Tina Chen: Giving Back Early On
We don’t always end up where we expect to, as Tina Chen soon learned after finishing graduate school. “I always thought I would go straight into industry," she said. Shortly after completing her master’s degree in biomedical engineering from Duke in 2012, she landed at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. Three years later, Chen can’t imagine being anywhere else.
And it's lucky for all of us at MIT that she didn’t go into industry—not only is Chen doing well at her job, she’s devoting time and energy to enhancing the community, strengthening inclusion efforts, and building a pipeline.
No doubt the job of an electrical and biomedical engineer (who focuses on image processing and computer vision) keeps Chen busy. Yet she is also committed to being an active leader, helping to recruit new employees at the annual Society of Asian Scientists & Engineers National Conference and STEM Career Fair. She co-led the Recent College Graduate (RCG) subgroup of the New Employee Network at Lincoln Laboratory and is currently a key member of a team that is establishing an Asian American Employee Resource Group (ERG). As she explains, “There are a large number of Asian American employees here, and we’d like to raise awareness and share knowledge of all Asian cultures through social networking and professional development events.”
Chen also volunteered as a mentor/coach for an all-girls FIRST LEGO League (FLL) team, in which participants presented a project solution and designed, built, and programmed a robot to complete various tasks.
Chen appreciates the support and encouragement she experienced firsthand. “There are a lot of people who helped me along the way,” notes Chen. “My parents and teachers really understood and appreciated my interest in math and science.” Hence, Chen is also giving back—early in her career, and in so many ways.
Photo: Tina Chen
“There are a lot of people who helped me along the way,” notes Chen. “My parents and teachers really understood and appreciated my interest in math and science.”