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Anuja De Silva

Semiconductor Materials and Process Researcher
IBM Semiconductor Technology Research, USA

SPIE Member

Anuja De Silva

Country of Birth: Sri Lanka
Country of Residence: USA
Educational Background: BA in Chemistry, Mount Holyoke College; MS and PhD in Materials Chemistry, Cornell University


I have always been interested in math and science. The options in Sri Lanka, where I grew up, for a career as a research scientist were limited. My mother encouraged me to apply to college in the United States for my undergraduate education to get more exposure to STEM fields. At Mount Holyoke, I had the opportunity to take part in several undergraduate research projects, and found a keen interest for materials research. Now I develop new types of materials and processes that help us to scale the size of computer chips.

When I started out, I was passive about my goals and ready to wait for opportunities to come along. Now I look for new ways to develop my skills and people to network with. I wish I had been encouraged to be bold and demand things for myself; to actively seek recognition for my contributions. It can take a lot of reinforcement for upper management to acknowledge your work. I have seen a direct correlation between asking and receiving recognition.

Believe in yourself and your abilities. Even if you don’t achieve all your career goals in the timeline or plan you set for yourself, never give up. Success can manifest in different ways as long as you keep learning and making scientific contributions. Be creative and turn failures into assets.

I’m a full-time working mom with two young kids. I don’t aim to find the right “balance.” Whether I’m at work, running errands with my kids, or traveling, I try to be present in the moment and give it my full focus.

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