Women Transforming [email protected]
March is Women’s History Month, a time to commemorate and celebrate women’s contributions to the world. In honor of International Women’s Day this year, we have launched ‘Women Transforming [email protected]’ series of stories, where we wanted to highlight some of our female engineers and researchers who are striving to make an impact on the tech world. Hear their stories and discover how their unique personal lives and perspectives shape the great work they do.
Alice Chow Yeung Ming, Senior Manager, IOTSAI
Alice Chow has worked in multiple fields of technology R&D for 20 years, from electronic packaging technologies and optoelectronic devices to healthcare solutions. As the Senior Manager in the IoT Sensing and AI Technologies, she has accumulated both technical and project management experience in ASTRI, reflected by her progressively advancing job titles.
Q. Tell us about what you do at ASTRI.
I started as a process engineer on the Photonics Team. In my first 10 years at ASTRI, I contributed my expertise in material science and my clean room experience to support the fabrication and assembly process development of optical transceiver devices and compact cameral modules. I’m proud to share that these technology products were successfully licensed to the industry.
Later on, I had an opportunity to take the position of field trial manager for several telehealth projects. In recent few years, I was assigned to act as the Administrative Coordinator of more than 20 ITF projects, handling multiple tasks.
Q. How did you come to join ASTRI?
I joined ASTRI when the ASTRI office was at Tsim Sha Tsui Gateway. With my ex-colleague’s referral, I found that ASTRI was the biggest R&D centre established by the HKSAR Government. I was eager to be an ASTRIan to gain more R&D experience and devote myself to realizing local research outcomes for various applications.
Q. What was your motivation to get into this field of research?
I still remember my summer holidays during primary school. I made small bookshelves with used cartons, insulation pads for kitchen use, plastic tubes, and so forth. I loved making things with my hands! In secondary school, I liked science subjects the most. I enjoyed learning about new inventions and creating something new. That was my motivation for pursuing a career in the R&D field.
Q. What does being a woman in tech today mean to you?
When I look at the old photos taken when I joined ASTRI, the ratio of women to men in the R&D field was about 1 to 10. Now it’s closer to 3 or 4 out of 10. I can share my observations from a woman’s perspective. Being a woman in tech today actually carries a “nice” function in conducting applied research! Women, in general, are good listeners and thoughtful observers, so we can provide support by effectively listening to different concerns and asking critical questions while figuring out and defining user requirements in the first stage of an applied research project. My personal experience also includes playing the role of field trial manager in a number of telehealth projects. During the field trials, we worked with different parties, including patients, care-givers, nurses, doctors and IT teams of hospitals or elderly centres, to optimise our technology solutions and bring them to realization.
I think men respond to new things quickly, while women communicate in a more all-round way. Women in tech definitely have good potential by acting as good facilitators in technology deployment, project management and knowledge asset management.
Q. What do you have to say to young girls who want to pursue a career in I&T?
Here are some suggestions for young girls who want to pursue a career in I&T:
- Make your “interest” your first priority.
- Realize your dream by devoting yourself to the career field you like.
- Make a good use of the STEM education materials available everywhere nowadays, and explore as much as you can.
- Work hard at languages and seek opportunities to build up your communication skills with people of different backgrounds. One day you may be a good technology promoter.
Q. What is your biggest achievement to date?
At work, I think my biggest achievement is working at ASTRI for 20 years and gaining a lot of different experience – as the inventor of several patents; as the project coordinator of an iHome project and an amblyopia treatment goggle project; and as the chief presenter to support the R&D team at a number of industry awards.
In life, in general, I think my biggest achievement is gaining the trust and friendship of a lot of ASTRI colleagues and collaborating parties. It makes me happy to receive New Year greeting messages from ASTRI alumni, former summer interns and field trial users every year! Also, I’m delighted that more and more of my friends who do not work in the R&D field get to know more about and appreciate the efforts of local researchers!
Q. What are your favourite pastimes outside of work?
My favourite pastime outside of work is taking part in volunteer service work with my husband and children. I like to brainstorm and create new ideas with other volunteers. In volunteer work with the elderly, I enjoy creating nice artwork and local-feel music pieces to provide fun for the elderly. During the Covid-19 situation, I contributed an idea of setting up WhatsApp hotline and gathered some parents with IT knowledge to help other parents at my youngest son’s school solve their hardware or software questions when using Teams, Zoom or Google Classroom.
Q. If you weren’t a researcher, what would you be doing now?
If I was not a researcher in the technology field, I think I might be a craftsman, creating artworks right now. Sculpting miniature objects must be very challengingly and fun! Actually, my skillsets in the cleanroom fabrication process, especially my hands-on photolithography skills, have potential in another career!
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