Published on 09 Mar 2021

Women in Tech

Dr Huang Shell Ying

Dr Huang Shell Ying

I am senior lecturer at the School of Computer Science and Engineering. My research interests are in simulation-based optimisation heuristics, metaheuristics, computational science, computational logistics and intelligent decision support systems.

I took computer science as my degree program:  my university program was actually chosen by my father, but I agreed to it for these reasons:  I liked Mathematics, especially Applied Mathematics during my high school days.  Even in the 1980s, I felt that Computer Science was an up-and-coming technology field that would be more and more in demand by the world.  So it must be right to get into it.

My advice for anyone choosing a degree program is to do something you like and/or you are good at.  When you like something, you will spend time and put efforts into it, then you will be good at it.  When you are good at something, then you can do better than others and you will grow to like it.

Associate Professor Ke Yiping, Kelly

Associate Professor Ke Yiping, Kelly

I am an Associate Professor with the School of Computer Science and Engineering at Nanyang Technological University (NTU). My research lies broadly in Data Mining and Artificial Intelligence, with a focus on Graph Learning, Graph Analytics, and Graph Mining. My research contributes to the development of effective and efficient computational and analytical methods for constructing, processing, managing, and obtaining values/knowledge from complex graph data. I enjoy conducting research, teaching courses, supervising students, and providing professional services here at NTU. During my spare time, I like to exercise, read and bake.

I was impressed by how technology has changed the world during my college time and thus decided to go into the field of Computer Science and Engineering. At SCSE, I proactively drive innovation and technology translation to deliver positive socio-economic impact. I have been actively engaged in inter-disciplinary collaboration with experts and practitioners from engineering, neuroscience, education, and environmental sustainability. I have collaborated with Rolls-Royce to automate the analysis of fluid data and to address the data scarcity issue in engine design. I have launched and led the collaboration with the University of Auckland to push the frontiers of brain network analysis for ageing-related and neurological diseases. I have collaborated with Hutchinson and ERI@N to research the energy efficiency in Electric Vehicles. I have also collaborated with cell biologists from IMCB, A*STAR to research Genome-wide Golgi phenotypic analysis.

I have found there is little which can compare to the experience of being a researcher. I have felt a deep sense of satisfaction when the technologies I developed were adopted as standard tools in the industry, when practitioners told me that my technologies have advanced the best practice in their domains, and when knowing that my research has created novel and sensible findings in biology and shed insights in therapy. Such encouragements made my seventeen years of research life an enjoyable journey.

Dr Li Fang

Dr Li Fang

I’m Dr Li Fang, a lecturer with Nanyang Technological University (NTU) who specialises in researching in fields such as pattern recognition, education, and computer vision in health prediction. Being part of the teaching staff, I also need to manage a busy schedule consisting of various lectures, tutorials, and lab sessions. Guiding my students in their research also aid in my own researching topics as there is a constant learning through each other. I also practice yoga to unwind after a busy day.

I had an understanding of what working in technology is going to be like since I grew up in a technological savvy environment. However, I did not have a clear picture of what computer science specifically was like, since it was a budding field at the time. I entered this field at the suggestion of my uncle, who does research in the US.

The tech industry has a good working environment. Work is well structured and organised, creativity and innovation are encouraged.

Dr Smitha Kavallur Pisharath Gopi

Dr Smitha Kavallur Pisharath Gopi

I am a teacher, mother to two girls and an engineer. My typical day involves tutoring in various modes, attentively listening to the queries of my students who helps me to learn, unlearn and relearn the concepts and also researching with my project group on topics like Brain Computer Interface, Signal processing and tools for enhancing teaching and learning.

I help my students get involved in the subject of their learning journey as I truly believe the concept of “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn”.

I studied Electrical and Electronics engineering with the goal of becoming an Electrical Engineer, just like my father. However, I got more interested in Electronics Engineering especially with the design aspects and also the signal processing field. Which resulted in me having a PhD Degree in Computer Engineering. Teaching has always been a passion of mine since my student days, an inspiration brought on by my wonderful teachers, whom are also my role models. This current position allows me to follow my passion in teaching and also with my research aspirations.

The best part of being a woman in the tech industry is that, we were trained to multi-task to pursue a successful career and also to maintain a family. This balancing of work and family give us the strength to be who we are. 

Professor Vanessa Evers

Professor Vanessa Evers

I am a Professor of Computer Science specialising in social robotics and social artificial intelligence. This is about computers that can recognise people’s emotions and understand social situations. I hope to make computers, robots and AI fit better in our everyday lives and to behave in a way that we feel is appropriate. I am also Director of the Institute of Science and Technology for Society, this is a research institute that focuses on interdisciplinary research especially at the cross-over between STEM and non-STEM and aims to contribute to solving important challenges the world is facing.

A typical day consists of a combination of running the institute, developing research proposals and supporting the fellows of the institute as well as doing research as part of my research projects, supervising graduate students and working on courses and developing educational materials. My work is international and collaborative so I spend a lot of time talking with people who are in different countries.

I was daunted by the prospect of going to University and worried I wouldn’t be good enough as I didn’t perform that well at school. I ended up trying computer science because my Father said it would be good to go into Computer Engineering as technology is something the world cannot live without in the future. I was never interested in Computer Science, I didn’t get it at all but somehow I stuck with it and made it through the degree. Which is so weird because I completely LOVE my work (which is at the intersection of Computer Science and Social Science).

Being a woman in the tech industry means there is never a queue if you want to use the bathroom! It is a bit of a joke but it indicates that there are few women in the tech industry. Which is really not a good part of it. I was able to find a topic that fascinates me and the freedom to pursue that topic during my PhD and later as a researcher. My advice is to find mentors and role-models (male and female) that are responsive to and supportive of your hard work. There are always a hundred people right there, telling you that you are going about it the wrong way but you can find two hundred people that are interested in what you are doing and are willing to guide you. It is tough because it means moving around a lot, visiting many people and not spending your entire career in the same place, this is undoubtedly very hard to combine with having a social life, a relationship or starting a family, but each time you expand your horizons; it helps you to take that important next step.

Associate Professor Yeo Chai Kiat

Associate Professor Yeo Chai Kiat

Challenges abound in all jobs and being a woman in technology is not any different from working in other sectors.

The only differentiating fact is that technology advances very rapidly and picking up new knowledge is par for the course. It stimulates us cognitively and makes life less mundane; the former is supposed to be good for staving off mental decline.  Of course, a working woman will face higher pressure as she is at the same time a daughter, a wife, a daughter-in-law and a mother.

It's all about believing in yourself, embracing changes and new knowledge, telling yourself that you have done your best given the constraints, being able to multi-task and maintain a positive mindset. Never regret the decision to be in technology but relish the challenges and always look forward. One cannot reverse the past but one can manage what will be and this actually applies to all decisions we made in our life journey.

We have a come a long way and this is a special Open House 2021 feature in conjunction with International Women's Day. Let's hear from some of our Alumni who have established and found their foothold in the various categories of the Tech Industry! HAPPY WOMEN'S DAY to all our WONDER WOMEN out there!

View video here:

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