Alumni

Mary Bui-Pham

When Mary Bui-Pham completed her Ph.D. in chemical engineer-ing at the Jacobs School (’92), she never dreamed she’d be known as "the fixer" at a major online media company. Now, she is the Chief-of-Staff for Publisher Products, a division of Yahoo!, Inc. that includes Yahoo.com, Yahoo Finance, Yahoo Sports, Tumblr, Flurry, and Polyvore. "I manage all the day-to-day operations for Publisher Products. If there’s a football game on and something glitches on the Sports app, I imme-diately get a text from my siblings in Chicago about it. Chicagoans are always on top of that!"


What has your career path been like?

I received my Ph.D. in chemical engineering from UC San Diego in 1992, and then went on to do two postdocs. During that time, I was doing com-putational modeling of flames, and we had a big multi-lab/university project that was going to be part of Supercomputing ’96…the no-tion of distributed computing was very new at that time. I realized that in the labs, we have more Ph.D.s per square foot than anywhere else, and we’re great at doing research — but not at technical project management. Nonetheless, that was the role in which I found myself, since there was a need for someone to organize and manage projects. Because of that, I took a job at NetGravity, which later merged with DoubleClick and then Google.


Do you feel like the skill set you possess was nurtured at the Jacobs School?

Absolutely. I was trained to use data to make decisions. My time at the Jacobs School also taught me perseverance; months of grueling work

Mary Bui-Pham

taught me that there’s no problem that’s not solvable. That’s how my brain works now — I’m not afraid of big problems.

The Jacobs School is all about innovation and investment, and that story is more compelling now than it’s ever been. I can’t wait to see how the Dean’s Experience Engineering initiative will prepare students for the real world. The more prepared they are, the more valuable they will be, and nothing beats experience in that respect.

Read more: bit.ly/bui-pham


Shraddha Chaplot

Shraddha Chaplot

On Twitter recently, Shraddha Chaplot (BS, electrical engi-neering ‘08) celebrated her 10π birthday, a milestone that high-lights her love for numbers and math. It also highlights something else: Chaplot’s passion for highlighting the opportunities that engineering and information technology careers can provide.

As a Jacobs School undergraduate, Chaplot spent a summer work-ing on a team of engineering students at Cisco where they fo-cused on the energy efficiency and power management of Cisco products. Chaplot and her teammates were hired through the Jacobs School’s Team Internship Program. When Chaplot grad-uated from UC San Diego, Cisco hired her full time; and she joined a team that tested products to ensure they were usable by peo-ple with disabilities. Chaplot is now part of Cisco’s Corporate Social Responsibility team. She also serves as a motivational speaker.

While her interests in mathematics and mechanics were nurtured when she was very young, Chaplot encourages others to consider en-gineering or information technology even if they are coming to the field later in life. “It’s never too late to get involved with IT and network-ing,” she writes in a Cisco essay posted on the Huffington Post website. In her speeches, Chaplot talks about the power of indi-viduals— s omething she says everyone should exercise. “I have been an individual contributor during my time at Cisco, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. We have the power to show how a combination of the brain and heart — good ideas and a desire to make the world a better place - can transcend any title you have.”

Read more: bit.ly/Chaplot

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