Carnegie Mellon University

Nicole Lau with Dave Dzombak and Irving Oppenheim

February 13, 2019

Lau Wins George Washington Prize

CEE senior Noel Lau was awarded the George Washington Prize at the Engineers Society of Western Pennsylvania awards dinner on February 7. The honor is presented yearly to a College of Engineering senior who demonstrates qualities of academic excellence, service, and leadership.

Lau’s path to a degree in engineering was atypical—she started her studies in the College of Science but soon found that her passion was in engineering and environmental issues.

During her time at CEE, she’s become an unofficial mentor to younger students—especially those who transferred into the department. According to CEE department head Dave Dzombak, Lau uses her personal experience to help other students. “Her determination, compassion, and amiability have led her to success in her courses, student activities, and work experiences,” says Dzombak. She’s also established herself as a skilled maker—working In both the IDeATe Makerspace and TechSpark.

Lau is strongly committed to giving back to the engineering community. As the president of Chi Epsilon, the Civil Engineering honor society, Lau created a popular series of CEE faculty research seminars. The programs allowed students to learn about research happening in the department while getting to know professors outside of the classroom environment. She also worked to research and execute an Engineers Without Borders PET Thatch Project in Vietnam.

Her local volunteerism includes serving as a chair for Partners Allied in Civic Engagement. Lau led environmentally-themed projects and took the time to manage volunteers and debrief with the entire volunteer team after each project. She also served as design chair for the Spirit Fashion Show.

The George Washington Prize is named in honor of the first president of the United States. It reinforces the importance of engineering and technology in sustaining and enhancing the visibility of the profession.

CEE congratulates Lau for earning this prestigious award.