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Raising an Electrical Engineer

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Description

How do you make an engineer? Guest engineer Leyla Yilan shares her thoughts. Leyla is an electrical and computer engineer at chip-maker AMD, as well as a proud parent of two daughters. She tells her story of how she got into the field, explaining the importance of family and friends in pivoting her toward engineering. Then she talks about how she tries to expose her kids to different fields like she was. Also hear Leyla talk about equivalence checking, being a daughter of an immigrant, gendered toys, bringing your daughter to work, and more.

Our closing music is from "Late for School" by Bleeptor, used under a Creative Commons Attribution License.

Listen to the Engineering Word Of The Day podcast. Also check out the book and ebook Engineer’s Guide to Improv and Art Games by Pius Wong, on Amazon, Kindle, Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble Nook, and other retailers.

Subscribe and leave episode reviews wherever you get your podcasts. Support Pios Labs with regular donations on Patreon or by buying a copy of the reference book Engineer's Guide to Improv and Art Games by Pius Wong. Thanks to our donors and listeners for making the show possible. The K12 Engineering Education Podcast is a production of Pios Labs.

Transcript

Pius Wong  0:00 

This is Pius. Just a big thank you to Doug Beeferman, who just pledged donations to this podcast and to my studio Pios Labs at the Engineer level. So Doug, shoutout to you, who makes these episodes possible. And you'll also get a copy of my ebook "Engineer's guide to Improv and Art Games". Now, onto the show.

 

Pius Wong  0:21 

It's August 7th, 2017, and this is the K12 Engineering Education Podcast.

 

Pius Wong  0:32 

What factors influence someone to grow up to be an electrical engineer? Today we explore this question with Leyla Yilan. Leyla is not only an electrical engineer herself, working in the high-tech industry of computer chip design and testing, but she also might be guiding her young daughters toward engineering, too. In fact, she sends her kids to Maker Kids Lab, the after-school STEM program featured a few episodes ago. If you haven't heard that podcast episode yet, go check it out. I spoke to Leyla at the AMD campus in Austin, Texas.

 

Leyla Yilan  1:08 

My name is Leyla Yilan, and I am a single mom of two wonderful, awesome daughters, they are eight and eleven years old. And yep, I'm an electrical and computer engineer here at AMD. My job is: I'm a methodologist, and I work in equivalence checking. So basically, we have two different models that are maybe written differently from each other. And we have to run software that will tell us that they behave the same way. And then where the methodology part comes in is, how do we apply these tools that we buy from industry? And what are safe practices here? And how can we do an official sign-off? And so basically, I tell people how to run the tools that we have to do equivalence checking. So I get to make up things and tell people what to do for a living. Fantastic.

 

Pius Wong  1:54 

That sounds really fancy. You know, electrical engineering always was, to me, when I was first starting to study engineering, was considered the most esoteric and hardcore of all the engineerings, and basically your description is confirming that it's very abstract. If people were listening to what you do, and they weren't familiar with the equivalence checking or something, is there something...

 

Leyla Yilan  2:16 

The way I explain it to people is usually with buildings and with schematics of a building. And I always try to tell people that we know that if you're going to build a new house, you want to have a kitchen and like five bedrooms, and you know, two-car garage, then someone will write all of this down. And then someone will draw you plans, the schematics that you can physically look at and what the layout is. And we have software that will take the written language of what your house is supposed to be. And it will compare to what you actually drew in the schematics and it will tell you whether you missed something. Like you missed one of the bathrooms, or there's an electrical outlet not in the right spot. And then specifically, here at AMD, we do both. We're an Intel competitor. That's usually the easiest way to describe it to people. Although Austinites know AMD has a large presence here. And so we do regular CPU chips, and we do graphics chips, and then we do chips that have both, you know, graphics on the chip itself. And we're in the game consoles, which is a big deal for us, like the PlayStation 4, Xbox, and so please go out and buy those.

 

Pius Wong  3:27 

I've got one. So I'm using your technology.

 

Leyla Yilan  3:30 

That's right.

 

Pius Wong  3:31 

That's awesome.

 

Leyla Yilan  3:31 

And so I work in research and development. So we're working on pre-silicon models of the chip.

 

Pius Wong  3:38 

Okay, and what kind of education did you need to have to do what you do?

