It is the final day of National Inclusion Week (NIW), and in our blog series so far we have explored how Arm Research is striving to put inclusion at the forefront, and have spoken with three colleagues about their career paths. Take a look at parts one and two. Here, we continue our interviews with those in Research, finding out what inclusion means to them, and how their non-traditional career paths have influenced their thinking today.
Gustavo originally intended to study either physics or philosophy – quite a difference to his current role in the Security team as a Staff Research Engineer. When registering for university, Gustavo came across a new computer science program in his hometown, Cordoba, Argentina, and applied. His education and career have led him to travel the world. He studied his PhD at INRIA, Sophia Antipolis, a postdoctoral fellowship at DePaul University in Chicago, and his first permanent job in academia in Paris, France. Gustavo’s focus naturally shifted toward a mix of theory and applied research, prompting him to reconsider his choice to stay in academia. This coincided with a great opportunity in Arm Research, and he switched gears.
What does inclusion mean to you, and in your opinion, why is it significant?
‘To me inclusion means that regardless of background, life choices, or whatever other differences, nobody should feel excluded, unheard, or suffer from discrimination, be it conscious or not. I believe that inclusive spaces are necessary to have diverse, fair, and healthy teams and workplaces. Sometimes inclusion means creating the mechanisms necessary for others to express and have their views and interests acknowledged, and sometimes it means expressing our own. I also think representation is an important aspect of inclusion, and, in my opinion, one in which our industry has a lot of work to do. I think my personal experiences have helped me be more aware and proactive in trying to create more inclusive spaces whenever I can, while recognizing that learning about our biases and blind spots is a continuous process that needs constant attention, self-reflection and calibration.’
How have your experiences in previous roles aided your current role?
‘When I started my PhD, I was super nervous and anxious before giving a talk in front of an audience. Teaching at the university for several years made a lot of that anxiety disappear. I do not know if I am a better speaker now, but I am certainly a less stressed one. The peer review process of science has also taught me to receive and provide criticism in a constructive and helpful way. And finally, when it comes to inclusion, having been both a student and a professor at very diverse public institutions has helped me be much more aware of my own biases, to attempt to create more inclusive spaces, and to be humble about the things that I do not yet know.’
What advice would you give to someone considering a career change?
‘I think that in our field we are, for better or worse, very privileged since there are probably more jobs than people qualified for them. This gives a relatively good safety net on which to experiment with different career paths. I believe that there are a lot of assumptions about how different a career in industry vs. academia are, and in my specific case I do not think these assumptions are always valid. Working in Arm Research allows me certain freedom to define which projects I want to work on, and I can always find interesting creative work to do. I can also maintain some of my academic collaborations and attend conferences and workshops, where I get to interact with other researchers in my field. I have also been exposed to a lot of new technologies and interesting problems that I would not have been aware of in academia. With that said, there are places for both academia and industry in my heart. As for advice on transitioning, I would say that sometimes taking a little risk is the only way to move forward.’
Kathrine has always been interested in applied mathematics, and has an undergraduate degree in the subject, along with biology. She obtained her PhD in Integrative Biology at the University of Texas at Austin, studying the ecological and evolutionary impacts on species ranges and biodiversity patterns, involving large national-scale datasets and spatial modeling. She then moved in a postdoctoral researcher role at the USDA Agricultural Research Service, working on understanding the potential of cellulosic biofuels from switchgrass and long-term sustainability with climate change. Next, she became an ecologist for the USDA NRCS, looking at the impacts of voluntary and government-subsidized conservation practices on cropland. Even though Kathrine has an extensive background in biology, her goal has always been to answer complex applied research questions that help make the world a better place, and is. currently working on creating machine learning applications to increase the efficiency of verification. At Arm as a Machine Learning Researcher, she works on creating machine learning applications to increase the efficiency of Arm's engineering processes, where similar techniques can be applied.
What does inclusion mean to you?
‘Inclusion to me means acceptance of the thoughts and ideas of all others.’
What made you move into the technology industry?
‘I moved to the technology industry for two reasons: First, I wanted to work with like-minded people that were using state-of-the-art techniques. Second, I realized that technology companies can have a big impact on many of the environmental issues that I am passionate about, such as climate change, world hunger, species diversity, sustainability, and many more.’
How have your previous experiences aided your current role?
‘I have learned many technical skills, but also learned how to communicate my research findings to different types of audiences. This is a skill that I am continuing to learn, and I can always use. Research results mean nothing if you cannot communicate your findings into actionable items that make improvements.’
What advice would you give to someone considering a career in the industry?
‘Do not worry if your resume does not look like the typical job candidate. Ordinary might not be what technology companies are looking for.’
Jose’s work in our Austin office (currently home-office!) Encompasses his technical contributions in architecture and his passion to foster external collaborations with academia. His background is diverse, with experience in electrical engineering and computer science, software and hardware, as well as academia and industry. Before becoming an expert in his field, Jose studied Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, starting his career in Argentina doing software development and teaching Digital Design. Jose’s career path may seem ‘typical’ of a research engineer, but his industry internships in both product development and research groups have given him insight into the whole technological workflow.
What would you say to someone considering a similar career?
‘A research career in industry is especially gratifying because it provides the dual satisfaction of impacting real products and contributing to academic research in multiple ways: publications with Arm colleagues and academic collaborators, participation in funding consortia, service in program committees and professional organizations, and so on. Inclusion is very important in my work environment because it means accepting and providing equal opportunities and respect for everyone, regardless of their differences in background, physical characteristics, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, or political and religious opinions. Inclusion is much more than simply avoiding discrimination. It means building a healthy work environment where everyone is treated fairly and respectfully, can fully contribute from the richness of their diverse traits, background and experiences to the common goals of the organization, and gets fair recognition.’
Achieving true diversity and inclusion does not stop at ensuring there is equality in the workplace, with minority groups represented, and providing equal opportunities to all. It is also shaped by our own colleagues’ insight and experiences, whether that is in where or what subjects they have studied, how their careers have developed, or their professional and personal perspectives in their role today. It goes beyond a strategy, and while it is developed from the top down, it is fostered from the bottom up. That is what makes us different, and it is our responsibility to celebrate our differences.
National Inclusion Week ends today, but we are always striving for continued improvement. Discover more about what it truly means to be inclusive and reach out to friends and colleagues to celebrate inclusion.
Explore National Inclusion Week