Rossin Connection Podcast

Rossin Connection Podcast

Welcome to the Rossin Connection Podcast!

Rossin Connection is a show for students, alumni, faculty, and staff—current, former, and future—and for anyone who is interested in the many creative ways that engineers are solving the world’s problems.

Learn more about the show, where to find it (and if you’re a podcasting newbie, how to subscribe!), and where to submit feedback and episode ideas.

Photo of Dominic DiFranzo and his child in corn field, smiling at the camera

Episode 28 - Making the internet a safer place

April 11, 2024

Like a lot of kids, Dominic DiFranzo spent loads of time on the internet when he was growing up. It was where he could connect with other people who shared his passion for “nerdy things” like science fiction and Japanese anime. Pretty soon, the web itself captivated him–how it worked technologically, and eventually, how people built online communities. Today, he researches how to make the internet more “pro-social,” and a safer space for kids, older adults, and really, for all of us.  

Listen to the episode and read more about Dominic DiFranzo >>

Headshot of Javad Khazaei

Episode 27 - Towards a More Resilient Energy Future

Oct 31, 2023

Javad Khazaei came to the U.S from Iran. He was the first member of his family to leave the country, and at first, the transition was a tough one. But he pushed through what he calls, “the challenge that every international student has to overcome.” Today, he’s an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering. In this episode, he talks about an influential trip he took as a kid with his dad, how the encouraging words of his advisor changed the course of his career, and how his research will help make our power system more robust–and will contribute to the global effort to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. 

Listen to the episode and read more about Javad Khazaei >>

Siddha Pimputkar

Episode 26 - The "Holy Grail" of Materials

July 12, 2023

Growing up, Siddha Pimputkar spent summers with his grandparents, which meant spending lots of time figuring out how to maintain an old house and a large garden. That love of problem solving stayed with him, and he eventually turned it into a career in materials science, the engineering discipline that, he says, connects to all the others in some shape or form. Today, he’s researching a novel method of growing cubic boron nitride, a material that has the potential to–among other things–solve the very big problem of energy efficiency in electronics, and in the grid itself. It’s so promising, he often calls it the “holy grail” of materials.

Listen to the episode and read more about Siddha Pimputkar >>

Farrah Moazeni Headshot

Episode 25 - "You can do this."

January 24, 2023

When Farrah Moazeni started out as a chemical engineering student in Iran, she figured she’d end up working for her country’s petrochemical industry. But the environmental impacts of the business made her change course. She came to the U.S. to study renewable energy and got her PhD in civil engineering. After an invaluable (and memorable!) experience working in industry, she came to Lehigh where she’s now an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering researching ways to make smart water systems safer and more efficient. In this episode, she talks about working toward equitable access to resources like water, what it was like leaving everything she knew behind in Iran, how she pushed through when things got tough–and how she’s helping her own international students do the same.

Listen to the episode and read more about Farrah Moazeni >>

Angela Brown headshot

Episode 24 - Combating Antibiotic Resistance

December 13, 2022

According to the Centers for Disease Control, antibiotic resistance is a global public health threat that was associated with nearly 5 million deaths worldwide in 2019. In this episode, associate professor Angela Brown explains why these powerful, important drugs can also do harm, how her research has influenced how and when she takes them, and the work her lab is doing to develop new strategies to fight bacterial infections. We also learn why she never intended to become an engineer in the first place, why she calls bacteria “amazing,” and the surprising part of the job that she loves (ok, and sometimes hates), the most.

Listen to the episode and read more about Angela Brown >>

Keith Moored headshot

Episode 23 - Inspired by Animals

November 1, 2022

It’s really, really hard to make something swim like a fish. But understanding just how these animals move can help in a range of applications–from the design of renewable energy devices to underwater vehicles and forecasting the impact of climate change on fish populations. In this episode, associate professor Keith Moored talks about how his childhood love of the ocean led him to diving with manta rays as a grad student, and eventually to a career researching bio-inspired locomotion, specifically, the fluid mechanics of fish swimming.

Listen to the episode and read more about Keith Moored >>

Nick Strandwitz

Episode 22: The “Magic” of Materials Engineering

July 5, 2022

Chances are, you’ve never given much (if any!) thought to the films that coat things like your phone charger. But without them–and without their exact dimensions of thickness and hardness–the technology we rely on every day would be useless. In this episode, associate professor Nick Strandwitz explains what he calls the “magic” of atomic layer deposition, a thin film growth technique that, among many other things, helps our computers and smartphones do what they do–and do it fast. He also talks about what makes the discipline of materials science particularly satisfying.

Listen to the episode and read more about Nick Strandwitz >>

Karmel Shehadeh

Episode 21: Following your dreams

April 20, 2022

As a kid growing up in Amman, Jordan, Karmel Shehadeh knew she wanted to one day be a professor and a researcher. Today, she is both. And at the end of her faculty profile, she includes an unusual line. It’s not a sentiment you typically come across in such writeups, but it’s targeted toward a special group of students. In this episode, you’ll find out why she makes a point of including that sentence not only in her profile, but in the acknowledgement section of her research papers.

