Ridgeite dreams big

Laura Laham is, according to her personal webpage, a dreamer and a doer. Even though she is relatively young, this Carnegie Mellon University student and Bay Ridge native is doing big things, both at school and in national competitions, making her native borough proud.

Last year, Laham, whose interests include mechanical and biomedical engineering, competed in the Disney Imagineering ImagiNations Design Competition. She and her team became semifinalists with their project based on the concept of futuristic entertainment for the inhabitants of a new colony on the moon.

As if being a semifinalist wasn’t impressive enough, this year, Laham’s team competed again and made it all the way to the Imagineering ImagiNations Design Competition finals in Glendale, California, where they ultimately took second place with their project entitled “Legenda Emas at Jarkarta, Indonesia.”

This interactive boat ride is based on an Indonesian legend centered around a prince and princess, and the evil witch who endeavors to keep them apart. The inspiration for the project came from the ImagiNations theme for the year: “Pick anywhere in the world and design an entertainment/recreational experience for its citizens and tourists. Start with a compelling story, make it a Disney experience, include the elements of your design, and include the reasons for your city selection.”

The artist the team used last year was hired by Disney after the competition, so Laham’s team got a new artist, with whom they communicated primarily over Skype and Google Hangouts. The first time they met their new artist was at the competition, which was held from January 28 to February 1.

Laham says that although it was challenging to work with someone over video conferencing mediums as opposed to face-to-face, it was ultimately worth it, because the team got the artist it needed to make it all the way to the final competition and take second place.

The competition was an incredible experience for Laham, who stated, “We got to speak with Imagineers who used to be in this contest; it was really inspiring to see that they started where we did.”

She says that being an Imagineer would be “a dream job” and is definitely her goal in the future. Her personal mission is “to tell compelling stories through completely innovative and immersive experiences that utilize the most modern technology,” and she states that Imagineering is the ultimate career to fulfill that desire.

“Now, I’ve worked towards it and interacted with the people who are currently doing it,” she said. “It’s so encouraging.”

Laham acknowledges that her education at Brooklyn Technical High School had a great deal to do with her decision to embrace mechanical and biomedical engineering.

“Brooklyn Tech gave me so much autonomy in exploring my interests,” she explained. “I got to learn and see so much throughout New York City. The staff there is driving and encouraging, inspiring the students to explore the world, not just what they can learn in a classroom. Brooklyn Tech opened so many doors for me. I studied everything from art to architecture and I saw it all first-hand, and it helped me decide what I really wanted to do.”

From her beginnings in Brooklyn to her exceptional journey to California, Laura Laham is definitely going places. One thing is for sure, though: She will never forget where she came from or cease to be inspired by the things around her.

“This week in California was really great,” she stated. “I got to go to Disneyland and it was my first time! But you know, even though I spent the week talking to the Imagineers and seeing what went on behind the scenes, knowing how it’s made doesn’t take away any of the magic. It only makes it better.”

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.