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Get to Know Intel’s SWE Award Winner Erin Carroll, Senior Director PC Experiences

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Tell us a little bit about what you do and what a typical day looks like. 

I have the unique opportunity to lead several internal and external initiatives around PC experiences – in a nutshell, how we (Intel) can work with our external partners to deliver the best PC experiences on the planet. Every day is a little different. The work I do involves a lot of relationship building, as well as setting direction, shifting mindset and culture and driving change both internally and externally. 

You recently received a patent. What is the impact your patent may have? 

This patent is a way to use computer vision to distinguish between adults and children based on their bone structure. The reason this matters is that we worked on this idea as part of a home security application. There are lots of reasons you may want to know there is an unattended child around the home, especially if it’s in an unsafe area (like a home pool). Technology like this is one of the ways AI can have an impact on safety, prevent accidents and save lives.  

Did you always know you wanted to work in technology? How did you decide to go into engineering? 

Growing up I had two engineering role models – my cousin Stacy, a mechanical engineer who showed me what a strong female engineer looked like, and my dad, who was always teaching me new things to do on the computer. I wouldn’t say I always knew I wanted to work in technology, but I liked learning new things, solving problems and creating something out of nothing. So, I decided to give it a shot and I’m very thankful I did. 

Do you notice a lack of women in technology? If so, why do you think that’s the case? 

Yes and no. I notice it, especially when I’m looking for role models above me. But its not something I fixate on. I think there are a lot of different aspects to diversity, and gender is just one of them. My aspiration is to become an Intel Vice President, and one of the reasons I aspire to that position is to show others that its possible and be the role model for others that I haven’t always had for myself. 

I think there are lots of reasons for a lack of women in tech. Fewer role models, less awareness of opportunities in tech at a young age, perceptions (and in many cases reality) that you can’t be a good mother and have a demanding career, etc.  

Many women in the tech industry feel that their gender has affected the way they are perceived or treated. Have you also felt this and how did you handle it?  

One memory that sticks out to me is when I was a new engineer at Intel, my boss and I ran into a colleague of his in the hall on the way to a meeting. His colleague jokingly asked him if it was “Bring You Daughter to Work Day.” That didn’t feel good. I think for me it’s always been about believing in myself, putting myself out there, and listening to my intuition. 

There are many self-identified introverts in the tech industry. Are you one and if so, what is the most difficult thing about being an introvert in this field?  

Ha! I am an extreme extrovert. I’ve made a conscious effort to educate myself on the differences between introverts and extroverts to improve on my ability to be an inclusive leader. And a better spouse. 

What advice would you give to a woman considering a career in the tech industry?  

I would say to get out of your own way. Don’t question yourself so much. Trust your instincts and intuition, it’s part of the value you bring. We need more diverse perspectives in tech. We need people to question things, push on things and introduce new ideas. “Don’t make yourself small so others feel more comfortable.”