The photo diary that Charlotte Chaze submitted with her application for the University of Delaware’s Laird Fellowship depicts her hiking in the Adirondacks, kayaking on Lake Louise, motorbiking through Vietnam, playing the guitar, and refereeing for Lego League. She also included shots of a MacBook she repaired and a motorbike she built.

Chaze is exactly the type of student the Laird committee members are looking for when they select the fellowship winner. Recipients of the 40-year-old award — which honors the memory of mechanical engineering alumnus George W. Laird — are encouraged to engage in broadening intellectual pursuits that may or may not directly apply to their chosen field.

A doctoral student in biomedical engineering at UD, Chaze admits that her path to the field was not straightforward.

“After switching majors a few times and graduating with a chemistry degree, I moved to Germany and then Albuquerque for jobs in neuroimaging and biomedical engineering,” she says. “I loved my new skillset, so I applied to biomedical engineering programs.”

“Before starting at UD, I took a two-month solo camping trip through the U.S. and Canada with the hopes of finding a deeper understanding of myself,” she continues.

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