 

Pius Wong  3:42 

So traditionally, the the team that I'm in is called CAD, and it's basically we write the software for the hardware engineers to do. And even within my educational path, I had a non-traditional path in that I am trained as a hardware engineer, and I did my undergrad at Michigan State. I'm from Michigan, and I did my graduate work at Purdue. And when I came out of school, I was doing hardware engineering, and I was doing chip design. So I was actually helping to build those models that we talked about. I would read written language, and I would build it physically. And you have to always run these tools in order to prove that the design you built functions correctly. And I really liked doing that. I had done it in college, and I had been the champion on my team, and I was running it for my teammates. And then an opportunity came up about seven years into my career to switch to actually owning the software that would run the equivalence tracking tools. And I took it because that really appealed to me. But traditionally, someone in my role should have an electrical and computer engineering degree. We have a lot of computer science background degrees, basically someone who can do coding. So yeah, I'm not classically trained in coding, but I, you know, play a coder on TV. I learned on my own. Yeah, that was something that you had to learn in order to get through grad school. You needed to be able to code in Perl. So that's predominantly what I use. And then again, if you're the team expert for a particular software, you better know it, because someone's going to come and ask you a question. You have to know.

 

Pius Wong  5:16 

Yeah. How many people are on your team?

 

Pius Wong  5:18 

Here in Austin, there are four of us. My manager is here, and me and two other colleagues. We have one employee in California and one in Boston. And then we have a dotted-line team also in Shanghai.

 

Pius Wong  5:33 

Wow. A lot of people think engineering is, Oh, you're just sitting alone on your computer.

 

Leyla Yilan  5:37 

Oh, God, no. No, we have -- in the US, we have sites in California and Colorado, Austin, Orlando, and Boston. And then we also have a Toronto site. And then we have two sites in India, two sites in China.

 

Pius Wong  5:55 

I can only imagine how you have to coordinate all this stuff.

 

Pius Wong  5:58 

Yeah. And you know, nighttime meetings. Sometimes I have meetings until midnight. Like there was a meeting last night until 11. But single mom, so kids have to get up in the morning. Still me.

 

Pius Wong  6:11 

Could you tell me a little bit about what you're interested in, even when you were a kid? Were you interested in electrical engineering?

 

Pius Wong  6:17 

No, definitely not. So there were fundamental influences on me that made it obvious that I am actually in a scientific field. But my original lifelong goal from fourth grade was: I'm going to be a lawyer, and it's going to be Harvard for me. And so that was, you know, it was a one-track mind. But at the same time -- So my dad is a foreigner. He's from Iran, and he came over in 1969. So he's been here longer than he was ever there. He's very Americanized. And my mom is American. But we were raised in a household that was my brother and I. He's one year older. And I was always told, don't let anyone tell you, you can't do something because you're a girl. So you want to go play that sport? You play that sport. You want to go do theater? You can do theater. And we need to make sure that you know how to do math, and my mom was really heavily involved in making sure that we got our schoolwork done. And my dad was really involved in making sure that I could do math properly. And prior to me being born, he had actually gone to school to be an electrical engineer here in the States. But right before he finished the company he was working for -- an opportunity opened up and they said, Hey, why don't you come be the general manager of these four stores selling clothing, men's suits? And he said, Sure, I've got family now. I've got really, really small children. And that would be a great opportunity. So so he was trained in electrical engineering, but way back, you know, transistor era.  And he went into clothing. And so my whole life it was being kind of in customer service. You are selling. You're in sales. So in my -- high school is when he opened the his own business. So for like 25 years, they've been owning their own business. So one side of me is all about customer service, and how to speak with people and how to sell what it is that you want to sell. So for me, it's my software, right? I need to sell my software to our internal customers. And so, theater and my family background really helped me with being able to speak with people. And having a dad who thought it was really important to learn math helped me to have this fundamental understanding of math and sciences. And I still wanted to be a lawyer. Because I can speak really well in front of people. And I can argue. You can come into my decision, because I'll tell you why. Right? So it made sense for me to go to law. So I went to Michigan State, and they have a special college, James Madison, just for political science, pre-law. And when I went to do placement testing to start college, they told me, You don't need to take any math in college. That blew my mind. What do you mean you don't need to take math? There's no such thing. You have to take math. So of course, I took math anyway. And I started taking the political science courses. Very obviously it was not for me. It was not in my area.

