Li contributes chapter to recently published book Women in Microelectronics

12/14/2020 Allie Arp, CSL

Illinois ECE Professor Xiuling Li contributed a chapter to the recently published book Women in MicroElectronics, telling her story from a middle child in a working class family in China to her current job at Illinois.

Written by Allie Arp, CSL

Xiuling Li
Xiuling Li

Illinois ECE Professor Xiuling Li, Donald Biggar Willett Professor in Engineering, is an expert in the field of semiconductor materials and devices. She is the Interim Director of the Nick Holonyak Jr., Micro and Nanotechnology Lab (HMNTL) and a Fellow of IEEE, the American Physics Society, and the Optical Society. Because of her expertise and experience, she was invited to write a chapter for the recently published book Women in Microelectronics.

The goal of the book is to share women engineers’ journeys in microelectronics stemming from the invention of the transistor in 1947. Li’s chapter, Nanodevices and Applications: My Nonlinear Career Trajectory, is the sixth chapter in the book and reflects her journey from being the middle child in a working class family in China, to choosing science over literature as a freshman in high school, to her current job at Illinois. Read below for why Li felt it was important to share her story.

What led to you writing this book chapter?
The book explores why and how the women writing there chose their career paths and how they navigated their careers. It wasn’t until the book was published recently that I had the pleasure to meet, over zoom of course, with all the contributing authors. I was completely in awe of their compelling stories and outstanding contributions to microelectronics and I promise you will be impressed to. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to share my career paths also.

What is your goal for your chapter?
We all live our lives within certain boundary conditions set by our society. Everyone’s career trajectory is unique and rightly so. Mine was anything but linear. Changes at every step were not really planned, but always exciting: from a Chemistry degree to a postdoc in Electrical Engineering; from a postdoc to a startup company; from industry to climbing the tenure ladder in academia from assistant to associate to full professor. I am grateful for all the guidance and opportunities that were provided to me by many amazing mentors and friends. I am proud that I embraced those opportunities, overcame fears and turned them into tangible outcomes, while doing the balancing act of family and career. I will be more proud if by sharing my story, I continue to remind myself that anything is possible, and at the same time, help inspire young students to pursue their dream careers, no matter how many conformable zones they have to step out of. 

The book was edited by Professors Alice Parker and Leda Lunardi and published by Springer. Li is affiliated with the Beckman Institute and HMNTL.

Read the original article on the HMNTL site.

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This story was published December 14, 2020.