As sophomores at GW, Andrew (Andy) and Elizabeth (Elizabeth “Lisa” Smith) Lacher had something in common right off the bat – they were the only two engineering majors on their floor in Crawford Hall. Their roommates were already friends, so between shared classes, study groups, and free time, Andy and Elizabeth found they were often together.
Andy, SEAS BS ’86, MA ’90, and Elizabeth, SEAS BS ’87, also shared a bond over their pursuit of engineering. Both had come to GW specifically to attend the School of Engineering and Applied Science, and both had done so on a scholarship.
A partnership that began on the 5th floor of Crawford is still going strong today; the Lachers have been happily married for 31 years and have four adult children. They also still share that day-to-day pursuit of engineering – they are longstanding employees of The MITRE Corporation in McLean, Virginia.
A not-for-profit company that operates multiple federally funded research and development centers, MITRE was a natural fit for Elizabeth, who started in a student position and landed a full-time role when she graduated from GW. A year later, Andy followed, having spent a year working for another organization in the area.
Andy now supports and coordinates MITRE’s activities in adopting artificial intelligence technologies. Elizabeth’s work supports the Federal Aviation Administration in the areas of performance analysis and “Next Gen” initiatives for air traffic management.
Aside from building rewarding careers, staying in the D.C. area has also allowed Andy and Elizabeth to stay connected to GW, where they meet students who share their passions. Both Lachers have hosted Dinner with Alumni events, and Andy serves as a Clark Engineering Scholars mentor, speaks on panels, and is a member of the SEAS National Advisory Council.
“Working with current students, the level of energy – the amount of knowledge they have – is incredible,” Andy says. “It’s rejuvenating for me to be in contact with them.”
The opportunity to be active alumni holds a deeper meaning for the couple, who have not forgotten the scholarships that first brought them to GW.
“[We] benefitted from the generosity of others – part of the way to give back is with my time,” Andy explains. “I want to return the favor.”
As partners who have studied together, parented together, and worked together, the Lachers know firsthand the opportunities that education, hard work, and dedication can provide. But there’s another reason they’re grateful for finding their way to GW years ago.
“I met my wife,” Andy says. “That’s my favorite memory.”