• Explore Membership
  • Student Services
  • Early Career Resources
  • Corporate Membership
  • SPIE Professional Magazine
Print PageEmail Page

Yana Williams

Lead Optical Engineer, GE Global Research Center, Niskayuna, New York
Country of birth: China

Educational Background: PhD Electrical Engineering, Pennsylvania State University, USA; MS Nonlinear Optics and BS Physics, Jilin University, China

Yana WilliamsWho or what inspired you to work in science/engineering?
Nature inspired me and drew me toward science early in my life. I was always curious about everything, wanting to know how and why things worked.

Primary responsibilities of your current job
I find that it helps non-technical people to understand what I do, if I relate my work to things or processes they are familiar with. I also find that breaking a concept down into smaller pieces makes it easier to understand. As a Lead Optical Engineer at GE's Global Research Center, I am
responsible for the designing, building, testing, and characterization of various optical systems. These include fluorescence imaging systems and optical inspection systems. In addition to the actual lab work, I also need to coordinate with other teams from different research disciplines, to ensure that the project is executed successfully and on time.

Advice you wish you had received when you were first starting out
Don't be afraid of making changes. Learn to laugh at yourself and your mistakes.