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Women in STEM: Seung-Yi Lee

In this series, we interview women at Aiforia sharing their experience of working in STEM. Meet Seung-Yi Lee, our Field Application Scientist!
Written by Aiforia

Interview_Seung-Yi Lee

How long have you been at Aiforia, and what do you do?

Seung-Yi: I've been working at Aiforia for about six months. I am a Field Application Scientist, so I mainly educate our customers on our cloud platform, onboard them on how to use our products, and help them troubleshoot any issues they may have. Ultimately, I assist them in reaching their research goals by building an AI model that aids in answering their research question. 

What is your background?

Before joining Aiforia, I got my Ph.D. in Biophysics from the Medical College of Wisconsin, where my research focused on the development of MRI methods and their application in characterizing imaging signatures of spinal cord injury and evaluating therapeutic approaches. The ultimate goal of the study was to enhance the diagnosis and prognosis of cervical spinal cord injuries using noninvasive MR imaging and animal models. This is where I learned more about AI and its applications in a research lab. 

What challenges do you face as a woman in science? 

There are a lot of challenges for women in STEM, most of which are well-known at this point. It often takes a lot more for women to prove themselves in the workplace. Microaggressions also play a large part. These subtle remarks make women less confident in their abilities. We have to say the same thing twice, and even then, it is poorly received. If my male colleague were to propose the same idea, it would be a more valid topic of discussion. It’s tough for me because sometimes I don't know if it's because what I said was not meaningful or because I'm a woman of color. I’ve had experiences where if these microaggressions are pointed out, then I become the “troublemaker”. 

What is it like to work at Aiforia as a woman in science and technology? 

It's very refreshing to see a lot of women at Aiforia managing and leading their projects and taking on leadership roles. There is an excellent ratio of men to women, so I don’t feel overpowered! In our discussions, we focus on how to help our customers better and improve the product. It feels like everybody is contributing to a common goal. 

What advice would you give to women wanting to start a career in science?

Being educated on how women are disadvantaged in STEM can help you identify if you are in an inappropriate situation. But just some general advice, you must do what you love. Do what you love to do, and go for it if you’re passionate. No one can deny genuine drive and talent.

If there ever comes the point when you feel someone is discriminating against you or making you feel uncomfortable, it's crucial to take action. Sometimes things happen too quickly, and you don't get to respond, but don't let it go. Take your concerns to higher leadership and make sure steps are taken so that this behavior doesn't repeat. It’s essential to change the culture to include you better!

What is your favorite part about your job?

I just love the problem-solving part of my job. All of our customers come to us with fascinating and unique problems. Each day on the job feels very different, so sometimes you need to get creative to make the solution more helpful or user-friendly. I am lucky that Aiforia Create is such a powerful tool! I can always provide a solution for our customers because of it. I also love interacting with our customers. They are all brilliant and genuinely curious people who provide me with much-needed human interaction.

What do you do for fun?

Right now, I’m learning Chinese in my spare time and thinking of getting into something more physical and competitive, like martial arts or boxing!


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