We’re so excited to interview Dr. Corey Frazier with Intel for our iUrban Teen (IUT) newsletter. Sonja J with our journalism club reached out to Dr. Frazier. Please read and share this impactful interview.
IUT: Dr. Frazier, please tell us tell us briefly about what you currently do?
CF: I work at Intel Corporation as a Systems Integration Lead. I lead a team of engineers in designing and delivering cooling technologies for high performance computing applications (e.g. supercomputers).
I also coordinate a program at Intel that enables STEM-industry professionals to use their knowledge and skills to help non-profit, education, and government organizations in the Portland community.
IUT: What motivated you to go into this field?
CF: My father was in the Air Force and used to take me to see Space Shuttle launches when we were stationed in Florida. It was experiences like this that drew me to Aerospace Engineering and to work on the Space Shuttle for 7 years before coming to Portland to work for Intel. I wanted to continue working on the greatest technical achievements in human history (in this case, the Space Shuttle and semi-conductors), so I was inclined to pursue a career at Intel.
Additionally, as a young person, I drew a lot of inspiration from fictional media (comics, cartoons, books). I was always drawn to “possibility” and creative applications of scientific principles. I tended to see the creativity and imagination behind scientific principles and advancement and was motivated to pursue a STEM career as a result.
IUT: What advice do you have for young people and careers?
CF: Make sure you learn to do the things that “grown-ups” aren’t telling you yet. You’re being asked to focus on school and enrichment activities, and rightfully so. You are young, brilliant people who need to be exposed to many things so that the world can benefit from your brilliance as it matures and shines. But the “stuff” that allows many people to be happy, successful, and purpose-filled in life are the intangible things beyond the classroom and beyond the books. Much like being an athlete, raw talent and skill will only get you so far. What are some of those untold things? Here are my thoughts.
Network. Get to know others during your college years, you never know who you’re sitting next to in class: a future corporate vice president, the future inventor of a successful social media app, a future senator, a future Nobel Prize winner even. Think about how you can add value to these people with your skills and ambitions and how they can be of benefit to you.
Don’t ignore “behavioral science” by thinking that being good in your chosen field will be enough to bring you success and purpose. Augment your book studies with knowledge of how people think and a healthy self-awareness. You’ll quickly realize when you get older that “behavioral science (understanding and influencing people) is harder than rocket science (having “book smarts”).” I know that sounds weird coming from a “rocket scientist” and STEM advocate. Unfortunately, the bulk of your challenges in your career (and personal life) will not be STEM problems. In fact, your STEM-based efforts are often going to have to overcome the barrier of relating to other people.
This behavioral science includes goal setting, public speaking, having strong visions and dreams, being good at listening and having empathy, knowing how to leverage positive/constructive thoughts, and good self-awareness. In general, when you’re younger the world is telling you “Yes,” it’s full of opportunity (I know it feels like the world tells you “No” right now, but trust me it’s about as yes-oriented as it’s gonna get). When you come into your adult years the world finds it easier to tell you “no,” or what you can’t or won’t or shouldn’t do or what you’re not, over what you can be and are. This isn’t because the world is a bad place (it can be), it’s because in the adult world it’s easier to keep up with the hustle and bustle of life’s demands by rejecting most things to focus your energy on more urgent or key matters. This practice carries over into how people treat others. It takes far more time, effort, and energy to lift people up and sustain them than it does to knock them or keep them down or abandon them all together, which is why it’s so easy to nay-say others and think negatively. Having said that, even the most brilliant, focused, career-oriented young person can lose themselves in low self-esteem, doubt, and fear as a result. It’ll be up to you (your thoughts, your self-confidence, and your choice in people surrounding you) to get past the lack of possibility that is thrown your direction as you mature. Successful, happy, and purposeful people are able to push past these barriers to live blessed and fortunate lives that bring about impact because they’re able to leverage behavioral science AND rocket science. The behavioral science will ensure your skills and smarts shine that much more brightly for the world.
IUT: What is something that most people don’t know about you?
CF: I was in Season 2, Episode 3 (“Now We’re Cooking”) of The Little Couple as an extra in the culinary class (I like to cook too!). I even earned an intensive, 2-month long culinary chef certification from a cooking school in Houston, TX.