at one thing in particular, but many smaller things, like solving problems, being analytical, and hand crafts. I discovered that this ability to be good at many things and be able to learn fast is what you need to be successful.”

Finally, we reached out to Amy who works in Keysight Global Sales out of China. Amy had joined SWE back in 2018. When Amy was notified that she was selected as a Keysight delegate to the 2018 SWE annual conference in Minneapolis, she was joyously surprised. She says that at the conference she was able to meet so many inspiring women that she found herself fueled with confidence and inspiration when she returned from the conference.

Amy responded to our question like so:

“[What inspired me was] the Network Analyzer (Keysight’s product, then branded as Agilent) in my university lab. I was pursuing my master’s degree then and needed to use Keysight’s network analyzer to test my design. The company left me [with] such a good impression with its technology, leadership, and high quality. I just [had] to join [the] great company. Then, after graduation, I joined the company as a field engineer. [After 16 years], I am still working at this company (now spun off as Keysight).”

Appreciating groundbreaking individuals is not a feat meant for only one day. It is not something we chose to do on a special occasion and proceed to sweep under the rug. Change is constant and inspiration should be too.

From these anecdotes of women engineers in Keysight from around the world, we hope to bring to light their stories and celebrate their achievements; most importantly, we hope this reaches someone who needed to hear this. Someone who needed that inspiration to pursue engineering and not let the statistic get the best of them.

Riya is a Marketing and Communications Intern for KSWEEP. She is a senior at Carnegie Mellon University, focused on Marketing & Business Technology