International Women in Engineering Day 2021: May Tang

Wednesday 23rd June 2021 is the 8th global annual celebration of International Women in Engineering Day, an international campaign of visibility on social media, that aims to shine a light on our diverse engineering role models, and encourage more people to consider engineering as a profession for all.

This year, women students and staff from EEE have been sharing their journey into engineering and their proudest achievements, along with some words of advice to girls and young women who are thinking about a career in STEM.

May Tang is a technician in our department’s Teaching Laboratory. She is a member of the skilled and busy team  helping deliver our teaching experiments and supporting student projects. During the pandemic, when all teaching was suddenly remote, our lab technicians were recognised as engineering heroes who ensured thousands of pieces of kit were assembled and dispatched to hundreds of our students across the world, but May has an #EngineeringHero of her own..

How did you become an Electrical / Electronics engineer?

“I joined Imperial College as Teaching Laboratory technician after working more than a decade in the electronic industry as an engineer in manufacturing and R&D departments. With the knowledge I have and the skills I have learned, I hope I am able to demonstrate to the young generation that women can perform in diverse tech jobs.”

“It still conflicts with many gender stereotypical views nowadays. Women could perform at least as well as men if given the opportunity. I am very lucky that I was born and raised from a very traditional oriental family, but they are always proud of me.”

“My day-to-day job is managing and organising Laboratory teaching activities including sourcing and purchasing parts and components, constructing new experimental devices, testing equipment and experiments modules before students use them.  Since the first pandemic lockdown period, I have worked closely with the fantastic technical support team to prepare nearly 1000 sets of Lab-in-a-box and have shipped them to students around the world to support multi-mode learning.  This summer, all the Lab-in-a-box sets have been shipped back from the students after having their learning experience. I will have a busy session testing and inspecting all the returned boxes and will be getting ready for another new term, not worried about another lockdown!”

Watch the Lab-in-a-Box video  (Our technicians also played the soundtrack)

What inspires you as an engineer? 

The engineer attitude, ready for any problem. It requires logical thinking and critical analysis skills which helps with decision making.  You become more objective and less emotional when you are faced with challenges.

What advice would you give to a girl who is thinking of studying engineering?

As this year’s International Women in Engineering Day has the theme of #EngineeingHeroes, May has a great quote from a true inspiration – pioneering US electrical engineer Edith Clarke, who was the first woman to be professionally employed as an electrical engineer in the US, and the country’s first woman professor of electrical engineering.

“There is no demand for women engineers, as such, as there are for women doctors; but there’s always a demand for anyone who can do a good piece of work.”

We think this is a perfect way to end today’s #INWED21 celebration.

Thank you to our brilliant women EEE students and staff  for lending your profiles to the campaign, and to everyone who helped make some noise on social media.