Spotlight on Engineering Alumni: Laura Cressman

cressmanName: Laura Cressman
Occupation: Product Mechanical Engineer – Robotic Engineer
Education (UR and additional): BS Mechanical Engineering
Current job title: Product Mechanical Engineer
Current employer: QinetiQ North America
Current city/state of residence: Pittsburgh, PA
Family: Married to Alex Cressman
Community activities: Crossfit, PSL, O- 25 Women’s soccer league


Why did you choose to attend the University of Rochester?

The day my dad and I stopped by U of R for a tour was the same day the Mechanical Engineering pumpkin launch occurred. We also were fortunate enough to get a tour of the engineering school from the person who turned out to be my favorite professor, Professor Clark. He was the main reason I decided to attend Rochester. Rochester was very focused on the success of all of their students and the professors were very passionate about that. The campus itself and overall atmosphere is also what drew me to attend.

When and how did you choose your major(s)?

I always knew I wanted to be in engineering from a young age. I participated in Intel’s International Science and Engineering Fair in high school and focused mainly on robotics. The idea of being able to be innovative and creative to produce a product always interested me. Being a mechanical engineer gives me the ability to do that on a daily basis.

What activities were you involved in as a student and what did you gain from them?

I worked at the Common Connection (is it still called that?!) desk in Wilson Commons for 3 years. I really enjoyed being able to help current and potential students with questions about Rochester. I also played Junior Varsity soccer for 3 years, which allowed me to play the sport I loved, but gave me more time to focus on my studies. Through both of these activities it boosted my confidence and also taught me leadership and teamwork skills I use in my job today.

What did you do immediately after graduation? How did you decide to take that path?

I was fortunate enough to start my dream job in the robotics industry. I moved out to Pittsburgh the week after graduation and started my job as a Jr Mechanical Engineer at QinetiQ North America. I am able to help create new and improved concepts that can be used to save lives of military and first responders.

Where would you like to be in five years?

I am currently working towards receiving my PMP certificate so I can be a project manager on several engineering based projects. My goal is to receive my PMP by 2015 and continue on in the robotics industry. I also see myself starting a family with my husband, Alex; even though we already have a mini family with our two dogs, Tucker and Zeke, and cat, Nyxy.

What advice do you have for current Hajim School students about their time on campus, graduate study, or the first few years after college?

I recommend studying hard, but also giving yourself the time to do things that you enjoy. Creating relationships and friendships was a major thing for me when I attending Rochester. Most of my friends from college are still a huge part in my life today. I also recommend using all the resources for your particular major that U of R offers, such as TAs, study groups and office hours.