Mar 18 2024
This woman in STEM keeps AI cool at Meta
By Meta Careers
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When it comes to her career, Grace P., thermal engineer, proudly stands on the shoulders of women who inspire her. Raised by a mother who is an engineer at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab through the University of California, Berkeley, Grace still remembers the Take Your Kid to Work days that unearthed her love of science. “Being exposed to fascinating science projects — visiting poster sessions, asking questions — as early as seven years old is a big reason I became interested in engineering,” she shares. “Having a mom in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) has always been inspiring, and I love now having someone to talk to when I feel uncertain or need advice.”

Following in her mother’s footsteps, Grace pursued not one, but two undergraduate degrees: engineering management at Pitzer College and mechanical engineering at Columbia University. “The programs are designed for people who are interested in engineering and beyond,” Grace explains. “I couldn’t have imagined how helpful it would be to bring non-engineering skills to my technical role at Meta.”

A depth and breadth of projects fuels growth

As a thermal engineer, Grace collaborates with several cross-functional teams — across mechanical, power and sourcing — to design data centers and hardware at Meta and address thermal-related issues that arise. “I work on a variety of projects and partner closely with original design manufacturers (ODMs) to develop new racks, compute platforms, and application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) platforms. Together, we run simulations and analyze the test data. I’m always thinking of the big picture, from lead time to budget. It’s important we have a broad understanding of the field to make decisions.”

Another core part of Grace’s role is working on liquid cooling hacks, which has led to a high-impact project she’s particularly proud of. “Our air-assisted liquid cooling (AALC) helps power the high-power IT systems at Meta,” she explains. “With the growing focus on AI and the emergence of high-power components that are needed to support it, our liquid cooling rack is critical to cooling these components. We enable teams across Meta to train and develop AI more efficiently.”

As someone who is starting off in her career, Grace takes every chance to maximize opportunity. “Meta is an especially great place to begin a career,” she says. “When I joined, I was entrusted with several responsibilities and got to drive a high-impact project. It was difficult, but I had a lot of independence and grew quickly because of the experience. My job has breadth and depth, and I’m never just working on one thing — I’m currently touching 10 different programs. I think that’s pretty unique.”

“The culture at Meta is amazing — people are so open and kind. I appreciate how the company focuses on supporting teams.”

Women helping women in STEM

Grace is quick to credit the people who have empowered her to put her best foot forward. “I have amazing mentors and a close relationship with my manager,” she shares. “We talk about the work I’m doing now, and what I want to do in the future, such as becoming a people manager. I’m grateful to have transparent communication with my teammates, and I have so many role models to look up to at Meta. An example, the VP of my organization is a woman, and her presence makes me feel more confident about my own career journey.”

“Having supportive female mentors in STEM has made a huge difference in my life and career. It inspires me to be a leader one day.”

Another female powerhouse that has shaped Grace’s life is none other than Taylor Swift. Engineer by day, musician by night, Grace is a member of the Piettes, a band she founded with her two sisters. “We grew up writing, producing and playing instruments together — I play piano, guitar and drums — and Taylor Swift was a huge inspiration. She showed me that young girls can write songs.”

Grace standing in a recording studio with her two sisters, all holding guitars

Writing — whether it’s lyrics or code — is not the only place these two parts of Grace’s life overlap. “Learning how to engineer and to produce music both meant learning a new system and embracing trial and error,” she says. “When I joined Meta, I didn’t have much coding experience but jumping in and doing it is the best way to improve. Music and development are both highly collaborative and fun when you have an awesome team (or band).”

Grace has been touched by her team’s enthusiasm for her dreams outside of work. “My teammates are my biggest fans. They encourage me to find balance and always ask when my next single is coming out. We released a song called ‘Fears’ this year, which is about the young adult experience — figuring out life, leaving college and finding a career. We have a lyric, ‘scary things make us grow,’ and that’s been my biggest lesson. Go for the intimidating opportunity. There are people around you cheering you on.”

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