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Alison Lam

Alumna
BSEE '91
Senior Manager, Systems Test Engineering
Ciena Corporation

Identify what the love of your life is and what you are passionate about, pursue it and stick with it. When you run into the challenges that love connection will get you going and not giving up. 

Why did you choose to study electrical and computer engineering?

I was pretty good with math and science in high school. And electrical and computer engineering seemed to be a practical degree, I thought it would offer a good chance to land a job after graduation.

Favorite Purdue ECE class or experience:

I did a senior research project with Professor George Wodicka on abnormal pregnancy monitoring using a low impedance device. We built the device in the lab from scratch and then went to the women's clinic in Lafayette and tested out the device on a number of pregnant women. That was an experience where I first witnessed that we could leverage engineering knowledge to solve real life problems. 


What organizations or activities were you involved in at Purdue? What did you gain from that involvement?

SWE, Hong Kong Student Association, Purdue Chinese Christian Fellowship. All those were good people networking activities. Having involvement in those bodies allowed you to meet more people who weren't necessary in your day to day life.

What are you doing currently?

Senior Manager, Systems Test Engineering at Ciena Corporation. My team is responsible for systems ad solution testing of Ciena's packet switching products that are being used by large Internet service providers.

What are your ultimate career goals?

Continue to make impact at workplace, identify solution to problems, help develop junior engineers. I have been doing engineering management related work for many years and I'd like to utilize my background and experience to help more people, mentoring new engineers within or outside of my company.


How is your Purdue degree helping you achieve your goals?

Having an engineering degree from Purdue elevates your status! Not to boast about our Boilermaker engineering’s lineage but our degree is not just meeting a check mark on job requirement, Purdue has a reputation of being a strong engineering school and people have great exaction from the Boilermakers.


What advice do you have for current ECE students?

Identify what the love of your life is and what you are passionate about, pursue it and stick with it. When you run into the challenges that love connection will get you going and not giving up. This goes to work and personal life as well.


What do you do in your free time?

We have 2 boys, 14 and 9, so much of my free time (not at work time) we spend with the boys, taking them to different activities. I enjoy reading, Chinese painting. I also volunteer at my church, kids' school and other local nonprofit organizations.


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