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SMP Kalaiselvi

Research Fellow

National University of Singapore

And - Consultant

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If you are someone who is fascinated by STEM, embrace the opportunities available around you.

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WHAT DO YOU DO?

I am currently a research fellow at SSLS, NUS with 12 years of experience in X-ray, UV lithography and Visible, NIR, FTIR spectroscopy. I had successfully delivered a number of industrial and academic research projects based on X-ray and UV lithography for MIT (USA), Intel (USA), SIIX (Japan), NUS, NTU and A-star research institutes and has patents and publications as a first author as well as co-author. I had also received multiple awards during my PhD studies for excellence in research. My major work focusses on the development of 3D micro-manufacturing technology using Synchrotron facility. Additionally, as a consultant for industrial collaboration, my work also focusses on migration from ideas to design, development and into manufacturing, for process transfer from X-ray lithography to industrial manufacturing, enabling high scale mass manufacturing, to cater industrial requirement. Synchrotron despite its advantages, is too expensive for industrial applications, therefore, based on my extensive experience in X-ray lithography, I ventured into development of a miniature, portable, plasma-based X-ray source which can cater for industrial applications and successfully demonstrated X-ray lithography using miniature plasma-based X-ray source.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS FIELD?

As a fresh engineering graduate, I started my career as a design engineer. In order to rise up the career ladder, pursued a master’s degree at NTU. Upon completion, joined NUS as a research assistant at a marvelous research facility called Synchrotron Light Source. Inspired by highly talented pool of Scientist working there, I pursued my PhD degree to become one among them. Today, I am pursuing my dream career of being a research Scientist and working with the same pool of Scientists who inspired me to become one. I also completed my MBA with the interest in commercializing the research ideas and participating in the business aspects of it.

HOW DO/DID YOU TACKLE OBSTACLES?

There were number of obstacles in managing work and studies while managing the family. I took the help of my greatly supportive parents who helped me managing my kids in their younger years. I was fortunate to have them, I could completely entrust the health and wellbeing of my kids to them. I was also very fortunate to have immensely supportive friends and colleagues who always lifted me up and cheered me up during my most difficult times. In conclusion, I could say that I could overcome my obstacles through the network of supportive family and friends that I had.

WHAT DO YOU LOOK AT & THINK, "I WISH YOUNGER ME WOULD HAVE KNOWN THIS WAS POSSIBLE?"

During the early years of my career, I was not aware of the mentorship options available. I sometime wonder if some sort of mentorship might have made my journey less difficult.

WHY DO YOU LOVE WORKING IN STEM?

STEM is something that fascinates me on a daily basis and something that I look forward to when I wake up. It also gives the opportunity to interact and socialize with peers in STEM initiative through various events and programs.

BEST ADVICE FOR NEXT GENERATION?

If you are someone who is fascinated by STEM, embrace the opportunities available around you. It’s a great way to empower yourself and you will never regret.

INSPIRATION

I derive my inspiration from every single person that I meet. There is always something to learn from everyone. If I were to quote one specific person, it would be former Ms. Universe from India, Ms. Priyanka Chopra. She is the most confident person that I had ever seen. She has shown the world and lives as an example that sky is the limit for anyone who wants to pursue their dreams. She broke all the stereotypes and ventured into unconventional ways and means to reach her multitude of achievements while not forgetting her roots.

Last but not least, I also get inspired by my two kids. They see positivity in every situation and make any circumstance favourable for them.

A quote that always help me keep going is,

“Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations”.