Published: May 5, 2021

Erica Landreth outdoors by a lakeErica Landreth is graduating in May with a degree in applied mathematics, as well as a certificate in neuroscience and a minor in chemistry. She said that interdisciplinarity has become the cornerstone of her academic experience.

During an internship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Lab, she worked on a project to calculate the probability of a cloud-free line-of-sight using atmospheric data.

“It turned out that the best model for this scenario came from an idea originating in chemistry, which I likely wouldn’t have recognized if my background weren’t so broad,” she said.

Landreth has also helped support the academic achievements of others as a learning assistant for a linear algebra course and as a course assistant for a complex variables class. She said she recognized the value of student instructors in her own experiences taking challenging courses and was glad to be able to pay it forward.

Landreth also worked as an undergraduate researcher Professor Niels Damrauer’s chemistry lab. Damrauer calls Landreth a “natural thinker” who seems to effortlessly cross boundaries from applied mathematics to natural sciences.

“In both experimental and computational aspects, she has amazed me in terms of her ability to self-learn and in terms of the speed with which she masters ideas and picks up techniques,” he said. “I have a very strong suspicion that she will be excellent in any future research that she does.

We asked Landreth to share some reflections from her time at CU Boulder and her plans for the future:

What is your plan for after graduation?

After graduation, I'll be working as an analyst at MIT Lincoln Laboratory.

What is your biggest piece of advice for incoming engineering students?

My biggest piece of advice for incoming engineering students is to take time to explore what CU has to offer. There are so many ways to get involved, and taking advantage of these opportunities allows you to really make your college experience your own.

What was the biggest challenge for you during your engineering education? What did you learn from it?

The biggest challenge for me during my engineering education was getting over my fear of asking for help. Getting an engineering degree is a monumental task to approach all on your own, so once I figured out how to be proactive about getting the support that I needed, it was a complete game-changer.