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Salary: $49,644* Education:
Years in Field: 9 months A.A., Mechanical Engineering Technology
City/State: Providence, RI  

"Know yourself and what you do best. Be strong and don't let what people say affect you. Believe in yourself."

"Don't think of yourself as the only female, you've all chosen to be there. If they don't accept you, it's their loss and your gain because you're there proving yourself right beside them."
Getting Started: Malyphone Khamsyvoravong had always planned on pursuing an education, but didn't know right away which career to settle on. She had been running her family jewelry business, working at additional odd jobs and taking elective courses at CCRI, but Maly wanted to develop a career to earn more money to care for her infant and toddler.

Education: Following her family's wishes, Maly started a nursing program at CCRI but soon found that she didn't like it and began exploring different options. Maly's assessment exams showed that she had a proficiency in mathematics and science and she had always had a fascination with robotics and liked taking things apart and putting them back together. The Mechanical Engineering program at CCRI caught her attention and she decided to pursue it. Maly is currently in the process of completing her degree, but has already gained enough experience to wet her feet in the industry. She now works full-time as an ISO Quality Auditor at Coto Technology earning approximately $28,000 per year, and she hasn't even graduated yet!

Greatest Professional Achievement: Maly's greatest professional accomplishment at Coto Technology is achieving a complete quality audit as a brand new employee while correcting numerous mistakes left by her predecessor, and achieving that goal in half the projected time. She completed what was thought to be six-month project in only three months. Maly is also proud of succeeding so well in a difficult educational program and earning the acceptance of her classmates.

Barriers: Emerging from a traditional Laotian family, Maly faced some cultural barriers in pursuing her education. While her family encouraged going to school, they did not support her choice to major in Mechanical Engineering Technology. They preferred a traditional female path, such as nursing. Furthermore, as the oldest child in her family, she was also expected to focus much time and energy caring for her grandparents and other family members, not to mention raising her own children. While this put a strain on Maly's schedule and emotions, she was certain about her career choice and didn't let these difficulties sway her.

Working with Men: Working with men and attending classes as the only female has not posed a problem for Maly. While she notices that her male counterparts are usually skeptical about her abilities at first, she minds her own business and works to prove her abilities to herself. When they see this, they accept her for what she is: a woman in technology who is great at what she does. For other women finding themselves in predominantly male environments, she advises, "Don't think of yourself as the only female, you've all chosen to be there. If they choose not to accept you, it's their loss and your gain because you're there proving yourself right beside them. Being the only female just makes you more special."

Advice for Women: Maly feels that the most important factor when exploring a career is knowing yourself well and what you do best. She states, "Explore your options to see what you're comfortable with and stick with that. Don't let what people say affect you. Believe in your self. And don't force yourself to do something you don't like because it will be harder in the long run."

Typical Workday/Environment: Maly's job as a quality inspector is very detail-oriented and involves a high volume of paperwork. As the only quality inspector in the facility, she must maintain all component records and make sure production meets quality standards. Maly tours the facility daily and converses with technicians and engineers to troubleshot problems. In a single day, Maly may communicate with over 200 people as well as correspond with the company's facility in Mexico via e-mail. In addition to this, she schedules meetings with other departments to solve problems. Maly reports to upper management necessitating professional dress on the job. She says that problem solving and the ability to think independently are the two most important skills in this line of work.

Career Ladder: As an entry-level quality auditor, you can expect around $25,000 per year to start. Obtaining Quality Engineer Certification may raise your salary to around $40,000 or $50,000 per year. With several years of experience, a management position could earn $60,000+ per year, depending on your level of experience and where you work. Coto Electronics will pay for better certification and training to help employees succeed while remaining at the same company. Researching this option before you hire on with a company could be an important step in advancing you skills in the future.

Professional Associations: American Society for Quality

Hobbies: When not at work or school, Maly likes to spend time with her kids reading, drawing, watching movies or spending time at the park playing or walking for exercise. Maly also enjoys de-assembling her computer or doing Internet research to further explore her career options.

*Annual salary number is not the role model's actual salary. Salary for Technology Inspector based on the latest salary information from Salary.com


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