Kalyani Mallela
Kalyani Mallela
Manager of Systems Verification Engineering, Starkey Hearing Technologies

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Close Up
  • Describe what you do in your current work situation.
    Systems Engineering group is part of the product development team working on developing and launching innovative technology for hearing aids, fitting software, accessory devices, and mobile applications. As Systems Verification Engineering Manager, I manage a group of nine talented individuals and work closely with engineers, audiologists, customer service representatives, and marketing to test standards and analyze risk on hearing products.
  • Why did you choose engineering?
    My parents inspired me to pursue engineering and continuously supported my aspirations. Thanks to them, math and science have always been a part of my life and I excelled at them. After school, I would work with my mother on math problems and my father on science projects. I grew up surrounded by engineers; learning about engineering disciplines through them and their jobs. I quickly learned the versatility of the field and what a great foundation it was for both technical and business careers. Understanding all the ways an engineer can make a difference made engineering an obvious choice.
  • Where did you go to school and what degree(s) do you have?
    MS in Management of Technology, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities MS in Electrical Engineering, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities BE in Electronics and Communications Engineering, Osmania University - India
  • What kinds of activities have typically been part of your work?
    The fascinating part of being an engineer is you get to do many different things and here are a few that I did.
    • o I’ve written software code
    • o I’ve created tests for software and hardware
    • o I’ve tested software and hardware
    • o I’ve participated in animal studies
    • o I’ve compiled data and documents for FDA 510(k) submissions
    • o I’ve analyzed data for problem solving
    • o I’ve triaged field returned issues
    • o I’ve created project plans
    • o I’ve managed projects and led to successful completion
    • o I’ve made process improvements
    • o I’ve managed people
    • o I’ve hired new talent
    • o I’ve facilitated meetings
    • o I’ve presented technical and non-technical material to many different people
    • o I’ve worked on new upcoming technologies
    • o I’ve developed products that are currently being used in the field
    and the list goes on...
  • What do you like best about being an engineer?
    Each day as an engineer I get to work on finding solutions and creating something useful. It fascinates me of how many different ways an engineer can impact and make a difference in someone’s life.
  • Which of your career accomplishments are you proudest of?
    I was recognized as the top New Faces of Engineering candidate for 2014 by Discover E and was invited to do a Satellite Media tour to share my journey as an engineer. I hope to have inspired some future engineers.
  • What challenges have you met and conquered in your pursuit of an engineering career?
    I was told a few times that am too young and not ready for certain exciting opportunities in my career. My mentors and advocates helped me navigate such situations; I try to do the same for others.
  • Please tell us a little about your family.
    My husband and best friend, Vijay, an algorithm development engineer at Philips Healthcare, is my biggest supporter who constantly encourages me to tread paths less travelled. We have been married for 4.5 years and looking forward to being parents with the little one arriving in September. We both are from India and our parents still live back home.
  • What are your short-term (1-2 years) and long-term (10+ years) goals?
    In the short-term I want to figure out what it means to be a working mother, continue to give back to the community, and work on impactful products. If I can achieve all these then I will start thinking long-term.
  • What (or who) had/has the greatest influence on your life choices?
    My husband has instilled in me a belief that I could do anything and conquer any obstacle. He has helped me grow professionally to be a better engineer and personally to be a better fellow human being. My parents were a big influence in my life growing up. My mentors at work and in Society of Women Engineers have guided and shaped me.
  • What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in engineering?
    If you want to make a different, as an engineer you can influence that. You don’t have to always score an A in math and science to be a good engineer. Believe in yourself and pursue engineering. Having a mentor to guide you along the way has proven very helpful for me and I recommend the same.
  • Any other stories or comments you would like to share with EngineerGirl visitors?
    You don’t have to always score an A in math and science to be a good engineer. Believe in yourself and pursue engineering.
  • Describe something about your life outside of work: your hobbies, or perhaps a favorite book.
    I love playing strategic board games, cooking, visiting classrooms to teach science experiments, napping, and eating at different restaurants.
Biography

Kalyani Mallela is a Systems Engineer Manager at Starkey Hearing Technologies in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. She currently manages 9 engineers who work on developing and launching innovative technology for hearing aids, fitting software, accessory devices, and mobile applications. They are involved in research and technology projects, product development, and continuation projects along with providing technical support to Customer Service. Kalyani is highly recognized for her leadership and relentless efforts in meeting customer needs. The team’s performance continues to improve under Kalyani’s leadership and she strives to live up to Starkey’s vision of being “Better today than yesterday, better tomorrow than today.” Kalyani worked at Boston Scientific (2009 – 2010) as a Systems Engineer responsible for designing and executing System Design Analysis and Validation for LATITUDE, a patient management system for monitoring Boston Scientific ICD and CRT-D patients. Prior to this role, she worked at Transoma Medical as a Software Engineer on the embedded system modules for their Personal Diagnostic Monitor of the SLEUTH, an implantable cardiac monitoring system. Kalyani enthusiastically joined SWE in 2008 and has become increasingly more involved with the SWE Minnesota (SWE-MN) section. She has held various leadership roles within SWE-MN including Outreach co-chair, Fund Development co-chair, Section Representative, Vice President, and President. For her selfless dedication, she has been honored with the Most Dedicated Member, Bravest Volunteer, and Key Contributor awards. She has been involved at the Region level and is currently serving a two-year term as Region H Senator. She is very active at the Society level through her involvement in Outreach, Scholarship, Awards & Recognition, and Multicultural Committees. She was the Awards & Recognition Committee Chair-Elect and Chair, FY12-FY13. Kalyani also volunteers in her community for Vibha, an organization that is dedicated to creating a brighter future for underprivileged children in India, and Indian Association of Minnesota, a non-profit organization whose aim is to build a strong and cohesive community of Asian Indians in the state of Minnesota. She is currently serving as Vice President of Awards at Minnesota Federation of Engineering, Science, and Technology Societies. Kalyani has a strong passion for outreach and has been instrumental in reaching out to over 2000 school kids each year through classroom visits, hands-on activities, mentoring, and sharing her experience as an engineering student and professional. Kalyani works towards aspiring girls to technical opportunities by creating awareness through her dedication to engineering and outreach, making her a role model to all ages of women in the engineering field. Kalyani was recognized in 2014 by SWE as one of the five New Faces of Engineering candidates. She was recognized as top New Faces of Engineering candidate by Discover E in 2014 and featured in national media outlet and with a Satellite Media tour. She has been profiled on www.BeAnEngineer.com in 2015, an initiative sponsored by ExxonMobil. Kalyani has a Master’s degree in Management of Technology and Electrical Engineering, both from University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. She enjoys travel, cooking, playing board games, and spending time with her husband Vijay.

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