Claire in Marseilles.

Claire’s Bio

  • Major: Electrical Engineering
  • Hometown: Williamsville, New York

Claire Lochner grew up in the shadow of the University at Buffalo’s North Campus.

“I literally live right down the road,” said Claire. “I was one of those kids who said, ‘I don’t want to stay in Buffalo.’ But then they gave me the Presidential Scholarship, which was something I could not turn down. So I came here, and I absolutely love it. I’m really glad I came to UB.”

Although the distance she traveled to get here was short, Claire’s UB journey led her to new and unexpected places.

“One of my favorite adventures was riding a bike over 30 kilometers roundtrip from a small town in Normandy to the American cemetery at Omaha Beach. It was amazing to stand on a D-Day beach where Americans turned the tides of history.”
Claire with three other students at their research poster presentation.

Claire and fellow students at a poster presentation.

“The experiences I’ve been able to have at UB—I felt like I could do anything,” Claire said. “I could go abroad. I was able to do research. I was able to be an officer in a few different clubs. I can take a language even though I’m an engineering major. The options are limitless.”

And there’s no limit to what Claire has been able to achieve. After a friend invited her to join Engineers for a Sustainable World, Claire’s dormant interest in engineering was re-awakened. Having arrived as a history and classics major, she switched to electrical engineering after just a week and a half. “I was sitting in my calculus class, and I realized that I liked it a lot more than any of my history courses,” she said.

By fall of her sophomore year, Claire had already won second place in an Honors College poster competition and worked in a lab with electrical engineering professor Alexander Cartwright researching organic solar cells. That project ultimately played a large part in Claire’s application for the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, given each year to sophomores and juniors throughout the United States with outstanding potential in math, engineering or the natural sciences.

Claire in Paris at the Eiffel Tower.

In Paris, at the Eiffel Tower.

“I was shocked that I actually won it as a sophomore. It was amazing,” Claire said. “Hadar [Borden, Claire’s former Honors advisor] called me. I was outside Knox Hall and I was like, ‘Oh my God! Really?’ That was a very good phone call.”

Just as thrilling for Claire was the opportunity to study in France. She spent eight weeks just outside of Paris in the summer after her junior year.“Studying abroad was a goal I had for a very long time,” Claire said. “My program allowed me to take the same courses and receive equivalent credit for the electrical engineering courses that I could have been taking back at UB that semester, so I didn’t fall behind in my studies.”

Claire also participated in advanced research in astronautics for Moog, a local company specializing in motion control products and systems, and worked on a National Science Foundation-sponsored sustainability project at UCLA. Her impressive resume helped her land a four-year electrical engineering fellowship at UC Berkeley, where she will continue her studies.

“I’m still trying to figure out exactly what I want to do, especially in electrical engineering, because there are so many possibilities,” Claire said. “The hard part for me is to make a decision. What’s the next thing I’m going to accomplish?”

Last updated: November 10, 2014 5:04 pm EST