Whitney Giaimo

DFX Engineer II at Microsoft

Seattle

Class of 2013, Electrical Engineering major


Business is booming in Seattle’s tech industry. But while the city is a gold mine for technology careers, women remain underrepresented in the workforce. Women hold about 30 percent of technology jobs, according to diversity reports published by the world’s 11 largest tech companies last year.

As a Microsoft engineer working on projects for the Surface Book and HoloLens, Whitney Giaimo enjoys being one of the voices that can bring different perspectives.

“I think having a diversity of people really enriches engineering and technology. I can have a voice in driving how the product goes,” she says.

Giaimo is a DfX Engineer II, which stands for “Design for X,” a problem-solving method for product development. In Giaimo’s case, she works with the engineers who lay out circuit boards to help make sure Microsoft designs can be manufactured on a large scale. That includes sustainability — in fact, Giaimo returned to Seattle Pacific after graduating with an engineering degree to earn a Master of Arts in Management with an emphasis in Social and Sustainable Management (MAM-SSM).

Now, she comes back to campus to speak to students. In her free time, she also serves on SPU’s GOLD Alumni Council and volunteers with her church at the Salvation Army and a nonprofit restaurant in Renton called Luther’s Table.

“We don’t just develop engineering skills,” says Melani Plett, professor and chair of engineering, who once recruited Giaimo as a research assistant. “We want our students to develop servant leadership. We view engineering as service.”

— Beth Douglass

How does your time at SPU connect to what you’re doing today?

The engineering world and technology changes so fast that learning how to learn is really the most important thing. I think SPU and both the engineering and UScholar programs really prepared me for learning new things, communicating effectively, and giving me the base engineering knowledge that I’ve needed.

Which SPU faculty or staff member made a difference in your education?

I would say the main professor who made the most impact on me as a person and engineer is Dr. Melani Plett. I worked closely with her on her grant research project and had several classes with her. She always went out of her way to help with classwork, as well as leading our women in engineering mentor.

What advice would you give to current SPU students?

Don’t stress out so much about your first job. If you’re in a job you don’t like, you should stay for at least a year.