Listen to the episode and read more about Karmel Shehadeh >>

Scott Willoughby and the James Webb Space Telescope

Episode 20: "They nailed it." Engineering the James Webb Space Telescope

March 1, 2022

The James Webb Space Telescope launched into orbit on Christmas Day 2021. It’s the largest, most powerful space science telescope that has ever been built. It will enable us to look more than 13 billion years back in time, helping us answer questions like, Where do we come from? and Are we alone? It took 20 years, thousands of technicians, scientists, and engineers, and 40 million hours to build. One of those engineers is Lehigh alum Scott Willoughby. He graduated with a degree in electrical engineering in 1989, and today he’s the vice president and program manager for the James Webb Space Telescope program at Northrop Grumman. In this episode, he explains why this mission is an Apollo moment for science, what makes this telescope a singular marvel of engineering, and how we’re already benefiting from Webb’s development here on earth.

Listen to the episode and read more about Scott Willoughby and the James Webb Space Telescope >>

Sibel Pamukcu

Episode 19: "An honor, and a challenge"

December 6, 2021

Sibel Pamukcu is an expert in the field of electroremediation of soils and groundwater, and her pioneering research spans more than three decades of work. But Sibel is a pioneer of another sort as well. She was the first woman faculty member of the department of civil and environmental engineering (back then, it was simply the department of civil engineering). In this episode, she talks about becoming an engineer, her groundbreaking research, the challenges she faced in her early years in the department, and what she’s learned from her colleagues today that she believes could have helped her back then.

Listen to the episode and read more about Sibel Pamukcu >>

Hannah Dailey

Episode 18: "You are valued."

October 5, 2021

When Hannah Dailey says she feels like she's been at Lehigh her whole life, she means it. She did her undergrad in mechanical engineering here, came back for her master's and PhD, and today she’s an assistant professor specializing in medical devices. In this episode, she talks about her journey from "terrified" transfer student to entrepreneur to helping surgeons improve patient care. She also talks about the efforts to get more female students and faculty into mechanical engineering, and the one thing she thinks everyone needs to hear.

Listen to the episode and read more about Hannah Dailey >>

James Gilchrist

Episode 17: Coffee and Cosmetics

August 2, 2021

There’s a unique course available to all undergraduates this fall. It’s called Coffee and Cosmetics: Engineering of Consumer Products, and it was designed by students, for students. On this episode, James Gilchrist shares the origin story of the class, and how for the first time in his teaching career, he wasn’t the expert in the room.

Listen to the episode and read more about James Gilchrist >>

Anand Ramamurthi

Episode 16: How engineers treat disease

January 4, 2021

The fall 2020 semester marked Anand Ramamurthi’s first here at Lehigh. Ramamurthi is the new professor and chair of Lehigh’s bioengineering department. In this episode, he talks about his research journey, and how an early fascination with the human body led to the realization that engineers can play a significant role in treating disease.

Listen to the episode and read more about Anand Ramamurti >>

Matt Bilsky

Episode 15: Solving Life’s What-If Problems

November 19, 2020

Matt Bilsky is a Lehigh alum and an entrepreneur. Growing up, he was constantly building and inventing things, and that creator mindset helped him not only design his own PhD program, but start two companies focused on solving those “wouldn’t it be nice if” situations. Here’s the story of how a K’NEX kid became a problem-solving CEO—and what startup life sounds like in the era of COVID-19.

Listen to the episode and read more about Matt Bilsky >>

Lesley Chow

Episode 14: Can cartilage be regrown?

October 27, 2020

Osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones wears down over time. It’s the most common form of arthritis, and it affects more than 31 million Americans. Lesley Chow recently received a CAREER award for her work on a technique that may someday help cartilage regrow, and help people avoid debilitating pain.

Listen to the episode and read more about Lesley Chow >>

Terry Hart, Part II

Episode 13: The Astronaut, Part 2

October 8, 2020

This is the second half of our interview with professor of practice, Terry Hart '68, '88H. It begins in 1978, just after Hart was selected from 8,000 applicants to be one of 35 astronauts known as Group 8, the first to include African Americans, Asian Americans, and women. He talks about training for his historic 1984 mission, why weightlessness was initially pretty awful, and about the one failure NASA didn’t anticipate. He also explains why he left the astronaut corps, his view on the future of space exploration, and why he calls being named commencement speaker for the 2020 class, “the honor of my life.”

Listen to the episode and read more about Terry Hart >>

Terry Hart

Episode 12: The Astronaut, Part 1

September 24, 2020

Terry Hart '68, '88H, is a Lehigh alum and a professor of practice in mechanical engineering and mechanics. He's also a former telecommunications executive, fighter pilot, and astronaut. In part one of a two-part interview, Hart talks about the event that initially captured his imagination about space, the edge engineering gave him as an Air Force pilot during the Vietnam War, the most fortuitous failure of his life, and why Sally Ride was his favorite copilot.

