Enabling the manufacture of innovative devices
A collaborative environment at Georgia Tech prepared him to transition into industry.
After graduating from Woodbridge High School, in Woodbridge, New Jersey, Mena Aioub attended Monmouth University, in Long Branch, New Jersey. He graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry in 2012.
Mena enrolled at Georgia Tech for Ph.D. studies. He received a Ph.D. in Chemistry in 2017. He now works at Intel Corporation. His formal title is Technology Development Module Yield and Integration Engineer.
In this capacity, Mena leads scientific research to enable the manufacture of innovative device architectures. The position involves designing, executing and analyzing experiments necessary to meet engineering specifications for processes.
What is your average workday like?
A typical day starts with “passdown,” a meeting to review any issues from the night before and the plan for the work day. Then I go to the gym, grab coffee, and get to work. When it comes to the content of the job, no day is typical. Things are always changing, which is one of my favorite things about working at Intel.
How did Georgia Tech prepare you for your current position?
I had a lot of opportunities for collaboration and space to learn and grow on my own. This experience enabled an easy transition to contributing at meetings, regardless of how senior other attendees were, from the beginning of my career.
Although I did not collaborate directly with Nicholas Hud, he had the biggest impact on my career because he was a great mentor. He was always available as a sounding board to talk through anything, from papers I was working on to career options or difficulties on the path to graduation.
What has been the greatest challenge in your professional life so far?
The biggest challenge is finding work-life balance. I work in a rapidly changing technology development environment. The factory never stops running and there is always work to do.
It took me some time to find my balance between meeting the demands of work and disconnecting to enjoy a day hike or a week-long vacation. Taking time to recharge allows me to come back and more effectively solve a new set of problems.
What has been the most gratifying experience of your professional career so far?
Working in a highly functioning team with mutually supportive members support is awesome. I had this experience at the beginning of graduate school, and it is refreshing to return to this environment. I know that if I need help or have a question, multiple people on my team would be great resources. This environment increases my productivity and makes me a better team member.
What is the most important thing you learned while at Georgia Tech?
Independence. I had a great support system, but I also had the opportunity to completely drive my education—everything from experiments to collaborations and writing grants—deciding the highest impact and most interesting projects I could work on, and then making them a reality. I gained the confidence to know that given the right resources, I can be successful at addressing any challenges in my career.
What is a vivid memory of your time at Georgia Tech?
Beating Florida State in a football game in 2015.
I am a huge football fan and we weren't having a good year. Football games are an awesome way to feel connected with Georgia Tech and other students outside of academic settings.
After the kick was blocked, the stadium erupted during the recovery and runback building through missed tackles until the touchdown. Storming the field and enjoying a huge upset win was something I will never forget.
What advice would you give to current students at Georgia Tech?
Start applying to internships early to get exposure to a various fields and career paths. Talk to a lot of people inside, but especially outside, of academics to get diverse perspectives on career options. Don't listen to just one person. It is your life and career; find something you love doing and make the most of it.
If you could have taken an alternative career path, what would you be doing instead?
I would have probably gone into business, because I have always liked the nuances of finance and economics. Finance can sometimes be viewed as a world of cold, hard numbers. However, I find it fascinating how human reactions to world events affect market trend.
What’s something about yourself that’s not obvious to your colleagues?
I am a huge fan of travelling. I love going to new places, trying new foods, and learning about new people and cultures.
If you could have dinner with any person from history, whom would you invite?
I would love to better understand how he developed such powerful convictions based on his observations. He stood up to the entire world for his scientific beliefs. Plus it would be cool to tell him that he was right: Earth is not the center of everything. His reaction would be priceless.