BY ALAN MARTIN
University of Calgary
Most people have at some point in their lives been told
to “reach for the stars.” But for one woman,
that goal became a near literal reality.
Laura Lucier, E.I.T., a University of Calgary alumnus, had
always dreamed of working in the space field. Now she works
for the Canadian Space Agency as a robotics flight controller
at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Tex.
Ms. Lucier recently visited Calgary, where she spoke to potential
and current engineering students at the U of C’s engineering
Open House on March 6.
She grew up in London, Ont., and came to Calgary in 1995
to attend university. She graduated in 1999 with a degree
in mechanical engineering and a minor in computer integrated
The University of Calgary’s strong core program in
the first and second years attracted Ms. Lucier, and so did
the variety of disciplines available. “I felt that
earning a broad-based degree would guarantee me job options
in a wide variety of industries when I graduated,” said
After finishing her bachelor of science, Laura went to McGill
University for her master’s degree, and from there
looked for opportunities to work in aerospace.
It didn’t take long before she had her dream job. But
it took more than academics for her to get where she is now.
“The ability to communicate,
work in a team and take
responsibility were all skills
that I learned outside
the classroom, and the opportunity to meet people
fun while doing it absolutely improved my
time spent at the
U of C.”
“Participation in extracurricular activities was crucial to
developing the skills I need and use in industry,” says
Ms. Lucier. She participated extensively in student organizations,
such as the Engineering Students’ Society and the Students’ Union.
She also acted as a student representative on many university
committees, such as the Dean’s Review Committee and
the General Faculties Council.
“The ability to communicate, work in a team and take
responsibility were all skills that I learned outside of the
and the opportunity to meet people and have fun while doing
it absolutely improved my time spent at the U of C.”
Aside from doing presentations in Calgary, Ms. Lucier volunteers
with SCIber Mentor, a science and e-mail mentorship program
for girls. She is a member of APEGGA and enjoys e-mailing
space-related questions and answers back and forth with local
“Don’t be afraid to set your goals high,” says
Ms. Lucier. “Seek out the opportunities you need to
get to where you want to go. Whether that means making contacts,
studying hard or participating in extracurricular activities,
be sure to take advantage of the opportunities made available
This is good advice for anyone who wants to accomplish a
dream – regardless of whether it features stars of
the literal, astronomical kind.