Employer Soundbites: STEM Superheroes: The Key to Saving Our Planet

The STEM industry is not just a source of innovative ideas; it's also the driving force behind transformative solutions that hold the key to reducing carbon footprints and combating climate change.
The gradsingapore Team
Elliyani Mohamad Ali
Chief Editor, gradsingapore
STEM Superheroes_The Key to Saving Our Planet_Employer Showcase

gradsingapore's Employer Soundbites aims to share quick thoughts from employers on current industry trends, hiring insights and useful tips for fresh graduates looking to kickstart their career on a high note. 

About the Interviewee

Stacey MacNeil is chief communications officer and group vice president ESG at Lam Research, with responsibility for the company’s corporate communications, marketing communications, brand, and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) programs including the Lam Foundation.


In the next decade, the growth of Artificial Learning, Machine Learning, and the Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to drive an increased demand for semiconductor chips. The industry is projected to reach annual revenues of US$1 trillion by 2030, making it critical for the industry to develop and nurture new, diverse talent worldwide.

This is one of the reasons why Lam Research, a global supplier of innovative wafer fabrication equipment and services to the semiconductor industry, has announced a three-year, US$10 million investment in FIRST Global as part of the company’s commitment to fostering transformative learning worldwide.

The FIRST Global Challenge focuses on instilling a passion for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) through “competition and fun”. The event’s seventh instalment took place in Singapore in October 2023, and continues to expand in both size and significance. This year, under the theme 'Hydrogen Horizons,' high school students from nearly 200 countries competed, enhancing their knowledge of renewable energy and problem-solving skills, making it the most multinational innovation competition globally.

“We’re highly interested in collaborating with organisations that possess a global reach and a dedication to cultivating the next generation of the STEM workforce. In general, students who have participated in the challenge are more than three times as likely to pursue an education in STEM. For female participants, this interest increases almost three and a half times, particularly in the fields of engineering and computer science,” states Stacey MacNeil, the Chief Communications Officer and Group Vice President of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) at Lam Research. Stacey shares more about the potential of the STEM industry, and its role in saving the world.

STEM Superheroes_ES_1
Credit: Lam Research

1) What excites you most about the STEM industry?

Firstly, the impact of the STEM industry is enormous. For example, just from the perspective of our industry, we create equipment and tools to help chipmakers make chips. These are found in everything today, such as in our mobile phones, recording devices, televisions, computers, and more. With the ongoing advancements of Artificial Intelligence and IoT, the industry will only continue to grow. I’m thrilled to see how technology will continue to help us work and live smarter.

Secondly, I’m excited about Lam’s investment in the STEM workforce, particularly when it comes to providing virtual training in nanotechnology. Lam recently unveiled its newly formed Semiverse Solutions business unit, which comprises of advanced software platforms to solve process modelling, design automation, and integration challenges. Basically, it enables students to be trained in nanotechnology in the virtual world. Most universities today lack the facilities or the financial capabilities to invest in nanotechnology training. With this solution, we can help assist them to further develop the pipeline of future semiconductor talent.

2) Could you elaborate on some of the key challenges in the industry that you'd like to highlight?

As technology gets increasingly complex, sustainability has become a real concern for us. The tools we use to manufacture wafer fabrication alone use a great deal of energy and resources. Additionally, the industry uses processed gases that have high global warming potential. In order to combat this, our goal is to reduce these emissions or find ways to replace these processed gases with less harmful alternatives. We’re also actively working with our customers and supply chain to help them set environmentally friendly goals and reduce their carbon footprint.

While other companies have made a variety of reforms, Lam is one of the first in the industry to set a net zero commitment for 2050 and 100% renewable energy usage by 2030.

STEM Superheroes_ES_1
Credit: Lam Research

3) Could you share the most important attributes that young STEM professionals should possess?

There are quite a few attributes that aspiring STEM professionals need to succeed in the field, such as:

● Communication skills

● Teamwork

● Resilience

● Having a strong curiosity

● Problem-solver

4) Do you have any tips or advice to offer to young, aspiring STEM professionals today?

Don’t just limit yourself to local job opportunities. For example, Lam hires talents on a global basis and has multiple high-end facilities around the world, such as in Singapore, Korea and Malaysia. Additionally, we also have partnerships with several universities around the world, so reach out to your school to check if we can connect directly. We’re very open to energetic and highly curious young people, regardless of their geographical location.

5) What's your approach to encouraging the next generation to utilise their technical skills for ESG-related initiatives?

Honestly, my heart breaks seeing the effects of global warming and how high the world’s temperature has gotten. This, of course, has led to water shortages in certain areas around the world, which then impacts the food supply chain.

For aspiring STEM professionals out there, I hope you will use your bright minds to eliminate or reduce carbon in the atmosphere, which is the biggest contributor to global warming and the source of the disasters we’re experiencing across the world. We need to urgently come up with alternative solutions and make them more pervasively available around the world.

This is why Lam is so passionate about STEM education and getting the young generation interested in this field. In fact, being able to meet young talents at FIRST Global developing an interest in robotics after taking part in the challenge and seeing their excitement to explore a future career in STEM are just my favourite experiences. It’s only when we have more bright and curious minds come together and solve these global challenges will we increase the likelihood of figuring out better solutions at a quicker pace.

Without a doubt, technology is going to be a significant part of solving these global challenges. I’m personally counting on this new generation to help us make the world a safe and flourishing place to live.