This past weekend marked Lehigh’s annual Family Weekend on campus. Students’ families are invited to campus to learn about the school and programs, and attend various events, such as the football game. My parents visited on Saturday and our day was highlighted by events hosted by the ChemE department. In the morning, the ChemE department put on a coffee hour in the University Center. Families were invited to enjoy hot beverages and an assortment of breakfast foods. We were able to see some fellow classmates and meet their families, and also meet some upperclassmen. At the coffee hour, several professors made an appearance. I enjoyed introducing my parents to several of my professors and it was interesting to engage with professors outside of the classroom setting. It’s difficult to explain to my family what my classes are like and what I’m learning, but it definitely makes a difference if they meet professors and hear first hand what goes on in lecture.
After the coffee hour, my family and I made the trek over to Goodman Campus and the football game. Before the game, we stopped by the ChemE tailgate, hosted by Lehigh’s chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). AIChE is a student-led organization made entirely of Chemical Engineers. Like any group on campus, they put on events such as tours of plants and fundraising activities. AIChE is a great resource for younger ChemE students because the group provides insights and advice for the ChemE program and upperclassmen are always available. The tailgate was a very informal setting and provided a great opportunity to get to know other students. AIChE provided drinks and traditional tailgate food, while students mingled with each other and families. It was a fantastic opportunity to talk to upperclassmen and learn more about the program. Several older students talked about jobs they already had lined up, internships and co-ops, and tidbits about future classes. There are so many valuable resources in the ChemE department, but I think the easiest to relate to is older students. They have all been in my situation and have worked through the program, I take their advice to heart.
It’s a good feeling to have to know that your department truly cares about your education and well-being. Professors are devoted to students and helping them succeed, they even woke up early on a Saturday to meet our parents. It’s impossible to be a successful engineer or person without developing relationships and building connections with others. Communication is the key to success, you can’t do everything yourself, especially in the ChemE department. I’m eagerly looking forward to the next few years because I know there are professors and other students that will always be willing to lend a helping hand.