Throughout March, we’ll be posting a series of interviews with NYPA’s female engineers in honor of Women’s History Month. Our first entry features a Q&A session with NYPA Senior Electrical Engineer Mei Lee.
1. How did you enter the engineering field, and how did you decide on your specialty? I attended Brooklyn Tech High School, where I majored in electrical engineering. It was there that I became interested in engineering and saw that electrical engineering was a broad field to grow into.
2. Did you have a female engineer as a mentor? No – there were very few female engineers. Over the years, I would say that I have learned the most from engineers who have a deep knowledge and understanding of engineering: they taught me how important fundamentals are, especially when there is so much evolving today.
3. How many positions have you held at NYPA? One. I am a Senior Electrical Engineer with Energy Efficiency in the Engineering and Design group.
4. What makes you proud to work at NYPA? How long have you worked here? I’m proud to be part of a team of professionals that is dedicated to generating reliable electricity, while preserving our environment. As engineers, we have the ability to develop solutions that affect both today and tomorrow. I have been with NYPA for one year, and I also worked as an intern working in the Generation Planning group during the summer of my junior year in college.
5. What things do you love most about engineering? Engineering really has been a diverse journey for me and I love that I am able to be creative and to work on projects in so many different settings, in both the power and telecommunications field. The systems we build can impact so much in our daily lives.
6. What are the most difficult aspects of your job? What parts do you enjoy the most? The most difficult aspect is managing ever changing priorities…the best part is seeing it all come together.
7. What project that you have worked on are you most proud of? I am proud of the projects that have made an impact to the customer, the end user, the public. Right now I am working on initiatives for emergency generators and LED lighting.
8. What valuable lessons have you learned as your career as a female engineer has evolved? It’s important to be well-rounded and continue to evolve with our customers and our technology. There is always an opportunity to learn.
9. What advice would you offer young women considering engineering as a profession? Learn the fundamentals well so that you can deliver. I would also encourage young women to be proud of their decision and to complete their professional requirements (MS, PE License) in the early years. Down the road, it will be a challenge when juggling both family and career.
10. What is one thing about yourself that most people would find surprising? That I have worked on a such a wide range of projects – from supporting the electrical systems for power plants, hospitals, airport terminals, and even the World Trade Center (both then and now). I have also enjoyed working on telecommunication networks from building out the wireless infrastructure and creating the O&M system needed to rollout a nationwide wireless broadband service.