Posted by James
Perhaps the most qualified RA I’ve ever met! On first impression that’s a good way to describe Lara Orlandic. Very energetic and always one to crack a quick smile, Lara became an RA mainly to help others. Lara attributes her language skills to her parents, much like mine. However, since her parents are from the Balkans, or Southeastern Europe, Lara has come away with quite a few languages from birth. Her father from Montenegro and mother from northern Croatia combine to give Lara a total of 4 languages up front: Croatian, Serbian, Montenegrin, and Bosnian. Lara then went on to learn English obviously, and studied French for 9 years, becoming fluent. In total, Lara can help speak 6 languages and help you traverse plenty of European soil. To add to all this Lara has traveled throughout Europe extensively and knows the ins and outs. And so, this is in fact why she became an RA, to help people.
“It can be difficult to adjust to different cultures,” according to Lara. She wants to help people assimilate to the culture in France and Europe. Lara was keen on expressing that “the cultures are not the same, and it is important for people to see the differences and understand them. Don’t assume the American way is the only way to do things.” Lara advises “the best way to know a culture is to speak to the people that live there.” She encourages anyone to come talk to her about France, French words, etc; she is always happy to help.
Listening to Lara describe her childhood it was quite clear to see why she enjoys traveling and being so international. In the span of a few years Lara moved several times. Born in Boston, within in year Lara moved to a suburb of Chicago where she lived until third grade. She later moved Champagne, Illinois, and her high school was on the University of Illinois campus. This is where she begin formulating her career options and true interests in life. Being on the U of I campus gave Lara a lot of exposure to many forms of engineering, labs, etc. Often talks were given at her school to encourage entry into engineering fields. Eventually she decided on electrical engineering. According to Lara, electrical engineering has applications everywhere. “I can go anywhere and do anything. Everything we use has some kind of micro controller, chip, or plugs in a wall.”
As I’ve learned, to most people from Illinois, Tech is a rather attractive option when it comes to school. Often the out of state tuition matches Illinois In-State Tuitions for many schools. Lara applied to mostly Big-Ten schools but somehow Tech came out to be the cheapest. Lara was accepted in the Grand Challenges Living Learning Community Leadership program her freshman year. The program focuses on examining problems, researching solutions, and applying knowledge and skills in the real world. During her second semester freshman year she also began doing Research with Dr. Omer Inan in physiological sensing processes. The lab focused on approving low cost improvements for heart failures. Lara still does research with Dr. Inan and ultimately, “wants to do something that benefits humanity in some way.”
As you can tell, Georgia Tech Lorraine is in good hands with RA Lara Orlandic. Stay tuned and read along next week as I get to know the rest of our Resident Advisors.