Laura Ray

Laura Ray Professor of Engineering & Interim Dean, Thayer School, Hanover, NH

Board Member: Ex officio

BSE, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University
MSE, Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University
PhD, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University

Laura Ray currently serves as interim dean of Thayer School. A professor of engineering at Dartmouth since 1996, Ray’s research interests include robotics, system dynamics and control, signal processing, and machine intelligence. Her NASA- and National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded work has created solar-electric autonomous robots that help scientists conduct research in harsh polar regions.

Professor Ray developed the proposal for the first position in Dartmouth’s academic cluster initiative, the Thomas E. Kurtz Chair in the William H. Neukom Academic Cluster in Computational Science, and chaired the search committee that hired scientist Rahul Sarpeshkar in 2015 to hold the Kurtz Chair. She also was appointed by the President to serve as a senior fellow in Dartmouth’s Society of Fellows, an interdisciplinary community that supports the integration of research with teaching excellence.

Throughout her career, she has encouraged countless girls and women to pursue engineering, including her female graduate students for whom she helped secure Clare Boothe Luce fellowships—one of the most significant sources in the nation of support for women pursuing degrees in the science, engineering, and mathematics fields. Her additional efforts to develop programs and activities that promote STEM access and equity among all students have been disseminated to colleges and universities internationally.

In addition to teacher and scholar, Ray is also an entrepreneur as co-founder of two companies: Sound Innovations, Inc. to produce advanced noise-cancelling headphones, and Clarisond, Inc. to improve ultrasound imaging for breast cancer. She also co-leads Dartmouth’s I-Corps Site, an NSF initiative to support innovation and entrepreneurship in U.S. colleges and universities.

Author of more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and holder of 5 patents, Ray is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers as well as the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.

She earned both her bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Princeton, and holds a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford.