Karen Twietmeyer

Karen Twietmeyer

Principal Optical Engineer
QD Vision
Lexington, MA, United States
Karen Twietmeyer
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I'm the Principal Optical Engineer at QD Vision, a startup in Lexington, Massachusetts. My company makes quantum dots, and we were the first company to put the beautiful colors of quantum dots into TVs (made by Sony) that are sold around the world and have won many prizes! I work on optical designs to make quantum dot displays more efficient, and I design instruments to measure the quantum dots in production before they are put into the TVs. My degrees are a BS in electrical engineering from MIT, an MS in electro optics from Tufts, and a PhD in optical physics from the University of Arizona. I started out as an electrical engineer but I totally fell in love with optics and decided to become an optical engineer! It is a totally amazing field! My favorite past projects are designing a polarization based imaging laser ophthalmoscope for my PhD dissertation (it has a long name, but basically it's a new kind of instrument to detect eye diseases), and working on a laser instrument to detect cervical cancer at a startup company.
BS in Electrical Engineering - MIT MS in Electrical Engineering - Tufts PhD in Optical Physics - University of Arizona
  • I am willing to be contacted by educators for possible speaking engagements in schools or in after school programs or summer camps.
  • I am willing to serve as science fair judge or other temporary volunteer at a local school.
  • I am willing to be contacted about potential job shadowing by interested students.
  • I am willing to be interviewed by interested students via email.
Answers by Dr. Karen Twietmeyer

Hi Kyla. This is a big decision that may influence your whole life! I think the most important thing you can do is to figure out which of the technology paths you mention you would enjoy doing the most (happy = successful!). Here are some suggestions: take (or just sit in on) introductory courses in a few fields (electrical engineering, bioengineering); talk to some professors to see what they are doing (ask whether you can do some work in their lab!!); talk to other students who are doing these two majors and see how happy they are (are they excited about it???); poke around on the Web and find some researchers who are doing the sort of VR you think you might be interested in, and send them an email asking them how you could prepare to be on their team! I hope this helps and let me know if you have more questions!

Hi Chris,

I'm from the US, but probably it is similar in our two countries.

I believe that in terms of salary, job prospects, and overall job quality it is important to have the 4 year full degree. Having a degree opens up many more doors, and you will have a much better selection of roles to choose from when you graduate. Yes, you will be behind financially for a few years, but in the long run you will be able to earn more money and progress to higher level positions more quickly.

If you spend four years (and work hard!) you will learn a lot more than you would in a 2 year program, and be much better equipped to take on challenging roles and stand out. You could look for technology programs that will place you in a co-op position, where you work for a company part time and earn a salary, or look for paying research assistant positions.

I hope that helps and feel free to ask more questions!