Humans of Robotics: Ni Yang

Humans of Robotics: Ni Yang


It’s that time of year again: school is out and summer is full gear. For recent graduates, this time of year can be particularly exciting. For our next employee spotlight, we want to introduce you to Ni Yang, a mechanical engineer at Vecna Robotics. She has some helpful advice for current students and recent graduates alike.

Make sure to check out our first two employee spotlights here and here.

Ni Yang has been a mechanical engineer on the Hardware team at Vecna Robotics for over a year now. Yang attended the University of Pennsylvania where she studied Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Entrepreneurship. Yang describes her experience at school as “an amazing education as well as an unforgettable cultural experience.” College helped instill in Yang a mindset that you should never settle when you meet a goal, instead you should set a loftier one to meet.

While in school, Yang discovered her passion for automation and robotics. “For one of my final projects in school, we built a fleet of autonomous hockey-playing robots. This project was by far the greatest learning experience of my undergraduate career,” said Yang. “The effort was a culmination of all the skills we learned in the classroom, applied to a physical product. Through this project, I realized my enjoyment in designing not just impressive products, but products that could interact with the world.”

When you’re in school, try and find a mentor or professor who you connect with. Making personal connections with those who have forged a successful path before you is invaluable and will help you grow as a professional. For Yang, she made a connection with her advisor, Dr. Katherine J. Kuchenbecker. Dr. Kuchenbecker brought energy into the classroom that “could engage even the most sleep-deprived student sitting in the furthest corner of the room,” said Yang. Her excitement for a wide range of topics sparked curiosity and a thirst to learn within Yang, making her college experience all that more valuable.

When reflecting on her years in college, Yang wishes she knew that soft skills are just as important as technical skills. According to Indeed, “Soft skills are personality traits and behaviors. Unlike technical or ‘hard’ skills, soft skills are not about the knowledge you possess but rather behaviors you display in different situations.” It’s vital that college graduates understand that it’s not all about the skills you learn in the classroom, but about how you present yourself.

Yang’s final piece of advice for new graduates: “Do not be discouraged if you find yourself unhappy in your first job, you are young and have ample time and opportunity to find a more fulfilling role.”

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