Ashleigh Crawford, Bioengineering:

"I worked on a lot of different research projects during my time at Lehigh. In my first year, I did some simulation research. The summer after that, I worked as an intern at a biotech startup. I also interned as a software engineer. It all helped me realize that I'm most interested in doing bench research—'wet lab' stuff, like pipetting and actually watching things happen in the lab, as opposed to sitting behind a computer.

As a senior, I helped my team develop a diagnostic test strip for sickle cell anemia as part of my Creative Inquiry and capstone design classes. I also got funding through the Clare Boothe Luce Research Scholars to help develop a microfluidic device that can separate pathogens from bodily fluids. These projects were really valuable because they were focused on biomaterials, and I’m studying biopharmaceutical engineering. So I got to diversify and expand my experiences. In the end, though, no matter what you're working on, it's all about

The Clare Boothe Luce Scholarship is one of a number of programs supported by the Rossin College to increase the participation of women in science and engineering research.

"To me, the pace of learning in the lab was so much faster than in the classroom. And while the professor and graduate students will guide you, you're responsible for your own learning, which is really cool. Especially with the sickle cell project, we had so much independence and freedom. Within a year of starting that project, my teammates and I were writing proposals and abstracts for conferences. I never expected to be doing that at that point.

Initially, I wasn't sure if I wanted to go into industry or head to graduate school after graduation. But I've decided on grad school because I'm really interested in vaccines. And I don't think I would have been able to make that decision if I hadn't been in the lab."