Microwave Journal

IMS2019 Young Professionals and Women In Microwaves

May 7, 2019

Young Professionals: Competitive with the Pace of Innovation

Ryan Lagoy, Starry and
Janet Nguyen, Lockheed Martin

Coppersmith Restaurant and Bar.

Famous for innovative startups, prominent university labs and most importantly as a pioneer of modern microwave engineering, Boston is an exceptional place for Young Professionals (YP) to network with one another and enjoy the unique culture that we have to boast. This year, the 2019 IEEE International Microwave Symposium (IMS) Steering Committee is focusing on providing engaging places and events for YP to feel inspired and learn valuable lessons from a diverse group of highly accomplished individuals in the field of microwaves. Aligned with the innovative culture of Boston, the overarching theme of our YP events is how to stay inventive and competitive in a world where technology is so rapidly evolving around us.

To spark this conversation, an informal panel session will be held at the start of the conference where attendees can speak directly with carefully selected individuals who have made significant impacts with their careers. The panelists have unique backgrounds and include a technical director at a disruptive mmWave startup, an engineering manager at a large well-known social media company, a prominent professor and a DARPA program manager who is also the lead developer of software-defined radio (SDR) framework widely used today. Our panelists encompass high achievers in hardware and software, leadership, academia, government, industry and startups. The panel discussion will not be held in the typical “classroom” setting, but rather in a more open forum space, encouraging real opportunities for connection.

Immediately after the panel discussion, the YP will head off down the street to a reception at Coppersmith. Coppersmith is a popular restaurant and bar where everyone can unwind and continue conversations with our panelists and network with other attendees. Because IMS is a one-of-a-kind opportunity where people of diverse backgrounds have access to each other, the Steering Committee is committed to making this event accessible to everyone, so it will be held later in the day and is open to all.

New to IMS2019 is a lounge area dedicated specifically to YPs. The spacious YP Lounge, situated with views of Boston’s Seaport District, will be open for the entire duration of the conference, and it will be the place to go to find attendees meeting over a lawn game, discussing a technical paper at one of the high-top tables or just finding a comfortable spot to relax or catch up on emails.

With these exceptional panelists and variety of exciting events planned, the Steering Committee is “wicked” excited to welcome YPs from around the world to meet and experience what Boston and IMS have to offer in the field of microwave engineering.

YP Lounge
Tuesday-Thursday, June 4-6

YP Panel
YP Lounge, Tuesday, June 4, 5:30-7:00

YP Reception
Coppersmith, Tuesday, June 4,

Challenges Still Facing Women in Microwaves

Janet Nguyen, Lockheed Martin and Erin Bernay, Raytheon

It is 2019, and you may be asking yourself, why does there need to be a specific “women’s” category of events at IMS? According to research by the Society of Women Engineers, only 30 percent of women who earned bachelor’s degrees in engineering still work in engineering 20 years later. Of the women who leave the engineering profession, 30 percent cite “organization climate” as their reason for leaving.

While some of us are fortunate enough to find mentors or others to help us navigate these struggles, it is highly dependent on individual personalities and situations, and is something that is still inconsistent throughout the industry. Having an event at a conference such as IMS is a great opportunity to allow people facing these challenges to realize they are not alone, get advice from a panel of highly accomplished individuals who can relate, help open the eyes of those who may not understand the magnitude of the issues and jump-start progress in fixing the problem from multiple angles.

Significant advancements have been made in the opportunities available to women in STEM, but women continue to endure unique, daunting challenges in a career field that is dominated by men. Along with extremely talented pioneering women, men have also played a pivotal role in the strides towards gender equality in STEM. For progress to happen, those in positions of authority and power need to be a part of the solution. Women and minorities need to communicate the realities of their challenges so that those who want to help can understand the situation and can work together for positive change. The Women in Microwaves (WiM) session is an opportunity for this communication and collaboration.

Envoy Hotel.

With the belief that we can all make a difference in building a better future for ourselves and each other, this year’s WiM panel will focus on the topic of “Challenges still facing women in microwaves and how you can help.” Please join us Wednesday, June 5 from 16:00 to 17:00 at the BCEC in Room 162A/B (check schedule on site in case there are changes). The panel consists of exceptional women who work in different aspects of STEM, have made their mark in the field and continue to inspire and mentor those around them. The discussion will fearlessly and honestly address the reasons we still need a special event like this, despite the progress that has been made for equality. Breaking down the barriers that systemically limit and disproportionately affect women can only improve the future of the field of microwaves. We hope all IMS2019 attendees - men, women and high school students - attend and participate in this panel session, and then continue the conversation afterwards at our reception at the beautiful Boston Lookout Rooftop Bar at the Envoy Hotel (18:00 to 21:00). We hope to have spirited and informative discussions that will inspire everyone to take the messages and lessons into their lives and make an even brighter future for all those who work in STEM.