Episode 19 - "An honor, and a challenge"

Rossin Connection Podcast


Sibel PamukcuSibel Pamukcu was finishing up her PhD program at Lousiana State University when she first saw an ad in a civil engineering magazine for a faculty position at Lehigh University. There were plenty of good reasons to apply. The university’s civil engineering department (now called the department of civil and environmental engineering) was (and still is) one of the best in the country. She would be among “legends,” as she calls them, of structural engineering. And her LSU colleagues told her it would be a great career move.

She had another motive, too.

“[My husband and I] really wanted to go up north because we wanted to see the four seasons again,” she says. “Which is a lame reason, but it was one of the reasons.”

Pamukcu calls becoming the department’s first woman faculty member “a big honor.” But the distinction also came with challenges, which threatened to derail her research. Ultimately, however, she was able to navigate those obstacles and in doing so, made groundbreaking progress on the field of electroremediation of soils and groundwater.

This is the second episode in a series we’re running to mark the Soaring Together celebration of 50 years of female undergraduate education at Lehigh. We’ll be featuring women faculty who are making an impact on every level—with their students, in their field, and on the world.