 

Pius Wong  9:14 

What was it about it?

 

Leyla Yilan  9:16 

It was more geared towards political science, and it was not at all geared towards logical mathematical thinking. So it wasn't my area. I didn't have the background. The love for it wasn't there. And I thought, Well, you know what? I'm in college. I really like mathematics. Why don't I become a mathematics major? So I spent the next two years doing all my math and science to be a mathematics major. My goal was to be a professor, and I was going to teach mathematics. Because I also found, starting even in eighth grade, I really liked tutoring people. So I would tutor mathematics in middle school. I was tutoring all subjects in high school. And now I'm at college level, and I took a job tutoring the athletes at Michigan State. So I would spend time -- it was just, I really liked. Great, I'll be a math teacher. And I had a close friend. And she said, you know, you have to go to school a really long time to get your PhD to be a professor in mathematics. Would you want to teach high school level or middle school level? And at that time, now I'm exposed to college students, no, I really wanted to teach at university level. And I said, Yeah, it's not that bad, though. And she said, Well, what if it doesn't work out? What is your fallback? What would you like to do? And I said, Well, I don't know. What is there? She said, How about engineering? Why don't you go look into engineering? I'm like, Oh, well, my dad was an engineer,. That doesn't sound too bad. And I found the requirements for all the engineering. And the ones that required the math and science courses I already took were electrical engineering and chemical engineering, and I don't have a chemistry mind. So I guess I'll be an electrical engineer, because, hey, my dad was an electrical engineer. So I think I'll change my major yet again. Again, in my interest of what I like to do, but still trying to find something that I had passion for.

 

Pius Wong  11:07 

Can I ask what your parents thought about what you were doing, including your dad, especially?

 

Pius Wong  11:12 

I think, because all of the career paths that I chose were higher education, and they were stuff that you could get a job in fairly easily -- Again, you do what you like to do that would afford you to live a comfortable life, so you don't have to ever struggle, and you don't have to -- particularly along the the veins of being a female. You don't have to marry somebody who has money so that you can survive. You can get your own career and decide your own life choices. So, you know, great mathematics professor. Nothing wrong with that. Okay, engineer. Again, nothing wrong with that, right?

 

Pius Wong  11:48 

So they were really supportive.

 

Leyla Yilan  11:49 

They were very supportive, as long as my grades were good, and, you know, I behaved properly. So yeah.

 

Leyla Yilan  11:58 

And even starting out in engineering, t wasn't until my second semester of classes. The first semester was actual circuits. And again, I never tinkered with circuits as a child. I did a lot of Legos, but not the electronic ones. And then I had my digital logics class, where it was -- For folks who know, it's Boolean algebra. It's AND gates and OR gates, and that simple circuit logic that we now use to build everything on our chips, and, like, this wonderful light bulb went on. And it was so intuitive to me. And it was logical. So I always make that joke that I am logical. The reason why I wanted to be a lawyer was because it was logics.

 

Pius Wong  12:44 

Yeah.

 

Leyla Yilan  12:46 

And I remember asking the professor, can I actually get paid to do this? And he looked at me really crazy, because this was the late 90s tech boom. Oh, yes, there is actually quite a few areas that you can go into and be very successful learning this. So I finally found my niche.

 

Pius Wong  13:04 

Would you say that there's a specific type of thinking or type of person who would gravitate towards digital logic or that particular field that appealed to you?

 

Pius Wong  13:12 

I feel like one of the reasons that I like the mathematics that most of us know and are comfortable with --certainly not high level theoretical mathematics, but basic number mathematics -- is, there's an answer. And if you got the wrong answer, you can just look back through and find the mistake and correct it, and now you have the right answer. So digital logic is the same thing. It's not ambiguous. It is deterministic,

 

Pius Wong  13:39 

You can pinpoint exactly what went wrong,

 

Pius Wong  13:42 

Right. Because you know that this gate will function as an AND gate, or this gate is an inverter. So if you only have ones and zeros, your answer can only be a one or a zero. I mean, obviously, there is more -- there's slight more complexity in it, but for the lowest level, it's on or off,

 

Pius Wong  13:58 

What did you do after that class?

