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Purdue School of Engineering and Technology

Purdue School of Engineering and Technology

Meet Alumna, Lainey Hooker

February 22, 2016

Lainey Hooker

Lainey Hooker

Meet Lainey Hooker, an Associate Sales Engineer at Molex Corporate Headquarters in Lisle, IL. Lainey was drawn to engineering from a young age through her interest in robotics and Legos. After receiving degrees in economics and mechanical engineering from Butler University and Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI, respectively, she joined Molex in 2015. Lainey is now in training for the sales engineering field as a member of the New Business Group.

How would you characterize an average day at Molex?
As a part of the New Business Group, a typical day for me is spent preparing to go out into the field as a Sales Engineer. We do that by learning about Molex products, helping customers with their needs, and learning who to contact for questions and resources. A lot of my time is also spent networking and learning about the different roles in the company; roles that I may one day move into after I’m out in the field…

What personal characteristics do you feel are necessary to be a successful engineer?
It’s very important that you have a strong desire to learn. You can’t grow if you think you know everything, so you want to be comfortable asking questions and receiving constructive criticism. It’s also helpful to possess time management skills, because you’ll need to balance many different tasks and projects at once.

How do you create value in your role at Molex?
The biggest way is through building relationships with customers. Each relationship is valuable because it’s the way that we identify potential opportunities and areas for growth. We’re also able to generate leads and gain more business for Molex, which will go on to create further value for the company.

What do you think are the biggest challenges of being an engineer?
It can be really difficult to absorb everything that we learn in a day. You figure out pretty quickly that you need to become an information sponge, and it can take a bit of time to adapt to that at first. Another challenge is simply understanding the best way to take advantage of the numbers opportunities available working at the headquarters in Lisle. That’s when you need to step back and evaluate everything, then determine the most effective method for moving forward. It’s a learning process.

What is your favorite project you’re working on at Molex?
With my current role I don’t work on specific projects but play a small role in many early designs by providing suggestions and key information to the design engineers of our customers. However, I have had the opportunities to get involved with the Women’s Business Council and was invited to be on the planning committee for this year’s Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, on February 18. It gives me a chance to step back and think about how Molex should be presented, specifically to the 40 local high school girls that will be visiting our campus. During their time here they will participate in breakout sessions and tour our Fiber Optics facility, followed by an opportunity to interact with an all-female professional engineer panel. The day of the event I will be interacting with the students, as well as facilitating the panel discussion.

You’ve been heavily involved with an event called P.O.W.E.R. Camp; can you tell us more about that?
I became involved with P.O.W.E.R. Camp (which stand for Preparing Outstanding Women for Engineering Roles) during college. It is a weeklong residential camp hosted by IUPUI for high school girls that are interested in engineering. They stay on campus with their counselors and directors (who are all current students), and in that time they are able to learn more about what engineering entails. We have professional engineers come in and do demonstrations, work with the girls, and tell them more about their experiences.

What message would you give to those young girls interested in pursuing a career of engineering?
Do what you’re interested in and passionate about, always give it 100%. You also shouldn’t be afraid of asking questions - that demonstrates your willingness to learn and grow. I’d also suggest to never think of being a female engineer as a disadvantage. Because it is a predominantly male field, female engineers really stand out. We need to use this to our advantage, and make sure our actions and work are powerful and notable.