PETALING JAYA: Rupa Shanmugam has been interested in science and technology since her childhood days in Kampar, Perak.
Today, she is the president of leading US-based technological firm, SoPark Corporation, a company with about 80 employees which she would take ownership of later this year.
For her achievements, Rupa was last month awarded with the Women in Leadership Honoree by a New York-based women’s empowerment organisation, the Buffalo Niagara Chapter of NYS Women, Inc.
Among others, the company manufactures circuit boards, electromechanicals as well as provides custom cable assemblies and design services to the medical device industry.
STEM, or the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, has traditionally been male-dominated.
But Rupa’s father, a physics teacher, had pushed her interest in STEM.
“He encouraged me to pursue a career in electrical engineering as I displayed interest in the field when I was young,” she told a local New York paper in an interview recently.
“I had helped him around the house with the wiring, plumbing and carpenting. He even called me his right-hand man,” Rupa said.
Rupa was the only female student when she pursued a diploma in Electrical Engineering from the Federal Institute of Technology in Kuala Lumpur.
After graduating, she worked at many large corporations in both Singapore and Malaysia as a technician, a rarity for a woman at that time.
Rupa later studied at Trine University in Indiana where she earned her degree in electrical engineering.
FMT intern Tan Chia Hee contributed to this article.