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Shelby Wirtz '15

Netcong, NJ
Major: IBE Chemical Engineering
Advice to future Lehigh students: "Get involved as much as you possibly can! Obviously grades come first, but college is not for sitting in your room or the library all day every day. Lehigh is the perfect example of being able to make friends in the least expected places. whether it be in a club or organization, in the computer lab struggling with a difficult homework problem, or even just waiting in line on Chicken Finger Friday, amazing people are everywhere just waiting to meet you!"

Why did you choose Lehigh?
I chose Lehigh because it satisfied every single thing I was looking for in a college: highly-ranked engineering and business programs, close to home but not "too close," and a diverse student body looking to make a difference in the world. I knew immediately during my first visit to Lehigh that it was the place for me.

What are your career aspirations?
To work in the chemical industry, and eventually get my MBA so I can explore different aspects of working in this industry.

What was your favorite Lehigh moment?
The night Lehigh beat Duke my freshman year was one I'll never forget. It was an amazing, completely spontaneous way to celebrate our Lehigh pride with all of my new friends I had made at Lehigh so far. That crazy, amazing feeling in the air of so many happy and proud Lehigh students was unlike anything I had ever experienced before.

What was the highlight of your Lehigh experience?
Something that really defined what I'm at Lehigh for was my experience in the IBE Freshman Workshop program. Without much background in engineering or business only during the second semester of freshman year, we were thrown into an entrepreneurship program that required an entire business plan: from prototyping, to market research, to financial analysis.  These high expectations combined with interdisciplinary learning opportunities, as difficult as it was, is exactly what I wanted from my Lehigh experience. Now, two years later, I am starting the IBE Capstone project, and it's amazing to reflect on that semester and see how far I've come.

What is the most helpful experience as you plan your career?
Semester-long projects such as for IBE or chemical engineering plant design give college students a fresh and well-rounded perspective of the "real world." Learning about the 4 P's of Marketing or thermodynamics in a lecture hall is helpful, but learning how to connect these fundamentals in a practical setting is much more rewarding.  Being able to simulate projects that actual professionals work on give you a good idea of what you are or are not interested in.

What is your favorite thing to do at Lehigh when you are not studying?
I actually love to go on coffee or tea dates with my friends!  Like many college students, I'm a big fan of yummy caffeinated drinks, so sitting down at Lucy's, the bookstore, or Saxby's right off-campus to catch up with a friend is a nice way to de-stress. I've also been a Gryphon for 2 years, and spending time with fellow staff members have also been great ways to make memories. Playing board games, going bowling, or just hanging out in our rooms are sometimes the best moments!
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