 

Pius Wong  14:00 

I tried to take everything in that vein that I possibly could. And I certainly throughout my whole life have had really fantastic influential teachers and professors. And so I had a professor in undergrad who recognized that I had a passion for this and that I really liked this. And he gave me a very simplistic problem, but something that I could do a project on, on the side. And it was my first, kind of, working with an equivalence checking tool. So in undergrad, he gave me something very simplistic. It was just an inverter, which literally says, if I put one in, I get a zero out. If I put a zero in, I get a one out. And he had me model it with a bunch of different models and to tweak the transistor behavior and see which one works the best, and then prove that what you've built actually matches the functionality you want to. And so this was kind of my first dip into that equivalence checking world. And then I went into graduate school, and one of my favorite things about graduate school was being a TA. And the TA class that I got to work, the class that I got to TA for was: You would write up something in a coding language, and then you would build it and then do X number of things. But after you built it, you'd have to run this equivalence checking tool to make sure that it behaves correctly. So it just was kind of an underlying theme that was there. And again, it tells you it's right, or it's wrong,

 

Pius Wong  15:31 

You get a satisfaction.

 

Leyla Yilan  15:32 

That's right. Actually, my job today is very satisfying, because it's instant gratification. People like phone games, or they like to play something because they accomplished a task, and they got it right, and they went on to the next thing. Like, this instant gratification is apparently very personally important to me. So with equivalence checking, a user comes to me and says, My design is dirty. And I'm like, Oh, let me just help you. [mock computer noises]. Okay, now it's clean. Yay, instant gratification. So that appealed to me as a person, as problem solving, and then instant gratification.

 

Pius Wong  16:09 

You talked about being a teaching assistant a little bit.

 

Leyla Yilan  16:11 

Yeah.

 

Pius Wong  16:11 

Would you say that? You use those skills of teaching today as an engineer?

 

Pius Wong  16:15 

Yes. I think that one of the most important things is: You thoroughly can understand a concept if you're able to teach it to somebody else. So definitely, my life of teaching and tutoring helped me just for mathematics, and then getting into graduate school and doing the TA-ship for the specific engineering area in design -- that really helped to solidify and have a great underlying knowledge. And then when I came to start working -- My first job was at Sun Microsystems. And when I worked there, because I had an interest in equivalence checking tools, I became the team expert. And so the other people would do their designs, and they'd hand it to me, and I would do their equivalence checking for them. And so if they had a problem I'd have to explain what their problem was or how I debugged the tool. And again, all the teaching layered on my own knowledge and helped me. You can tell when you're speaking to somebody if they understood it or not. If they don't understand it, you have to try a different way. You have to explain it yet another way, and explain it another way. Tou know, Common Core gets a lot of slack, but the one of the things that came from Common Core, I feel, is different ways to explain the same solution, different techniques that you can use. And if you can explain three techniques for one problem, wow, you really understood the problem, then.

 

Pius Wong  16:26 

I like how you're bringing up Common Core. So you're clearly a parent.

 

Pius Wong  17:38 

Yeah, absolutely. You know, I liked to do teaching when I was younger. I was involved with GirlStart, which is a fantastic program at getting young girls interested in STEM fields.  After I had my own children, it became too hard for me to try to do external from my home. So all my focus came inward. So I think how to sum up my parenting is: I was in a group of colleagues. It was two females and two males. And we were discussing different parenting techniques that I was doing. And I think I was the only parent at the table. And so the other -- the guys didn't get it. And my daughter was very young, maybe three or four. So they were a little bit confused, as, you know, Why are you behaving this way with your child? They're so young. My friend who's also an engineer, she turned to them, and she said, You know how Beyonce is very successful? And her parents raised her from birth, basically, to be an entertainer and a performer, and she's very successful at it? And they said, Yeah. And she said, Leyla is raising her children to be engineers. And they're like, Oh, okay, now I get it.

