Megan Tady

Photo credit: Mian Studio

As a reliability engineer at Apple, Teresa Liu works on all new generations of products—from the iPhone to the Apple Watch—ensuring that they perform reliably. Liu, who’s entering her 11th year with the tech company, earned a physics degree from the California Institute of Technology. Initially, she considered applying to business school, unsure about the career prospects for a physics major. She credits her physics teacher Dan Yaverbaum for helping to guide her. As an international student from China, Liu says Berkshire “became the starting point of my American adventure.” Navigating life away from home was easier, she says, thanks to all of the faculty members who “became my second family. Their support extended beyond the classroom, shaping my journey at Berkshire.”

How did your experience impact your life beyond Berkshire?
The diverse curriculum, engaging projects, and supportive teachers cultivated a love for learning that transcended traditional textbook study, which honestly was my understanding of “study” before I came to Berkshire. In an English class project, I drew Mark Twain's timeline and learned about his literature in the context of his own life. For another book project, I interviewed a Veteran who fought in the Vietnam War. These projects made me feel strongly that knowledge doesn’t just come from textbooks—it’s really alive. The School's motto, "Pro Vita Non Pro Schola Discimus (Learning—not just for school but for life)," became a guiding principle that shapes my approach to knowledge. 

Which class or teacher inspired your career path?
Mr. Yaverbaum, my physics teacher, stands out. Despite my innate love for physics, the competitive college track for this subject in China compelled me to consider alternative, seemingly "easier" paths. Concealing my passion, I entertained the possibility of applying to a business school for college, as my parents envisioned. Mr. Yaverbaum and I spent much time in physics independent studies, so he knew what I really had in my head. His unwavering encouragement nudged me to embrace my true passion for physics, despite the challenges. However, Mr. Yaverbaum's persistent support guided me through conversations about my genuine passion and the courage to pursue it. Eventually, I chose to apply for physics, and to my delight, received an offer from Caltech—coincidentally, Mr. Yaverbaum's dream school. It was his encouragement to be true to myself that propelled me towards a fulfilling career in engineering, which has had a long-lasting impact on my life.

What does your job at Apple entail?
As a reliability engineer, I work very closely with designers on new generations of products to ensure that they meet high standards of reliability performance, and most importantly, give customers a delightful experience. I’m lucky to be one of the few people on the team who has worked on almost all product lines, including, iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad, all the computers, as well as the recently released Vision Pro.

What do you enjoy the most about your work?
One of the things I enjoy the most in my role at Apple is that every team member plays a meaningful part in shaping products that have a profound impact on people's lives. Within the product core team, there's a remarkable openness for individuals to influence not only in the design phase, but also throughout the intricate process of mass production. The dynamic and challenging nature of the job also ensures a continuous drive for innovation. Additionally, the anticipation and thrill of product launches brings a unique sense of accomplishment. I vividly recall the moment when [Apple] announced Vision Pro. After spending a few years working on this “ultra-black” project, being able to finally share it with the world was an immensely rewarding experience.

What's your advice for Berkshire Bears who might want to work in tech?
To aspiring Berkshire Bears eyeing a career in the tech industry, my advice is: stay open and stay curious. Reflecting on my own career, I started in the reliability group with zero prior knowledge, but I learned on the job. In addition, I developed my career interest in program and people management. The ever-changing tech industry offers tons of possibilities, so be open to exploration. Embrace different roles and challenges, as you never know where your next exciting opportunity may arise.