Neil Armstrong once said, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” In this paper, I’d like to introduce my giant leap for my future. This past summer, Team 2017 Affective Computing Interface, travelled to the U.S. supported by the Global Exploration Program. I had the huge opportunity to take our first steps towards becoming global female engineering CEOs.
Are You Ready?
At first, I firmly believed winning a spot to participate in the Global Exploration Program would be the toughest obstacle. However, I soon realized that was just a minor issue. After being selected for the program, I spent numerous hours and put in great effort to prepare for the exploration. I really wanted to drop by Intel, so I contacted the project manager at Intel, but it took nearly a month before I got a definite reply regarding my visit. To make matters worse, I was shocked to learn that the person-in-charge had been changed the day before my scheduled appointment. I was full of anxiety, but now that the visit is all over, I can honestly say the anxiety enhanced me. The second toughest part of the visit was trying to combine program participant wants and opinions. To ensure all participants got to voice ideas as to extra cultural experiences besides our company visit itinerary, we divided leadership roles and respected each participant’s wants. After much discussion and compromise, participants created a great itinerary and had a pleasant journey.
The Dream of Every Engineer; Samsung & Intel
I was very impressed by the facilities at Samsung Research America and Intel Corporation in California. In the case of Samsung Research America, visual displays at the building were similar to the GALAXY smartphone series. We were graciously met by Dr. Kee Yangsuk. We looked inside of the building under his guidance. We were also shown the fitness center, the miniature golf courses, and the staff lounges equipped with massage chairs. Those details surely added to the foundation of work efficiency. We were also treated to lunch with Dr. Kee at the office cafeteria. At lunch, we had an engaging discussion and I learnt plenty from Dr. Kee. I asked him to detail his studies and current areas of interest. Dr. Kee said he keeps up-to-date with the latest trends, analyzes reasons for a certain item’s popularity, and uses and applies all he learns in his work. If he is genuinely taken with something, he goes into deep investigation. He seeks lectures, published theses, and other specialty publications to learn more. I took mental notes during the discussion, and I have decided to incorporate his know-hows into my study.
Because the Intel Corporation facility in California was under construction, we had to park some distance away, which resulted in a time crunch hurdle that we had to overcome. I was in charge of the day, so I had to lead others. I lost time trying to locate the correct entrance, but was able to make the appointment with Stacy Song by asking others at the company for help and directions. Song took us on a grand tour of the facilities. There was an odd sense of stillness in the buildings, and the tall partitions between staff were distinctly noticeable. “The partitions are actually lower than the ones we used to have in the offices”, Dr. Song explained. The partitions made it seem like the company favored personal development. Later, we headed to the cafeteria, and it was there that I saw Intel staff gathering and talking. I learnt many things from Dr. Song, but I was most interested in her management talk. I learnt that I should build extensive knowledge about management and merge it with my major to guarantee I find the job best suited to me. Since becoming a third year student, worry about my future has soared. The trip to Intel gave me a chance to consider my future more systematically.
‘Something’ Like the U.S.
One of the best extras during our visit was going to a baseball game. We researched game schedules prior to leaving for the U.S. and brought e-tickets from Korea. Anyone with an interest in baseball should definitely go to a major league ball game to feel the difference of cheering culture with that of Korea. I love baseball, so I was completely absorbed in the game. The game was exciting, and we enjoyed a variety of munchies at the ballpark. We also bought team uniforms as mementos of the day. On the way to the ballpark after leaving Intel, other participants fell asleep, so I had a huge opportunity to speak alone with my professor, Dr. Lim Soonbum. The conversation was short, but it was unforgettable. We discussed my worries about my major and he offered a sympathetic ear. Along with his advice and my own ideas, I decided that I should seek a position that requires knowledge of both management and IT engineering. I had a lot of meaningful experiences during this 10-day trip. Engineers in Silicon Valley are said to change their jobs every two to three years. After hearing this, I got inspired. Every part of the trip will remain in my blood and under my skin for years to come. If you desire an unforgettable experience during school, take the challenge and apply for the Global Exploration Program.