Michelle Lollie Addresses the College of Science’s Largest Graduating Class

Michelle Lollie at the LSU College of Science May 2022 Commencement Ceremony.

Dr. Michelle Lollie at the LSU College of Science May 2022 Commencement Ceremony just seconds after walking across the stage with her PhD.Photo Credit: LSU

BATON ROUGE – Just one year after graduating with her PhD in Physics from LSU, Dr. Michelle Lollie is back at the LSU College of Science Commencement Ceremony as our commencement speaker for Spring 2023, addressing the largest graduating class in the college’s history.

Dr. Lollie is an advanced laser scientist, specializing in lasers and optics at Quantinuum, Honeywell’s quantum computer spinoff located outside of Denver. She graduated from LSU in May of 2022, becoming the first Black woman to graduate with a PhD in physics from the LSU Department of Physics and Astronomy. She was advised by Associate Professor Omar Magaña-Loaiza and the late Professor and Hearne Chair of Theoretical Physics Jonathan P. Dowling. Her PhD research included classical and quantum optics using spatial modes of light for advanced secure communication.

Dr. Lollie’s journey to LSU and her career as a physicist was about as non-linear as quantum mechanics itself, showing that, with the right amount of determination, it's never too late to pursue your passion for science.

In 2004, Dr. Lollie graduated from Clark Atlanta University with a bachelor’s degree in finance. Six years later, she happened upon a paper about quantum information theory. While she’s still not sure how that paper even crossed her desk, it inspired her – a banker with a degree in finance – to enroll in the optical engineering program at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Indiana. After graduating with her second bachelor's degree in physics, Michelle enrolled at Indiana University in Bloomington to pursue a master’s degree in physics and later transferred to LSU.

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