 

Leyla Yilan  18:47 

Things that I've done with my children, from very, very little is: Use car riding time as a time to interact and explore and pique their curiosity. We would drive down the road and look out, and I'd say, Oh, look, you can see a brown fence, you know, brown, B-R-O-W-N. So everything that I said was a teaching mechanism. When you would describe something, you would immediately spell it, or as they got older, we'd sit in the car and I'd say, Okay, now touch the cloth seat, which is black. Now touch your window. Which one is hotter? Which one is colder? And I mean, I kid you not six years old, we're talking about thermic properties of different materials. They don't know what those words mean, but they can tactically touch. The cloth did not absorb as much heat as the glass did. Or the cloth that was black absorbed more heat than the cloth that was white. These are scientific principles that you will learn much later in life, but they're all around you.

 

Pius Wong  19:43 

You're teaching them concepts. You're not teaching them vocabulary.

 

Pius Wong  19:46 

Well, but I do, but you throw those vocabulary in there. You say, you know, thermic properties, and then you back it up with "hot" and "cold," right, or descriptions. So use the technical words, but then back it up with words that they know. Legos. Legos are such a big part of my children's life.

 

Pius Wong  20:04 

Cool. I love Legos,

 

Pius Wong  20:06 

Legos are awesome. Legos are really amazing.

 

Pius Wong  20:08 

No one is paying us to promote Legos.

 

Leyla Yilan  20:09 

No. And you know, Lego Friends is the "girl model" of Legos. And people really complained because they -- Oh, you made them pink and you put flowers. How dare you do that for girls? Well, you know, when my oldest daughter was born, I had a rule. No dolls, no princesses, no girly toys. Gender-neutral toys only. I want colorful blacks. I want -- When the child gets old enough and asks me for a doll, I will buy her a dolly, but we are not going to start gender-biasing her from birth. That's not fair. I'm not going to do that. If she wants them, she'll ask for them. And people would buy them dolls, and I'd put them away. And my mom was really mad. And I'm like, when she can ask for that, I'll give it to her, but you know, buy her a truck then. Buy her a doll and a truck. So we did a lot of little kid Legos and blocks and learning toys. And my second daughter was born. And we have the joke: She came out a pretty, pretty princess. Like, she's just very graceful, and she likes girly things, and, great. She liked it. She's a princess. Fantastic. Girly, you know, quote, "girly Legos." Absolutely. That is a Lego girl. And she doesn't care that they're, you know, built for her mindset. So what that they built something that has floweries and horses? It also has cell phones and computers.

 

Pius Wong  20:12 

Like, in the end she enjoys it.

 

Leyla Yilan  21:33 

She enjoys it.  And she's building, and at the same time we bought Minecraft Legos. And we bought Lego Batman Legos. And she plays with them all together. She has no concept that these were supposed to be for girls, and these are supposed to be for boys. If she liked flowery princess things, and because of that she now plays with Legos, I don't care. Right? So you shouldn't look at a girl child and say, Oh, you're a girl, therefore you to have girl Legos. No. If the child likes the design of that Lego, buy it for them. She's also really big into Star Wars. She carries around a three foot tall Darth Vader plushie everywhere she goes.

 

Pius Wong  21:54 

I didn't know they sold those.

 

Leyla Yilan  22:16 

They do. She asked for it. And she got it for her birthday. And she takes it everywhere. To me, it didn't matter that it didn't want to push any gender roles on her. But if she was interested in a princess, then we would talk about princesses, but she likes princesses that rescue the prince.

 

Leyla Yilan  22:42 

I think a lot of it is doing early mathematics with them, doing early reading concepts, and just trying to, like I said, make education in everything that you do. Make games out of the world around you. Count things. And then you, yourself, have to do them. If I'm interested in baking, then when I want the girls to come and bake with me, we talk about measurements, and we read the measurements. I'm not going to make them do fractions at two. But by the time my older one could do fractions, then I would ask her, Okay, this says that we need a half a cup, and I've only got a one-fourth measuring cup. So how many do I need? And I would make her do math to assist with baking, not because I was being you know, cruel, but I'm telling her we only have -- the one-fourth cup is clean. If I were going to make this, I know how to do it. You need to know how to do this.

 

Pius Wong  23:35 

You mentioned a little bit of a disagreement with your mom. How would you compare how you are raising your daughters in engineering or to think scientifically versus how you were raised?

