After graduating in 2012 with a degree in engineering with electrical concentration, Amber Palmer began her career at Texas Instruments, a global semiconductor design and manufacturing company. She spends her days as a Lead Validation Engineer putting new products to the test in the lab.
What does an average day look like for you?
I am responsible for making sure our new integrated circuit chip works both on a functional level and on a data sheet parametric level. I spend the majority of my time in the lab working with bench equipment very similar to that found in the EE labs at LeTourneau. I am tasked with trying to catch all bugs and reporting them back to the silicon designers. There are tests that I run that intentionally let out the magic smoke, which helps our team understand the absolute limits of our device. My job is to break it before the customer does. I want to catch every potential weakness as the parts I work on are the motor drivers for power steering and power breaking in newer automobiles.
What's a high point in your career since graduating from LETU?
For my first two years at Texas Instruments, I was a part of a rotational program. I received a new job assignment every six months that exposed me to a different function within the semi-conductor industry. I was able to work as a product/test engineer, an engineer within a wafer fab, a design engineer, and they even sent me on an international assignment! I spent six months working at one of TI's assembly test sites in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I had always dreamed of working internationally as an engineer, and TI provided that opportunity for me.
Why did you
choose to study electrical engineering?
Honestly, I had no exposure to engineering as a child. During my junior year of high school, my chemistry teacher pulled me aside after class and asked me what I wanted to major in. I said I didn't know. He laughed and told me to become an Electrical Engineer. Naively, I said ok! I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into at the time, but I have thoroughly enjoyed this journey.
your education benefited your position at Texas Instruments?
The LeTourneau engineering department places a strong emphasis on team projects and hands-on learning. Professors don't just teach theory, they expect you to be able to apply it in an actual practical and useful way. This has given me a tremendous advantage when I started in my role as Lead Validation Engineer. I walked into my lab and went, "Oh hey. Look. I'm back in Elab 3. I've got this!"
Before I left LeTourneau, I was determined to paint a mural for my brother floor, the D2 Lions. My RD gave her approval, with one caveat: I had to have it completed before the freshman class arrived that year. Not counting the time it took for the paint to dry, the D2 mural was completed in 19.7 hours. Basically every D2 guy who was a part of Impact helped me finish that mural on time. The mural still stands in D2, and it is one of my favorite things I left behind for future students.
Was there a
particular person who was influential during your time at LETU?
I don't think I can pick just one person that was very influential during my time at LeTourneau. Each and every professor I had helped me become the Engineer that I am today.
do you have for a current LETU electrical engineering student or someone considering electrical engineering?
Current Students: Get to know your professors. They truly care about you. Do not be afraid to strike up a conversation with them. Go to their office during their office hours. Ask them questions. They want to see you succeed. I might be biased, but I truly believe that the EE department hands down has some of the best faculty within the entire university.
Future Students: Are you considering becoming an Electrical Engineer? Do it. Electrical Engineering is such a broad field that you are bound to find your little niche that you enjoy. It's also ok if you don't know exactly what you want to focus on quite yet. Just take the first step and proceed through the open doors.