Meet a director of product and education at Chibitronics! An interview with #CodingIcon Fay Shaw about research, why selfcare is crucial, imposter syndrome and more

Imagine meeting a nice person who does not know you or your name. How would you describe yourself in one sentence only? Who are you?

Hi, I’m Fay!  I’m an engineer who makes art with electronics.


What is your current position at work?

I am the Director of Product and Education.  


Is there a weird or funny fact for you, that you are willing to share with us?

I used to play roller derby.  


What was your professional dream as a child? What did you want to become when you grow up?

I wanted to be a researcher.  People always asked me about which field.  I didn’t know, but I knew I wanted to find things out.

Fay Shaw in Lab research


How do you manage your life-and-work balance? Is it an easy task for you?

It takes a lot of work!  I find that if I don’t get enough sleep or physical movement, I cannot function.  Eight hours of sleep and at least one walk per day are the bare minimum.  I have two young kids.  If I don’t take care of myself, I can’t take care of others.  I also have a very supportive spouse and I credit our partnership for our sense of balance.


How did your work change in the years? What did your professional development look like?

My work has taken many forms over the years.  My background is in mechanical engineering and in graduate school, I programmed robots.  I found my way into e-textiles, combining my love of engineering and fiber arts.  I worked at Apple as a product design engineer, then in engineering education research at Tufts and now I am at Chibitronics in educational technology.  What is the most difficult part of being a female in technology?

I had severe Imposter Syndrome throughout my undergraduate and graduate education.  Some of it comes from being a woman, but I think most of it came from feeling unsupported. Once I built my support system, I was able to change the narrative.  I wrote more about it here:

Fay Shaw about imposter syndrome


If you couldn’t make a living with your work, what would you do for money?

If I could not make a living sharing paper circuits with the world, I would pursue a career in data science.  I love data and I have earned a certificate in data science.  


You got 3 minutes with your 13-year-old self. What do you say?

You are loved for being your quirky self!  Keep being you! 


Science or arts?

Both!  STEAM all the way!