 

Pius Wong  23:46 

So for me, again, my brother is one year older. And so I played with his toys. So certainly he was the influence with me with the Star Wars action figures. And he was really into Legos. And so I wanted to play with somebody, therefore we played Legos, right? So he would dictate the games, and I got to play along. And you know, in the 70s and 80s, all of the computer toys were aimed at boys, right? So we would start with him. And then I would play along. But again, my dad never wanted it to be: You're a girl, you can't do that.

 

Pius Wong  24:21 

Okay.

 

Leyla Yilan  24:21 

And even when I was in fourth grade, I don't know where he found this woman who taught computers out out of her home. But we had gotten an Apple IIe. It was our first computer. And he found us private computer lessons. We didn't do it for very long, a short period of time. But it was once a week for an hour. And you know, my brother and I would go, and she would teach us to do simple coding and Microsoft Paint or whatever the Apple equivalent of Paint was. It was fantastic. I loved it. It was so silly. We were going there to write coding, and I'm like, Can I draw and paint now? But if I could get my code done, then she would let me draw animations to go along with my coding. And so it was an incentive. And it was never, We're doing that for your brother, but we're not doing it for you. It was never that way. So I think, again, if you can just expose your children to the idea of curiosity, and watch TV, and then they see you watching these programs, and then they want to become involved. As an engineer, we used to at MD have, Bring Your Child to Work Day or Bring Your Daughter to Work Day. But when the economy started to go, certain programs were cut, and they, you know, they didn't pick that one back up. But before either one of them started kindergarten, on National Take Your Child to Work Day, I would bring them into the office with me. Now I realize, a four year old in the office, what are they actually learning? They're learning that mommy has a job. They're learning that when they look around the building, there are males and females who are doing engineering. I'm very thankful that AMD has a female CEO, Dr. Lisa Su. It was a big deal to me when our company hired her. And I told my daughters, and I was very excited. We had a fall festival here where employees could come and bring their families. And you know, Dr. Su happened to be in the cafeteria when we were walking through, and I marched my daughters over there. And I was so proud to introduce them to her. It helps to explain to them, you can do anything. Look. Your mom is an engineer, and she works for a company who's run by a female. It's a great time to get kids involved in engineering.

 

Pius Wong  26:34 

Do they ask you questions about what you do and who all these people are?

 

Leyla Yilan  26:37 

They do ask me, what do I do. Or they just know that mom is an engineer. But one of my favorite stories with my daughter was at a field trip, we went to a movie. And before the movie, there were all these, like, pre-preview advertisements that run on the screen. And it was a PlayStation, and it was all these different games. We didn't we don't play with video game consoles at home. We do a lot of iPad apps. And so all the kids around her kept saying, Oh, I love that game. It's great. I love it. And she kept slouching lower and lower in her seat because she was embarrassed that she couldn't say anything about the games. And I leaned over and I whispered in her ear, and I was like, you see that game console, that PlayStation? She said, Yeah. I said, Your mommy worked on that. And she sat up really tall and turned and told her friends, My mom built that. And she was so proud that it was something tangible that you can see, that, you know, that's what my mom does. She builds technology that you played a game on, but she built the technology.

 

Pius Wong  26:42 

Is there anything that you think you wish you would have done differently or could have done differently, like, growing up in your education or even how you present this to your daughters?

 

Leyla Yilan  27:56 

So one thing that -- It would have been nice if I would have taken more of interest in doing coding. Like I said, when I was eight, I had first exposure to coding. And I didn't take any coding classes in all of my -- I mean, it was seven years in college, after having switched so many majors. It took me five years for undergrad.

 

Pius Wong  28:17 

Very common now.

 

Leyla Yilan  28:18 

Yeah, usually because you go do an internship. But you know, it worked for me. It didn't matter. It worked for me. Having not had any formal coding classes was a little bit of an inhibitor to me, but it doesn't hurt my job. Now again, I'm very proficient at what I need to do. And one of the things that I absolutely love about working here at AMD is my coworkers and my extended coworkers -- so other CAD, but not on my direct team -- are very good at what they do. So you know, we use instant messaging, and I know who my couple of people are. And I just say, hey, do you have five minutes? I'm trying to get this complex code to work, and it's just not working. And they'll look at -- Oh, you missed dollar sign or, you know, you missed escape or something.

 

Pius Wong  29:04 

A semicolon or something.

