Lehigh has long been recognized for its strong engineering program, but for Johnny Walter '12, it was the rare opportunity to major in both architecture and civil engineering that drew him to the school.
"Lehigh's arts engineering program was really something unique and very appealing," says Walter. "Getting the opportunity to learn both sides of the design process was something that really interested me and I felt would be very beneficial."
"Talking to people who are actually working on the projects I am learning about provides a different perspective than a textbook..."
With a course load that includes classes like architectural history, Walter spends a good deal of time in the library studying for exams, but his construction curriculum isn't confined to the walls of the classroom. Due to Lehigh's proximity to New York City, he saw his studies come to life when he and other students in the civil engineering program visited the World Trade Center and new Freedom Tower site.
Walter was in the midst of a research project on the foundation of the World Trade Center when he took the trip to New York City. During his visit, he was able to speak with engineers and project managers who were working on the building and obtained a lot of the research for his project first hand. He even exchanged contact information with a few of the professionals on the job and continued his conversations with them after he returned to Lehigh.
"I enjoyed talking with professionals about what was going on at the site and getting the chance to witness the construction of one of the most important sites in American history first hand," says Walter. "Talking to people who are actually working on the projects I am learning about provides a different perspective than a textbook."
Thanks to experiential learning opportunities and a unique course of study that links design and construction, Walter will enter the work force understanding both the technical and aesthetic components of the building process.
"I really hope to be working in a design firm and leading projects that will change landscapes for many years to come. Learning about both architecture and engineering here at Lehigh really has prepared me to think differently, both logically and creatively. Most students don't get the chance to learn and develop that way."
On the Record
Where is the best place to hang out? University Center Front Lawn
What word best describes Lehigh? Spirited!
What is the best residence hall? Richards was fun my first year…Taylor is also good (Fun Fact: According to Lehigh legend, Taylor College was scheduled to be demolished – but when the wrecking ball hit the side of the building, it fell apart, leaving the building unscathed. Taking this as a divine sign, the university cancelled the demolition.)