Alumni Spotlight: Leyla Hashemi '10

uc davis materials science engineering alumni keysight leyla hashemi
Photo courtesy of Leyla Hashemi.

Connections matter for Leyla Hashemi '10. As a master’s student at UC Davis, in her job at Keysight Technologies and as an adjunct lecturer, she strives to form connections between people, teams and institutions. 

An R&D Engineering Manager at Keysight, Hashemi leads a diverse team of 12 scientists and engineers from 15 different universities, including UC Davis. Together, they develop hybrid microcircuits and microcircuit manufacturing processes for new products for RF, microwave, mmWave and 5G Test and Measurement solutions. 

“We deal with hundreds of semiconductor integrated circuits and thin film circuits per product, as well as the electromechanical components and printed circuit assemblies.” she said. “All of that needs to come together perfectly to make the finished microcircuit, which is then tested with Keysight hardware and software.” 

The team develops 30-40 new products at a time and works with different design and manufacturing units at company headquarters in Santa Rosa, as well as around the world. 

“My education prepared me to be an effective manufacturing engineer and manager and gave me the knowledge and passion to be able to build and lead such a diverse team,” she said.  

Hashemi came to the U.S. from Iran for her M.S. in Materials Science and found a home away from home at UC Davis. She fondly recalls the College of Engineering graduate student association’s social events and her helpful, patient and supportive labmates.  

“UC Davis was a very good choice for getting absorbed into the environment and the culture,” she said. “Just being on campus is a really enriching experience.” 

She gained a lot of experience not only in research, but in interpreting data, presenting that data and working with a diverse group of people. 

”What prepared me most for the job was my research experience,” she said. “It gave me the background and appreciation for doing thorough research and I owe it to my advisors, Professors Julie Schoenung and Enrique Lavernia.” 

Hashemi is grateful for the opportunities she’s had and tries to pay it forward and connect with others in the same way her mentors did. 

She regularly returns to UC Davis as a recruiter for Keysight or as an adjunct lecturer for Department of Materials Science and Engineering’s senior design course. In the role, she engages students in real industry problems and brings them to Keysight to interact with the engineers and carry out their experiments. She also mentors the students on communicating data, writing reports and presenting their projects—skills that help them during the course and in their careers.  

“When I was a student, it was always really eye-opening when we had a professor or guest lecturer from industry because it gave a different perspective,” she said. “I accepted the lecturer position in hopes that I would be an influence in some way to the senior students.” 

She is also an advocate for women in STEM as a member of the governing council for Keysight’s Society of Women Engineers Enterprise Program, which empowers women engineers in the company and supports internal programs for advancing their careers. She is also giving a Lightning Talk and will lead Keysight interviews at the Society for Women Engineers (SWE) National Conference in November.  

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