Tracy Fung - 2017 SPIE Women in Optics Planner
Staff Development Engineer
Country of Birth: USA
Both my parents encouraged me to pursue engineering, but my childhood inspirations were Marie Curie and Sally Ride. Later, my female professors at both the University of Washington and Stanford kept me inspired.
At Illumina, I lead the sensor integration team. My team develops the next generation of sensors we use in DNA sequencers. DNA sequencers combine fluidics, electrical signals, mechanics, optics, chemical reaction, and bioinformatics, which makes the work very challenging and fun. My team designs the sensors, fabrication methods for the sensors, and custom materials for the sensors. We work with people from all technical backgrounds, from around the world, and bring together an amazing product.
In your career, expect to encounter many obstacles and challenges. Sometimes you have to do the mundane, routine, tedious work to get to the fun stuff. So whenever I start to feel let down I take a moment and try to look objectively at my situation and remind myself of what the ultimate goals are. Taking the time to remember the high-level goals has always helped motivate me through the challenging situations.
The best advice I can give someone first starting out is to remember to learn how your industry operates, what it values. School teaches you all the technical fundamentals you need, but each industry has their own values, methods, and best practices that are needed to be successful. STEM education allows for limitless possibilities, the work is deeply impactful to the world and worth your time and effort.