Yejee Choi, Test Engineer, Allegro MicroSystems
Electrical and computer engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)
Yejee Choi is currently a test engineer at Allegro MicroSystems. She was raised in Korea until the age of 14 when her family relocated to Ghana. Upon high school graduation, Yejee decided to come to the United States where she studied electrical and computer engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, MA.
She began her career at Allegro MicroSystems right out of school, quickly taking on new projects and responsibilities, providing significant contributions to the success of Allegro. Her passion for learning and understanding new and evolving technologies is inspiring to everyone around her. She is always going out of her way looking for a new problem to solve.
In her personal life, Yejee is passionate about travel, fitness, and spending quality time with her loved ones.
Talk about the culture at your company. What makes it inclusive or supportive of women in engineering and automation?
Working as a female engineer can seem intimidating from the outside. It’s a generally male dominant field. I’ve worked at Allegro for 5 years and never felt I was being treated differently than my male peers. I’m always treated as an equal engineer, not a female engineer.
It’s a great feeling to work for a company that values inclusivity. Everyone is valued equally as an individual, regardless of gender, age, or ethnicity. We’re all given the tools and support we need to succeed in each project and continue advancing in our careers. Last year, Allegro helped sponsor my green card which made me feel valued as an employee and respected as an individual.
Over the past few years, the organization has taken steps to better acknowledge the work of our women engineers, which is so exciting to see.
Describe a recent company project (in which you were involved) that went particularly well. How did you and your team go about ensuring success?
As a test engineer, my job is to test, develop, and debug newly designed products to ensure product capability and performance. Over the course of my career at Allegro, I’ve worked on many great projects with brilliant teams.
We recently launched the world’s first three-phase BLDC driver IC with integrated power loss brake features. This project was exciting to be a part of, and the challenges it presented were fun to overcome together as a team. This product had new features that needed to be finalized, but the COVID-19 pandemic started in the middle of the development cycle, which threw the whole team for a loop. With constant teamwork and ongoing support, we were able to pull it through and successfully launch this product.
Being a part of developing products and seeing them release to the market is exciting and fulfilling as an engineer.
What first drew you to engineering and this industry?
I was born in Korea and lived there for about 14 years. At 14, I moved to Ghana, where I lived for five years. It was a huge change moving from a highly developed country to an underdeveloped country. This experience taught me to be flexible and adjust quickly in different situations. This has much to do with my continued success as an engineer today.
During my junior year of high school, I attended a science research camp taught by brilliant math Ph.D. students from the United States. The whole camp experience opened my eyes to envisioning and viewing the world from a different perspective, and my interest in science and technology peaked.
Living in a country with frequent power outages and slow internet connections as the norm contributed to my choice of electrical engineering when I entered college. I took my first introductory electronic course with all the circuitry lab work during my first year. From the start, the course brought me so much joy. It was clear this was the correct career path for me.
Describe your biggest career challenge. How did you solve it — or what was the outcome or lesson learned?
One of the biggest challenges I had at work was when multiple projects got transferred to me simultaneously due to the lead test engineer for those projects retiring. At the time, I was still relatively new in my career. Initially, I was overwhelmed with the pressure and workload that came with all these projects. I had to move forward with the projects already in the middle of the development phase, but I also had to learn about the parts simultaneously. Typically, a lead test engineer would follow the project from start to finish, so I was trying to catch up in such a short amount of time.
I adjusted to the project workload and successfully moved these projects forward to their launch dates.
I’m proud of the work I did in this situation and proud to have been a part of the development team. Now, these parts are part of the top sales for the company.
It was challenging at times, but I gained a lot of knowledge and experiences, which I now apply to many new projects in my current role.
What career advice would you give to your younger self?
The best advice I would give to my younger self is know you are valuable. Stay positive and be yourself! There will always be rough and challenging times, but they will always pass!
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Spotlight on Women in Engineering – Yejee Choi – Design World Network