Mechanical Engineering

Chi-An Wang’s Dream Job

Chi-An’s work may lead to better treatments and care for people with life-threatening illnesses. She’s a mechanical engineer who helps to ensure the quality of state-of-the-art medical devices called GeneChip DNA probes.  These highly sensitive probes can be used to detect certain diseases and may radically change how they are diagnosed and treated.

Where she works
Chi-an works at Affymetrix, a biomedical company, in Sacramento, California.

An earlier biomedical job
“I worked for a company that made devices for open-heart surgery. The job was very hands-on. I helped test tools that surgeons use to position the heart. Amazing stuff to think about!”
Designing a running shoe for New Balance
As a mechanical engineering student, Chi-An had an extraordinary opportunity: she collaborated with the athletic product company, New Balance, to design a new shoe for triathlon runners. Chi-An, who is herself a runner, realized that triathletes lose valuable time in the transition from cycling to running. Her ingenious design allows the runners to switch shoes quickly and with much less effort.

Watch her video!
Watch a video about Chi-An and the design of her running shoe.

Essential skills: creativity and communication
“Creativity is no doubt one of the major building blocks of a good engineer. An engineer’s goal is to solve a problem or design a system that has never been built. The more creative you are, the more possible solutions you'll come up with. Communication is also key. It doesn’t matter how good your work is—if you can’t communicate it, it’s not going to be very useful.”

What got her interested in engineering:
“I was a biology major, but then I saw the kinds of hands-on work engineers get to do. You learn to think analytically, and you learn to problem-solve. With an engineering education, I could get a job in lots of different fields.”

B.S. in mechanical engineering, MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Chi-An runs triathlons and other races, and coaches. She loves traveling, mountain-biking, swimming, and kayaking.

  • Aeronautical/Aerospace Engineer
  • Bioengineering/Biomedical Engineer
  • Chemical Engineer
  • Civil Engineer
  • Computer Engineer
  • Electrical Engineer
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Industrial Engineer
  • Materials Engineer
  • Mechanical Engineer
  • Special fields and Interdisciplinary Engineer