Laura Benoist

Director, McDonnell International Scholars Academy

    I have a passion for people, collaboration, and process development. 

    As the Director of the McDonnell International Scholars Academy, I fuel those passions by directing the McDonnell Scholars admissions process, co-teaching the Leadership Seminar and communication skills, and uniting the McDonnell Academy community. Mentoring these wildly talented and diverse Scholars as they discover their career fit is undeniably the most rewarding part of my work.

    My enjoyment in connecting people and improving processes has led to various cross-campus collaborations with the Engineering, Business, and Arts & Sciences schools at WashU. In this way, I help attract the most talented and leadership-focused international students to WashU.  Additionally, I partner with the Vice Provost for Graduate Education & International Affairs to build bridges both within WashU and with external partners to expand university reach and awareness.

    Before joining the McDonnell Academy, I was part of the Corporate Relations team at the Olin Business School. I also bring a strong background in communications, organizational development, and strategy with career stops at Microsoft and Purina.  My undergraduate degree is (oddly) in Chemical Engineering from Miami University in Ohio, and I am incredibly proud to have received my MBA from Washington University in St. Louis.  

    My husband Peter and I arrived in St. Louis (for the second time) in 2016 after spending 15 years in New York City. He is my partner in our greatest collaboration, our three amazing daughters: Ashley, Natalie, and Claire.