UB - University at Buffalo, The State University of New York UB Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Faces of MAE


Laura Ziegler Graduate Student

photo of Laura Ziegler

Currently: Second Year Master's Student

Initially, I struggled with the college selection process because I was unsure of what I was really looking for in a university. Being from the Buffalo area, I was also torn over whether or not I wanted to stay close to home. Touring the campus and meeting with some of the Engineering faculty definitely made the decision to choose UB much easier. Not only was everyone so welcoming, but it was also apparent that a lot of exciting things were happening in the Mechanical Engineering Department. Looking back on my undergraduate years, I honestly could not be happier with my decision and it made choosing UB for graduate school pretty easy.

As an undergrad, the fact that many of my classes had teaching assistants or student assistants was so helpful to me. While office hours definitely allowed me to get the help I needed for my classes, simply being able to connect with upper level and graduate students proved to be invaluable. Clearly, these were some of the best students in the department and gave advice I could trust. Many of them gave me great recommendations as to how to get involved in research and other activities at UB.

I really love how UB does not cater to one particular type of person. There really is something for everyone. While some people might be deterred because the campus is so large, UB is able to provide all of the benefits that a small campus is unable to offer. There is such a wide range of classes, clubs, activities, and sporting events to take advantage of. Even the diversity of students is incredible – I have made friends from all over the world.

Your college years are really intended to prepare you for the ‘real world’. With that in mind, my best advice would be to get involved in something early on, whether it be a project, research, or a club. These learning experiences outside of the classroom will really help you define your interests and will make your post-college plans more obvious to you. In addition, I highly recommend getting to know some of your professors. Without a doubt, they are some of the most knowledgeable and insightful people in their field.

“My academic advisor has certainly been the most helpful person during my time in MAE. I started attending the weekly meetings for his lab during my senior year and was intrigued by the research pursuits of his other students. Knowing that he was someone that I would enjoy working with helped to confirm my decision to go to grad school. Throughout these past few years, his knowledge and expertise has really helped me to clarify my research interests in design and select classes to support my research.”

- Laura Ziegler