SEMI is excited to recognize Elizabeth Lee of X-Fab as the SEMI Spotlight on Women Honoree for Q2 2019!
Spotlight on SEMI Women celebrates the many accomplished women who work in the global microelectronics industry. Nominees in the quarterly spotlight include women who are beacons of knowledge, leaders of organizations and initiatives, hidden heroes and innovators in our industry. They are volunteers, protectors, intellectual disruptors and activists. Learn how you can nominate a woman for Spotlight on SEMI Women.
Elizabeth Lee has loved technology from a young age. As a child, Elizabeth once took apart a broken VHS player and managed to repair the device, armed with nothing but a few simple tools and a strong sense of curiosity. After her more than 15 years in the microelectronics industry, it’s clear that this love – along with Elizabeth’s drive, curiosity, and tenacity – has allowed her to thrive in her career and have a significant impact as a leader not only as a quality systems engineer at X-Fab but in her community.
Growing up in a rural Texas town of fewer than 200 people, Elizabeth found opportunities to learn about STEM extremely limited. Although Elizabeth’s interest in technology started at a young age, her first real learning opportunity came during a high-school computer science class. Fascinated by the physics of how computers work, Elizabeth became inspired to pursue electrical engineering at Texas Tech University after graduation.
Elizabeth’s transition to university life was difficult. She struggled to balance life as a young mother with her studies and became frustrated when she saw no career path to electrical engineering. During her junior year at Texas Tech, Elizabeth was ready to move into a different field and requested a transfer into civil engineering. Looking back, Elizabeth sees this moment as a crucial turning point in her life that would eventually propel her into the semiconductor industry. Her academic advisor, also a woman, denied the transfer request and pushed Elizabeth to remain in electrical engineering. The advisor also urged Elizabeth to expand her focus outside of academics and get hands-on experience through undergraduate research.
Elizabeth acted on the advice and found herself performing research at the Texas Tech nanotech center. She also began volunteering with West Texas BEST – a high-school robotics program that engages students in STEM and semiconductor technologies.
Elizabeth has now volunteered for BEST for more than 18 years. She has served on its computer game development board, helping to design games and create rules, and contributed as an author. Elizabeth also served on the South Plains chapter of IEEE as secretary of the board, vice chair, chair, and is now an advisor for the TTU IEEE student brand of WiE (Women in Engineering).
She is also a member of the Industrial Advisory Board of the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at Texas Tech University and the Faculty/Staff committee chair. More recently, Elizabeth participated in SEMI High Tech U (HTU), a STEM immersion program for high-school students, and will serve as an emcee for the third time in an upcoming HTU program.
Elizabeth graduated with a master’s from Texas Tech after her research in MEMS biomedical lab-on-a-chip and quantum mechanics evaluation of AIO2 tunnel junctions. In 2004, she began her journey with X-Fab, where her responsibilities have included sustaining legacy node silicon technologies and developing yield improvement analysis techniques in the areas of silicon and silicon carbide. She was awarded the Technical Ladder distinction of Principal Engineer in 2015.
Today, Elizabeth has more than 15 years of experience in quality, yield improvement, and process integration, all areas that support X-Fab foundry customers with yield and failure investigations. In addition to her technical accomplishments, she represented X-Fab as a Value Promoter, introducing new X-Fab employees to its core values. Over the course of Elizabeth’s career at X-Fab, she has continued to lead key improvement initiatives and dedicate herself to her community.
Cristina Sandoval is manager of Workforce Development at SEMI.