Lehigh students choose their majors for many different reasons: a long-standing passion, a new interest, family tradition. And sometimes, like Melissa Goleb, they're inspired by personal experience.
Goleb has Type 1 diabetes and she's worn an insulin pump since she was in fifth grade. "I've seen firsthand how great medical devices can allow people to live normal lives," she says. "I'd like to help people in the same way."
She is majoring in bioengineering, with a concentration in bioelectronics. She eventually wants to get a master's degree in the field and work for a product development company that manufactures medical devices like her insulin pump.
Over the summer, Goleb received an undergraduate research fellowship at the National Institute of Standards and Technology near her hometown of Gaithersburg, Md. At NIST, she studied carbon nanotubes and their interaction with proteins in the body.
"Lehigh has given me such great opportunities to do research in the lab."
She is continuing that research with Professor H. Daniel Ou-Yang in the physics department. She's using fluorescent correlation spectroscopy techniques to make optical trapping devices to separate the nanotubes and examining their reactions to aqueous environments so they can be used in the human body.
"It feels awesome to research in the lab," Goleb says. "It allows me to collect data that could lead to publication, and working with graduate students introduces me to the various professional paths that I can take."
In addition to working in Prof. Ou-Yang's lab, Goleb is a member of the Rossin Junior Fellows, the engineering society at Lehigh. The group gives tours to prospective students, offers tutoring sessions, runs Engineering Days and does community service.
One of the main activities of the Rossin Junior Fellows is Canstruction, a contest to build large structures out of cans of foods. The Fellows work with students from Bethlehem's Broughal Middle School, and the food is donated to a local food bank.
Goleb also belongs to the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority, where she is the vice president of scholarship. Last year, she was the sorority's philanthropy chair.
"My favorite thing about Lehigh," says Goleb, "is the friends I've made here. I like the small classes and the warm vibe. I've never felt overwhelmed by competition in class, and it's small enough that you know everyone, but not too small. Lehigh is such a great community-over the summer, I was so excited to come back because it feels like home."
On the Record
What is your favorite spot in Bethlehem? The canal towpath for running.
What is your favorite place to eat on campus? Rathbone because you can see all your friends there!
What is your favorite building on campus? It's a tie between Packard Lab because of its history and the STEPS building because it's so new and beautiful.