Please tell us about yourself. How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and cool career?

“Growing up, I loved logic puzzles, math and science, so studying engineering in college natural next step.” Ashwini earned her Masters degree in Computer Engineering at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She got a taste of real engineering work when she interned at Intel. “Nothing had ever excited me as much as the internship did. I was using everything I had ever learned in the real world, and not for a course project or an exam!” She went on to work at Intel full time where she made Intel graphics perform better.

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Nothing had ever excited me as much as the internship did. I was using everything I had ever learned in the real world, and not for a course project or an exam!

Tell us about your work

Now, she is a hardware engineer at Apple. “I find issues, do a ton of investigation, get to the bottom of the problem and find ways to fix it. You could say, sort of like a detective! I’m really proud of what I do everyday- making Macs run fast. When I walk into a coffee shop and see almost every person with a Macbook, it’s really rewarding.”

I’m really proud of what I do everyday- making Macs run fast. When I walk into a coffee shop and see almost every person with a Macbook, it’s really rewarding.

“I’m also very proud of working as a mentor and tutor for Engineering Summer Program at UW-Madison, it’s a program to inspire and motivate academically-talented high school students to pursue engineering. Most students are from underrepresented groups that include women from all ethnicities and also first generation college students. When I hear from them or see their updates on Facebook, it always makes me smile.”

What do you love about your job?

“When I encounter a challenge I first take time to understand the problem. Then, I break it down, ask questions, and just go for it. When I get stuck, I take a step back and try to approach the problem from a different angle. Imagining different “what-if” scenarios has helped too.”

No one is perfect, so when you hit a speed bump, it’s important to pick yourself up, learn from it and keep pushing through.

Your advice to students?

Ashwini’s advice is to get out of your comfort zone. “Choose the path less traveled, there might be bumps along the way, but that’s when you ask questions and talk to people who might have encountered those problems before. No one is perfect, so when you hit a speed bump, it’s important to pick yourself up, learn from it and keep pushing through.”