#NWHLxWISS: Mechanical Engineer and Goalie Tiffany Hsu
By Nathaniel A. Oliver
#NWHLxWISS is a series in partnership with accounting firm WISS that highlights the careers, interests and stories of women in the NWHL as well as women working at WISS.
On nights and weekends, Tiffany Hsu is a goaltender for the Buffalo Beauts. However, come the daylight hours of the workweek, she dons gear that is quite unlike a face mask, pads, blocker and catching glove. Off the ice, Hsu works in STEM as a manufacturing engineer for American Aerogel Corporation.
Hsu - who completed her studies at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) - has worked for the company for approximately half a year. A native of Taiwan, the 24-year-old Hsu also plays for the Chinese Taipei Women's National Team. She has earned both gold and silver medals at IIHF Women's World Championship Division II B competitions. The 2019-20 season is her first in the NWHL and playing professionally.
We spoke with Hsu at length about her career in STEM, how it relates to her hockey career, and what goals she has for the future.
NWHL: Can you describe what services American Aerogel provides as well as your role there?
Tiffany Hsu: "[American Aerogel] manufactures packaging and boxes for supplies for cold chain process," said Hsu. "For example, temperature control shipment for pharmaceutical companies and places like that. My job specifically is to forward the manufacturing side of it in terms of process."
NWHL: What types of projects are you currently working on in your position?
TH: "My biggest project right now is the building extension that we are processing on our own building. Working with my boss to manage the project of all the renovations and layouts for our warehouse and our production line."
NWHL: What made you inclined to become an engineer in the first place?
TH: "When I was in high school, my senior year I didn't know what I was going to do after I graduated. There was a teacher there - my physics teacher - whom I really liked. I asked him what I should do in college. Physics is also my favorite subject. He looked at me and told me, 'Mechanical engineering - you'll be perfect for that.' I applied for all of the schools I could with a strong background in mechanical engineering. I got into RIT, and I loved it."
NWHL: Are there any aspects of your job as an engineer that carry over into your role as a hockey player?
TH: "I always strive for perfection. That's what I do with my job, and that's also what I do in hockey. I want everything to be perfect. I look at the details, and I really try to fix everything until it feels just right. This has transferred into hockey. It's not just about not letting in goals. It's about doing everything right in your movement. If you know something is off, then you try to fix it."
NWHL: Do your coworkers know that you're a hockey player, and what do they think about it?
TH: "We actually have a lot of hockey players in our company. They know that I play for the Beauts, and they're very supportive. My boss is super supportive with all of the traveling and any time that I may need to miss work."
NWHL: What would be your dream role as an engineer?
TH: "I have a master's degree in mechanical engineering, and I specialized in biomechanics. My master thesis was on injuries and causes among hockey goalies. It is something that I want to get into more. It's not really what I'm doing right now in my job, but it is something that I'd like to get into in the future. Maybe also go for a PhD too. I'd like to do some sort of research with athletic injuries and trying to prevent injuries from happening. Perhaps go into some sort of equipment design, with a specific focus on injury prevention."
Photo Credit: Mike Hetzel