Laura Akesson
 COVES Fellow Profile

Laura Akesson

  • Ph.D. candidate, Physics
  • George Mason University
  • Senator Ghazala Hashmi's office

Laura Akesson is a Ph.D. student in Physics at George Mason University with a focus on Identity and Belonging in Physics. She holds a MS in Applied Physics from VCU, a BS inMathematics and BA in Physics from the University of Richmond. She has worked in research groups in Particle Physics at Jefferson National Lab, and Solid State Physics specializing in optical properties of semiconductors. Most recently, Laura was serving in the Department of Energy as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow. Previously, she taught high school Physics, Math, and Biomedical Engineering/Design for 22 years, and Virginia Commonwealth University (2 years). She is the owner and founder of Science Overdrive, a nonprofit serving K-8 Science Teachers. Laura has been invited to the TEDx stage and to deliver talks for the Department of Education, FC-STEM , DisruptHR, Science and Social Justice workshops, among others. She is passionate about creating equity in STEM, and effective programs and policies are systematic, interdisciplinary, and community-based. Laura was born in South Korea, adopted at three months old with her twin sister by an Irish Catholic couple in Philadelphia. She is a first generation college graduate, and currently lives with her husband and son in Richmond, where she loves running along the James River in her free time.


  • Ph.D. candidate, Physics, George Mason University
  • MS, Applied Physics , Virginia Commonwealth University
  • BS, Mathematics; BA, Physics, University of Richmond