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Kathleen Vander Laan

Director - Graduate Co-op

Kathleen VanderLaan


Office Location

35-37 Leon Street
303 Meserve Hall
Boston, MA 02115

Mailing Address

Northeastern University
ATTN: Kathleen Vander Laan, 301 ME
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115


  • MA in Interior Design, New England School of Art & Design, Suffolk University
  • MBA, Xavier University
  • BS in Metallurgical Engineering, Michigan Technological University

What are the specifics of your educational/career background?

I received my Bachelor of Science in Metallurgical Engineering from Michigan Technological University. I also have an MBA from Xavier University and a Master of Arts in Interior Design from New England School of Art & Design/Suffolk University.

My professional background includes working for GE Aviation in numerous leadership positions, including engineering, supply chain and program management. After receiving my MA in Interior Design, I taught interior design as adjunct faculty at Suffolk University and Endicott College and established a small interior design firm. Prior to joining Northeastern, I worked at Wentworth Institute of Technology as a co-op advisor supporting architecture and interior design students. Currently I work as a graduate student co-op advisor at Northeastern University in the Khoury College of Computer Sciences.

What are the key aspects of your role at Northeastern? What do you enjoy most about what you do?

As a co-op coordinator for graduate students, I work predominantly with International students, helping them prepare for their US work experience. It’s rewarding to work with bright and talented students at the beginning of their future career. They inspire and challenge me to keep learning every day.

What’s the most compelling thing to you about the work that goes on at Khoury?

The energy and excitement that students convey after their co-op or internship work experience and how it molds their future career.

Where did you grow up or spend your most defining years?

I grew up in southwest Michigan.

What was the reason you opted to study at your particular schools?

I enjoyed math and science in high school, and even though studying engineering was not “in vogue” for females at the time, I opted to take the challenge. An influential teacher planted the idea as well as recommended Michigan Tech, where average snowfall is 300+ inches a year. The natural beauty of Michigan’s upper peninsula coupled with the reputation of the university’s engineering program, made it the right choice for me. It was one of the best decisions of my life.