Dr. Laura MacDonald is the Managing Director of the Mortenson Center in Global Engineering and the Global Engineering Residential Academic Program. She holds a PhD and MS in Geography and Environmental Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University and a BS in Environmental Engineering from Northwestern University. In her role as Managing Director of MCGE, Laura provides administrative and financial oversight of the Center's graduate certificate and Professional Master's programs. Additionally, she manages several research projects in Rwanda and provides support to the Mortenson Center's broader research portofolio in sub-Saharan Africa. She is a Board Member of Engineers in Action and has previously served on the Engineering for Change Innovation Lab Steering Committee.
Prior to joining MCGE, Laura was Knowledge and Research Advisor at the Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology (CAWST). There, she worked to build CAWST's reputation and credibility as a global leader in capacity development and technical support for non-networked water and sanitation. During her time at CAWST, Johns Hopkins and Northwestern, Laura's research spanned a range of topics, including household water treatment and water-vending kiosks in Ghana, capacity development of sanitation practitioners, and the geochemistry of arsenic in the Atacama Desert. This work took her to Panama, Colombia, Chile, Ghana, Kenya and Nepal. Throughout her studies, Laura was engaged with student groups focused on engineering and environmental education and outreach, including leadership roles in the Society of Women Engineers and Engineers for a Sustainable World.