 

Leyla Yilan  29:05 

Semicolon, yeah, that one I've been burned by. It's not usually semicolon these days. It's, you know, a backslash. But yeah, same concept, right? And so it would have been better if I had had more formal coding education. And so for the girls, I do want to get them into coding at a young age, and they are doing some Minecraft, and last summer we did Minecraft coding camp. And we do have a product that one of your previous podcasts talked about. We do have the Sparki robot, which I'm very excited -- It's a new product that we have at home. So I'm very excited to get my older daughter involved with working with, you know, coding her robot with her laptop. So that should be exciting. So yes, something that wasn't there for me that I am correcting. What wasn't there for me? I think my daughters are not as happy that I am correcting for them is, I am a big advocate of the Kumon program. Doesn't have to be Kumon. It can be Sylvan Learning. It can be, you go and buy the books yourself. But one thing that I've done is, I don't believe that it is school's job to give my children their full education. I think that there should be some supplementing at home or earlier starting -- I was very adamant that my children read before they went to kindergarten and could do basic mathematics before they went to kindergarten. And I used Kumon as that vessel. And so I had my dad helping me with math and my mom helping me with reading and being a big influence in my education. So for me, I use Kumon as my way to further their education outside of school.

 

Pius Wong  30:37 

Okay. I feel like your story is very rich.

 

Leyla Yilan  30:40 

Well thank you.

 

Pius Wong  30:41 

Coming full circle, because you grew up trying to learn about other things other than engineering. And so I guess you're taking what you learned and now are applying it to your own daughters.

 

Leyla Yilan  30:49 

That's right.

 

Pius Wong  30:50 

Thank you so much for talking.

 

Leyla Yilan  30:52 

Thank you for your time. I really enjoyed it.

 

Pius Wong  30:57 

Thank you to Leyla Yilan, electrical engineer at AMD.

 

Pius Wong  31:04 

For links to things mentioned today, and for transcripts, visit the podcast website, www.k12engineering.net. Please let me know what you thought of the show. On Twitter, you can tweet the show @K12Engineering, or tweet me directly @PiusWong, or you can leave a message on the show's Facebook page. You can also leave a rating and a review on iTunes and Stitcher to help spread the reach of the show. Finally, you can financially support this show and my other projects by donating to Pios Labs on Patreon at www.patreon.com/PiosLabs. If you do donate there, you can get a couple rewards or prizes as my thank you.

 

Pius Wong  31:47 

Our closing Music is from "Late for School" by Bleeptor under a Creative Commons Attribution License. The K12 Engineering Education Podcast is a production of Pios Labs.

 

Pius Wong  32:03 

Hey there. I've got two posts-show notes for you today. One is an announcement that Rachel and I -- remember Rachel, the co-host every so often? Well, Rachel and I, we proposed a session at the upcoming South by Southwest Edu conference for 2018. And the voting period is open. The PanelPicker is open for South by. So what I would love for you to do if you've got an opportunity is check out our proposal. The link is on today's show notes. Click that link, and vote our proposal up. Put the little thumbs up next to our proposal. And remember, our proposal is called Podcasting for Education Meetup. You can search for that or search for our names, Pius or Rachel Fahrig, Pius Wong. And basically, we just want to have an opportunity to gather up all the podcast lovers and educators and producers at South by to talk and collaborate and figure out new ways to teach people, teach kids, or tell stories, or create technology related to this medium. So yeah, please vote for us. The second note that I wanted to say was related to a mini web app that I produced very recently that I just wanted to share. It's nothing official. It's just kind of a toy right now. And it's called Wikipedia Viewer. And I'm building it as an ideation tool. And all it really is is something that helps you free associate using Wikipedia. So let's say you're brainstorming or trying to think about some kind of problem related to pizza. Well, you can go to this web app, which is linked in today's show notes, type in pizza, and click Enter. And it'll immediately search Wikipedia for pizza-related articles and photos. And it'll immediately show up, if you're connected to the internet. And yeah, maybe those cards that show up or those topics that show up will make you think of even things, like pizza toppings or pizza delivery or Pizzagate or whatever is popular on Wikipedia. So check it out. The link again is in today's episode's show notes. Use it and let me know what you think. It's kind of a digital toy, but maybe it'll help you problem-solve, too. Thanks.