There are lots of factors that determine someone’s career path.
For example, Laura Lund always had a penchant for math and logic. This mom of six already had a degree in health education when she decided to go back to school and study computer science. She joined Tandem two years ago as a software engineer.
Then there’s Jessica Kygar, a software test engineer supervisor, who is living with type 1 diabetes. Her early interests in psychology opened the door to her career in software testing, and her passion for helping others living with type 1 diabetes brought her to Tandem.
Priya Singh, a senior systems software engineer at Tandem, thought her future would be in marketing — until an information systems course piqued her interest.
The common thread these women share is that they have found a home at Tandem and are thriving as engineers in what was once a male-dominated profession. We’re spotlighting this trio of innovators in honor of International Women in Engineering Day (June 23) and are grateful for all they do to improve the lives of people with diabetes.
How have you seen the industry shift over the last few years?
Jessica Kygar: When I started with Tandem in 2016, the software test engineering team had a strong female presence. That is still true today with all five of our Leads/Managers being women, along with other women leading teams. Recently, I have noticed more women joining our software engineering team as well as the mechanical engineering team.
Priya Singh: Technology has really become a fundamental part of our everyday life. The advancement is just mind-blowing. I mean, I remember when phones were literally used to make a phone call at home and nothing else. Now, we have the internet at our fingertips and our phones are on the go with us. And that’s just one example of technology advancing. I’ve also seen more and more women in technical fields, which is incredible and something I love to support.
Laura Lund: I’ve only worked in the industry for two years, but I did notice a positive change in the demographics of my computer science program (graduated in 2019) as compared to my previous experience. My 2019 cohort was about 25 percent female and I had multiple female professors. During my first degree, I was usually the only female student in my engineering classes and I had no female engineering professors.
Where do you see women in the industry in another decade?
Priya Singh: I’m hoping that female representation in engineering is at least 50%, if not more. Particularly, women taking on engineering roles and not the ones working behind the scenes to keep the engineering teams running — which is still a very important and critical role.
Laura Lund: I hope to see more women in engineering and other highly technical roles. I also hope to see more women in technical leadership positions.
Jessica Kygar: If it continues at this pace, I could see more women throughout all the engineering fields here at Tandem.
What inspires you about your work?
Laura Lund: I find great satisfaction in solving real-world problems that affect our end users. I love the weekly updates we get in which customers share how Tandem makes a positive impact on their health and in their lives.
Jessica Kygar: Our customers inspire me. I enjoy reading Instagram posts, blogs, or feedback emails about people’s experiences with our devices. It is truly incredible how much our products are helping people in their everyday lives. One that has stuck with me was a parent’s comment that simply stated how she was able to sleep through the night for the first time since her child was diagnosed with type 1, all thanks to the Control-IQ® technology algorithm. I am honored to be a part of a team that works so hard to make the lives of others better.
Priya Singh: There is so much. The mere fact that at the end of the day we are working to improve the lives of people with diabetes and make the management of this disease easier for these patients truly fuels me. I take pride in reading comments on social media or reading emails about how Tandem has helped someone manage their diabetes. That alone makes me strive to be as detailed and precise as possible in the work that I do.
Laura and Priya — how have you balanced work along with motherhood?
Laura Lund: It can be difficult to juggle a career like software engineering with the responsibilities that come with raising a family. A skill that I’ve honed over the years is time management. I am particularly fond of a concept called Timeboxing. I set aside a block of time on which to focus on a particular task or category. Timeboxing also works well for tasks that have no marker of completion, such as continuing education or something as mundane and eternal as laundry.
Priya Singh: I’m a wife and mom of two lovely babies (Zara, 2 and Kian, 10 months). Being a full-time working mama certainly has its challenges. Somedays I’m not sure how I balance it all. Making sure that I am available for them and spending ample time with my little ones is equally important to me as it is to be career driven.
Jessica, what advice would you give to women looking to get into engineering?
Jessica Kygar: It might be a little bit of a cliché, but don’t give up. Don’t be afraid to jump at those chances. It still might be a male-dominated field, but the industry is evolving and there are going to be more and more opportunities. I think Tandem has really embraced that representation of women in all of the STEM fields.
A big thank you to Laura, Priya, and Jessica for being such an inspiring part of the Tandem family and sharing their stories with us.
From time to time, we may pass along suggestions, tips, or information about other Tandem insulin pump user experiences or approaches to the management of diabetes. Please note, however, individual symptoms, situations, circumstances, and results may vary. Please consult your physician or qualified healthcare provider regarding your condition and appropriate medical treatment. Please read the Important Safety Information before using a Tandem Diabetes Care product.
Responsible Use Control-IQ Technology
Even with advanced systems such as the t:slim X2 insulin pump with Control-IQ technology, users are still responsible for actively managing their diabetes. Control-IQ technology does not prevent all high and low blood glucose events. The system is designed to help reduce glucose variability, but it requires that users accurately input information, such as meals and periods of sleep or exercise. Control-IQ technology will not function as intended unless all system components, including CGM, infusion sets and pump cartridges, are used as instructed. Importantly, the system cannot adjust insulin dosing if the pump is not receiving CGM readings. Since there are situations and emergencies that the system may not be capable of identifying or addressing, users should always pay attention to their symptoms and treat accordingly.