Welcome to a special Fall 2021 issue of Resolve—a magazine dedicated to research and educational innovation in the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science at Lehigh University.

Sabrina Jedlicka (left), Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Svetlana Tatic-Lucic, Professor and Associate Dean for Faculty Development

With Fall semester in full swing, autumn’s blue skies, brisk breezes, and blazing colors grace our campus as usual. But this year, it’s not the rustling of leaves overhead or their crunch underfoot that calls our attention. It’s the greetings of our colleagues in passing. The chatter of students as they move between classes. The familiar soundtrack of in-person living and learning at Lehigh that brings a smile and assures us—we’re back!

While the pandemic has accustomed us to acknowledging small victories, this year, Lehigh marks the 50th anniversary of a particularly significant one: admitting the first women undergraduate students. To commemorate this milestone, the university has launched Soaring Together, a celebration of the impact and contributions of Lehigh women—past, present, and future.

To join in, we’ve dedicated this special issue of Resolve to amplifying the voices of women engineers by sharing their stories of persistence and dedication, creativity and innovation, leadership and scholarship. Our feature story traces back the unsettling journey of women engineering faculty members as they made inroads into an environment that challenged their merit at every turn. For us, wrestling with the narratives of these women, including trailblazer Patti Ota, evoked a range of emotions, including deep gratitude for all those who helped pave the way for our own leadership roles within the college.

The article also overflows with energy and inspiration from promising undergraduate and graduate students, successful alumnae, and accomplished researchers (like civil and environmental engineering professor Kristen Jellison, who co-directs the Lehigh ADVANCE Center for Women STEM Faculty). The women featured on these pages (and in extended content at engineering.lehigh.edu/soaringtogether) are making an impact in our labs, across our learning community, and throughout business and industry.

Although much has been achieved over the past 50 years (about a third of Lehigh’s institutional history), undoubtedly much remains to be done to realize greater diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) for all underrepresented groups in STEM.

In our Rising Star column, we detail the ongoing work of the Rossin College’s DEI Council and a related faculty hiring search that has advanced strategic goals around increasing both academic excellence and representation.

“Brewing Interest” tells the story of a new student-designed class that is open to all majors. “Coffee and Cosmetics: Engineering of Consumer Products” grounds the basic concepts of chemical engineering in relatable applications and invites a broader cross section of students to “taste and see” if the discipline has appeal.

Finally, we are excited to introduce you to Lehigh’s new president (though there’s a chance you already know him as a former university trustee—or as a classmate and fellow Lehigh Engineering alum). In our Q&A, Joseph J. Helble ’82 discusses his research and public policy work as an environmental chemical engineer. He also shares his experience as an administrator, including as provost and engineering dean at Dartmouth College. Under his leadership, Dartmouth saw a dramatic increase in the share of undergraduate engineering degrees awarded to women. This success demonstrates that, with a concerted, communal effort, it is possible to continue moving the needle on Lehigh’s campus as well.

We hope you enjoy this Soaring Together issue of Resolve and we encourage you to visit lehigh.edu/soaringtogether to learn how you can engage through networking opportunities, sharing your reflections, and philanthropy. Please reach out with your thoughts and comments. And, as always, thank you for your interest in Lehigh Engineering.

Sabrina Jedlicka

Sabrina Jedlicka
Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

Svetlana Tatic-Lucic

Svetlana Tatic-Lucic
Professor and Associate Dean for Faculty Development