About Laura

When I was younger, and still to this day, I have always been curious about how things around me work, how I could fix them, or make them better. Math and science were my favorite subjects in school, and I was endlessly fascinated by devices and advancements in electronic technologies. In college, I realized that I wanted to apply my knowledge and interests in these fields to solve problems in society and further technology. I decided that pursuing my PhD in ECE would put me in the best position to accomplish this goal.

I chose to attend the University of Michigan primarily because of the cutting-edge research that is being conducted in my field and the fantastic community of students here. When I visited the University, I was impressed by the laboratories I toured, the quality of research, and the grad students performing it. I was also blown away by the numerous resources that are available to students, relating to both technical tools as well as supportive and financial aid. The grad students here are driven and compassionate, and genuinely value a collaborative, rather than competitive, environment.

I am involved with a number of student organizations and activities on campus. I am passionate about recruiting new graduate students and have helped plan the fall and winter recruitment visits each semester in addition to now being involved with the student ambassador program. I also enjoy being a part of student organizations that enhance the graduate student experience including the ECE Graduate Student Council, the College of Engineering’s Graduate Student Advisory Committee, and the Optics Society at the University of Michigan. Through these involvements and my courses, I hope to establish an enthusiastic and collaborative group of graduate students that encourage and push each other to succeed.

Why get an advanced degree in ECE?

An advanced degree in ECE, either Master’s or PhD, will put you in the position to pursue the career path of your choosing and allow you to be more creative in your day-to-day work. The fact is that you will have better opportunities for career advancement, more employment opportunities, and higher financial reward. Though this doesn’t mean that everyone should attend graduate school. You must know fairly well what you want to do and what field you want to do it in, and in general have a natural curiosity and desire to learn.

Career plans

After I graduate with my PhD, I plan to do research and development related to optics, or a similar field, in industry. I hope to eventually supervise a laboratory and ultimately advance into a management role overseeing other engineers and leading larger projects.

Advice to incoming Michigan ECE students

My advice to any incoming Michigan student is to take full advantage of all the resources the University has to offer. Seek out and say yes to opportunities that come your way, especially as you are trying to discover what you are passionate about. You never know what you might discover or what doors it might open!

Laura Andre

Laura Andre


Degree Level: Doctoral

Current Degree Program: Electrical Engineering

Anticipated Graduation Date: December 2021

ECE Research/Interest Area: Optics and Photonics

Former Degrees

  • BA Physics St. Mary's College of Maryland
  • MS Electrical Engineering University of Michigan