"Coming from a technical background and living in Silicon Valley, I am made aware of the higher male to women ratio in science and technology. And so, it is amazing that the USPTO has such a high ratio of women leaders."
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got to the USPTO?
My parents were immigrants from Hong Kong who came to the U.S. wanting the best opportunities for their children. My sister and I were born and raised in the Washington Metro area. From a young age I always have been fascinated by science and how things worked. This led me to pursue engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, and through on-campus recruiting, I became a patent examiner for the USPTO right after college.
What do you do at the USPTO? What type of patents do you examine?
I am a primary examiner in the Chemical and Materials Engineering Technology Center. I examine a variety of patent applications in the coating technology field.
Are you involved in any groups or activities at the USPTO?
I was one of the co-founders and the first president of Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) affinity group at USPTO. WiSE is committed to creating a culture promoting women in the workforce and seeks to create programming to empower all employees to succeed at the PTO. A primary goal of WiSE is to serve the community through initiatives supporting STEM programs targeting girls and through charity work promoting entrepreneurship among women.
What do you enjoy most about working at the USPTO?
At a professional level, I enjoy the autonomy and the clear responsibilities required as an examiner. Having pretty much full control over my career and knowing upfront what is necessary to succeed at the USPTO is quite refreshing.
The USPTO hires and retains women in STEM (science, technology, engineering & mathematics) at higher rates than the general workforce. What do you think makes the USPTO unique and makes it a best place to work?
For me, it was the meritocratic environment that drew me to the USPTO. Prior to working at the agency, I interned at a Fortune Global 500 chemical company in R&D. It was an amazing experience as well as enlightening. Although I enjoyed the work there, I realized my upward career mobility might be limited, since managerial opportunities only seemed to arise from a retirement or acquisition of a new department. And despite the high ratio of entry-level female scientists, the leadership was primarily male. Coming to the USPTO, I pleasantly discovered a more balanced ratio of women in leadership, which is truly based upon meritocracy.
Do you plan to continue your career at the USPTO and why?
I plan to work at the USPTO until retirement. Perhaps it was from that ice breaker from orientation at Patent Training Academy that made an impression on me, where a majority of new hires said they had come from other organizations. I decided if others were willing to leave their previous job to come here, I needed to figure out why. I was fortunately enough to find my ideal job that can grow with me from the start.