Lauren Chikofsky

 A Student Leader in ECE

July 25, 2005

Just like the antennas she works on that can change their shape and frequency on demand, ECE junior Lauren Chikofsky has learned to hone her technical and leadership skills to respond to the challenges of being a student leader. The Executive Chair of Women in ECE (WinECE) won a Boeing Scholarship with ECE senior Mark Hairgrove, makes time for undergraduate research, and also assists with the pre-college program that led her to ECE.

Lauren Chikofsky

ECE Junior


Burlington, MA, a suburb of Boston.

From Pre-College to ECE:

I was originally interested in astronomy, and changed to aerospace when I realized I was more interested in the engineering problems of getting to space. By the time I was looking at colleges, I decided to get there by going into ECE, and work in aerospace later.

When I attended pre-college the summer before my senior year of high school, I was in the APEA [Advanced Placement/Early Admission] program and took 18-100 [Introduction to Electrical and Computer Engineering] and Concepts of Math. I loved 18-100 at the time, since we had nothing like it at my high school. The combination of being able to apply what I learned in the form of my very own robot, as well as working with a group of friends who were all excited about the field, convinced me to seriously consider ECE. Now, I am greatly enjoying being a TA for this class and helping other students have a similar experience.

Undergraduate Research:

I'm working on the Claytronics project with Professor Hoburg. The Claytronics project works on programmable matter, or matter made of tiny robots in order to make interesting 3D shapes. The robots have no individual power supply or moving parts, to keep things simple. The current prototypes move using magnets, and I am working on a prototype that moves using electrostatic force. I am also working on reconfigurable antennas that will be able to change their shape and frequency on demand.

Favorite ECE Memory:

Seeing my 18-100 robot work is still one of my favorite memories.

On the Boeing Scholarship:

It's really nice to know that companies are interested in helping students here, and I had a great time getting to know the people at Boeing when they came for lunch.


I've had an internship with Mitre Corporation for the past two summers, working on an application for secure videoconferencing. What impressed me most about the internship was the amount I learned from my co-workers--in the hallways as well as on the project.


Future plans:

Definitely graduate school, but I'm not sure yet whether I want a Master's degree or Ph.D.

Parting wisdom:

Don't ever be afraid to ask. At the same time, be careful what you ask for.

Lauren Chikofsky

Using magnets and balls, Lauren demonstrates how a reconfigurable antenna works.

Lauren and Suzie Laurich-McIntyre, former Director of Alumni and Student Relations for ECE, at a WinECE dessert social. Suzie is now Assistant Vice Provost for Student Relations at Carnegie Mellon.

Lauren speaks at WinECE's dinner honoring women graduates.

Related People:

James Hoburg