Lynn Hamilton, PMP
SQA (System Quality Assurance) Director
Southern University and A&M; Baton Rouge, LA; US
University of Colorado-Denver; Denver, CO; US
Tracy's team is
responsible for the stability, durability and overall quality of
the TI's Education Technology product family.
afraid to take the more difficult math and science courses like
Calculus and Physics. Challenge yourselves, be confident in your
skills, and fly alone if you must."
When did you know you wanted to become an Engineer?
I've wanted to be an engineer since Middle School.
Math and Science were subjects that came easily to me. I enjoyed being
in the lab, tinkering and trying to understand how the pieces came
together. Initially, I wanted to be a Chemical Engineer, but later
decided to major in Electrical Engineering. I thought it would offer
What was your college experience like?
My college experience
was amazing. Being in a circle of diverse and gifted people definitely
makes you set higher goals. We studied together, tutored together, and
encouraged each other. We even worked at the same companies in various
summer programs. Itís important to have a circle of people who are
supportive in your goals. When you think you canít go further, they are
there to say "Yes, you can!"
Did you incorporate work experiences while you were an undergrad?
Yes. As an undergrad student, I worked one summer
at General Motors and another at Texas Instruments. At General Motors, I
worked for the Saturn group. We were responsible for building the
concept car, before the Tennessee plant was completed and before the
Saturn line was available to the market. As a Texas Instruments Scholar,
I worked in the defense area. The groupís primary focus was heat
How did you get your first job?
As an Electrical
Engineer, several opportunities were available in different industries.
I interviewed with several companies, including Allison Transmissions,
Delco Electronics, and AT&T Bell Labs. Each company had very different
objectives and priorities. One of the primary benefits I found as an
engineer is basic skills can be applicable in any industry, regardless
of the specialized area.
What's the most rewarding thing about doing the work you do?
I currently work in
TI's Education Technology organization. Many people recognize us as the
group that builds TI calculators. I have the opportunity to work with
Math and Science educators, as well as, interact with students.
Observing a classroom and seeing the students engage in Math & Science
through technology has been very rewarding.
Is there an example you can provide that shows how something you've
worked on has positively impacted the world?
Technology organization positively impacts the world every day. Our
products support 14 languages and are used around the world as a tool to
excite, yet teach students the wonders of Math and Science. Our passion
is in helping educators support their studentsí dreams.
Do you spend a fair amount of time traveling?
My job requires me to
travel about once every 2-3 months. These trips have allowed me to visit
many cities within the US and to also experience countries such as
France, Germany, India, and Mexico.
Do you have a mentor? Or did you in your college years? Was this helpful
I donít have an
official mentor, but I consider many of the people Iíve worked with and
for to be mentors. Just as friends fulfill different areas in your life,
I believe co-workers and managers have different purposes in helping my
professional development. These relationships have all had positive
impacts in helping me to set goals, being a better communicator, and
opening doors that may have otherwise been closed to me.
Do you find yourself working more in a team situation, or more alone?
It really depends on
the type of project and the stage of project execution. I am a manager
but I often roll up my sleeves and support the team during the execution
part of the program.
Do you find you are able to balance work with social/family life while
working in your current job?
Yes. This is not
something I felt was possible in my early career. When I first started
working, much of my energy was put into work, everything else was
secondary. With experience and professional maturity, you learn when and
how to let one take priority over the other.
If you had to do it all over again, would you earn the degree you did?
Yes. Degrees in Electrical Engineering and
Computer Engineering (Artificial Intelligence) have allowed me to work
in different industries and be involved in many types of work. I have
experience from hardware and firmware design to software development to
process definition to project management. Not many professions would
offer such a range of opportunity.
If you had to do it all over again, would you be doing the same work you
are doing? Why?
Would I still be an
engineer? ABSOLUTELY! After being in the workplace for 20+ years, I
still like to spend time in the lab. Even now, I get a thrill from
figuring out how something was designed and built, and seeing it work in
the real world.
Did you think that your education prepared you for the way the work gets
done in the real world?
Education gives you the knowledge to succeed in a
specific area, but it also provides an opportunity to develop
professional skills. Education teaches you urgency, how to interact with
people, how to organize your thoughts and effectively communicate, and
how to strategize. During college, you donít realize that you are
learning these things. As you step into the real world, soft-skills are
used daily and are just as important as the skills learned through a
Where do you see jobs in the future for those interested in science,
technology, engineering, mathematics, or medicine (STEM)?
There are so many
opportunities. When I was in college, subjects like environmental
science and musical therapy did not exist. With the advancement of
technology and the miracles of medicine, the future is bright. There are
even programs which offer dual-degrees in unexpected areas like music
and medicine. Anything that one can dream can be achieved through a
What should middle and high school
students be doing to prepare themselves to take on STEM careers?
Donít be afraid to
take the more difficult math and science courses like Calculus and
Physics. Challenge yourselves, be confident in your skills, and fly
alone if you must. There may not always be someone who looks like you in
the class but maybe youíll be a role model for someone else. Find an
educator or counselor whom youíre comfortable with.
How important is mathematics to the work you do?
Mathematics is very
important to the work I do. Our Education Technology group has a group
of highly trained mathematicians who ensure that everything we do is
highly accurate. Since we build calculators, it doesnít matter if the
user is doing basic math, trigonometry, geometry, etc, the answer our
products provide much be correct, each and every time.
What advice do you have for teachers or counselors who are assisting
students who are interested in STEM career?
encourage. STEM courses and careers take a lot of time and focus.
Students will be tempted by peer pressure and will sometimes want to
give up. Let them know you have high expectations and that you believe
in them. We all tend to push the envelope when we know someone is
watching. And hopefully they will also push themselves when they think
no one is looking.