Listen to the episode and read more about Terry Hart >>

Peter Schwarzenberg

Episode 11: From injured runner to researcher

September 3, 2020

If there’s an upside to being injury-prone, Peter Schwarzenberg ’16 found it after deciding to leave the Lehigh Cross Country team when he was a junior. It was a move that suddenly freed up hours for things he’d never really considered before. He’s now in his final year (“Fingers crossed,” he says) of the PhD program in mechanical engineering and mechanics. And the work he’s doing on a virtual technique to predict bone healing in tibial fractures has already brought him high-profile recognition from the National Science Foundation.

Listen to the episode and read more about Peter Schwarzenberg >>

Kathleen Egan

Episode 10: Kathleen Egan: Athlete, Activist, CEO

August 21, 2020

Kathleen Egan ’90, is an alum of the industrial engineering program (now called industrial and systems engineering), and the CEO and cofounder of ecomedes, a company whose mission is to reduce the cost and impact of buildings. Despite a successful career as a serial entrepreneur, she talks about still being haunted by imposter syndrome. But she’s turned it into her superpower. In this episode, she explains how she does it, and what else students can do to get an edge as they begin their own careers.

Listen to the episode and read more about Kathleen Egan >>

Christina Haden

Episode 9: Breaking the stereotype

July 8, 2020

Professor of Practice Christina Haden has two goals for the students who attend the Lehigh Women Engineers PreLUsion program: to make friends, and to feel, through the connections they make with female faculty and peer mentors, that they belong in the field of engineering. Through the voices of past participants, listeners will hear how that’s exactly what’s happening.

Listen to the episode and read more about Christina Haden and Lehigh PreLUsion >>

Sabrina Jedlicka

Episode 8: Expanding the worldview of students

June 18, 2020

On July 1st, 2020, Sabrina Jedlicka became the new associate dean of academic affairs for the Rossin College. In this episode, she talks about how psychology played a big role in who she became as an engineer and as a professor, how a chance meeting with a female mentor shaped her path as a researcher, and how she’ll use her new role as associate dean to broaden the worldview of students, and help address the inequity in engineering.

Listen to the episode and read more about Sabrina Jedlicka >>

David Adinaro

Episode 7: Caring for the COVID Convalescent

June 4, 2020

David Adinaro, '88 ’15 M.Eng., is an alum of the Healthcare Systems Engineering program, and the chief medical officer of the East Orange-Alternate Care Site in East Orange, New Jersey. There, he and his staff care for the COVID convalescent, those in the last 5 to 7 days of their hospital stay. The experience of working on the frontlines of the pandemic has been full of challenges, surprises, and countless acts of humanity. And for an emergency physician like Dr. Adinaro, it has also been a struggle.

Listen to the episode and read more about David Adinaro >>

Onur Denizhan

Episode 6: The Journey of Onur Denizhan

May 26, 2020

Onur Denizhan ’15G is a PhD student in the department of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics, and the recent recipient of the RCEAS Graduate Leadership and Service award. He calls the award “proof of my life at Lehigh.” As an international student from Turkey, the path to such recognition hasn’t always been easy. But Onur has found that his struggles have only made him stronger.

Listen to the episode and read more about Onur Denizhan >>

Ellie Christman

Episode 5: “I was pleasantly surprised.”

May 13, 2020

Ellie Christman is a chemical engineering major and a freshman. Having to finish out her first year at Lehigh at home was a “huge bummer,” but she’s gotten more out of remote learning than she anticipated.

Listen to the episode and read more about Ellie Christman >>

Brian Slocum

Episode 4: “Hospitals are desperate for solutions.”

May 6, 2020

A small team at Lehigh led by Brian Slocum brings you inside their labs and work spaces to explain how they’ve responded to the shortage of personal protective equipment, and made more than 1200 face shields for local healthcare providers.

Listen to the episode and read more about Brian and the Wilbur Powerhouse >>

Susan Perry

Episode 3 - “We're feeling the lack of closure."

April 28, 2020

Susan Perry is a professor of practice in the bioengineering department. She says the thought of teaching remotely—especially teaching labs remotely—was pretty daunting at first. But it was her students who ended up easing her anxiety.

Listen to the episode and read more about Susan >>

Seanna Corr

Episode 2 - “It's a hard time to be a senior."

April 21, 2020

Seanna Corr is a bioengineering major, and a senior. In this episode of Rossin Connection, she talks about the goodbyes she didn’t get to say, her worries about the future, and her two secret weapons who are helping her through it all.

Listen to the episode and read more about Seanna >>

Alexander Spivey

Episode 1 - “There are positives to this."

April 14, 2020

First-year engineering student Alexander Spivey talks about the challenges he faced when the coronavirus pandemic forced students to leave campus, and how he’s staying focused.

Listen to the episode and read more about Alexander >>