Q&A: Laura Chicos ’19

March 10, 2016

Laura Chicos is a freshman electrical engineering major from Chicago, IL.

How did you get interested in electrical engineering?

I knew I wanted to pursue something in the STEM field, and as I was looking into the electrical engineering major, I was intrigued. I think it’s so cool to be able to work with technology on a micro scale and be involved in creating cutting-edge and innovative devices. The applications of electrical engineering are so broad and to the creative thinker, electrical engineering becomes a type of art.

What made you decide to come to Johns Hopkins?

It’s hard to tell what makes a college great until you’re here to experience it yourself. One thing I love about JHU is the collaboration – everyone is always more than willing to help one another, and I feel like I have grown so much just from what I have learned from my peers. Additionally, the smaller size of the ECE department really promotes an intimate environment where I frequently see and interact with my professors, as well as the other students in the department.

Are you involved in any research? If so, what’s your role?

I am involved in an optoelectronics lab at JHU. I work with a graduate student who is showing me the ropes. I’m learning how to experimentally measure the light absorption of different materials using a photo spectrometer and then develop an optical model.

I’m also on an ECE design team where three other students and I are working with a professor on a project to optimize a portable acoustic micro-Doppler radar system to then be able to apply it to specific problems.

Outside of lab and class: what are you involved with (groups, organizations, intramurals, etc.)?

Outside of lab and class, I am involved with Outdoor Pursuits where I lead sea kayaking trips. I’m also in Engineers without Borders, Baila! and intramural soccer.

What sort of impact do you hope to have either as an engineer or in a STEM field?

As a woman in STEM, I hope to spread happiness and light by helping people become their healthiest self and by offering my knowledge and skills to help ease people’s suffering. As an engineer, I hope to let my imagination go in places that will help me create things that could potentially transform the way people live and interact with the world, for the better.


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