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Amber Czajkowski

Thin-Film Engineer and Coating Manager, Edmund Optics Singapore Pte. Ltd
Country of Birth: USA

Educational background: MS Optical Sciences, University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences, USA; BS Biomedical Engineering, University of Rochester, USA

Amber Czajkowski

Who or what inspired you to work in science/engineering?
In grade school, I was incessantly intrigued by science and excelled in math. As a 9-year old living in Hong Kong, I competed with the international boys in my class for the top grade on math exams. There was a predisposed attitude that girls were not smarter than boys, especially in math. It drove them crazy when I received a better mark. I loved seeing their expressions when they would sneak a peek at my score. My teachers recognized my aptitude in this subject, and my parents quickly got word of my competitive nature. They encouraged me to pursue a technical education.

What are the primary responsibilities of your current job?
My responsibilities as a Thin-Film Engineer encompass all aspects of the optical coating process, including ensuring quality and maximizing efficiency. I advise if specifications are feasible for production and whether jobs are compatible with the company's direction. I often collaborate with internal or end-customers to generate and/or refine their individual requirements. I translate the build-to-print specs to a theoretical coating design, then to a manufacturing process.

As an engineer, I am constantly challenged with increasing process efficiency and product yields, and troubleshooting coating chamber failures.

Do you have advice for young women considering a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics)?
Networking is key-with current or former colleagues, professionals in your industry, or specialists in related fields. Find a mentor early on who understands your goals, whom you view as a role model and can use as a sounding board. A great mentor can identify with your struggles and share valuable experiences, as well as lessons learned. Also, never pass up opportunities-you never know where they can lead or  what you can learn..