Giavanna Gast

Collaborative Kindness

Giavanna Gast ’24

"The people I’ve met at Lehigh are not only some of the smartest I know, but also the kindest. Whether you’re looking for help with a class, finding a research opportunity, or applying for a nationally-competitive scholarship, you won’t have to search for long before finding someone who is well informed & willing to help."

Q: How has Lehigh prepared you to take on tomorrow’s challenges?

A: Through the IDEAS program, I have the opportunity to create my own integrated degree, a theme that will be completely unique. I believe that the process & responsibility of creating this program that does not yet exist gives IDEAS students the tools and skills necessary to find solutions for problems that currently seem unsolvable.

Q: We often hear that Lehigh is special because our students are collaborative, not competitive, with each other. Have you seen this to be true? How so?

A: 100% — The people I’ve met at Lehigh are not only some of the smartest I know, but also the kindest. Whether you’re looking for help with a class, finding a research opportunity, or applying for a nationally-competitive scholarship, you won’t have to search for long before finding someone who is well informed & willing to help.

Q: Tell us about your EcoRealm project. What are your goals for this project?

A: EcoRealm is my impact-focused research fellowship through the Creative Inquiry Department. I am project manager of an interdisciplinary team that is designing biophilic, or plant incorporated infrastructure, to integrate nature into high-stress work environments to prevent & decrease work-induced stress. Creative Inquiry projects serve as a place to refine skills through experience doing something that matters. And that last part: “doing something that matters” is the most crucial part, and what makes me love this project and program.

Q: What is a classroom or extracurricular activity at Lehigh that helped you determine (or solidified) what you want to pursue in future?

A: My career goals of creating novel, technical products to work towards the UN sustainable development goals was determined through the testing of interest areas through research projects. I was incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to research a diverse range of interests--from ethnobotany, to astrophysics and sustainable development--my freshman year. It was the juxtaposition of these projects that allowed me to discover new career paths I hadn’t yet thought possible.

Q: What is your favorite thing about Lehigh?

A: The people! I love the opportunity to have random conversations with strangers about whatever they are interested in! With every conversation, I get to learn about their passion and discover something new and incredible. I feel incredibly fortunate to have met my best friends at Lehigh.

Q: Where is your study spot of choice on campus?

A: The Wilbur Powerhouse! I absolutely love the whirring of the 3D printers, the constant inventors and tinkers who frequent the space, and the beautiful trees and fairy lights outside.

 

Next Profile:

Gaining Global Perspective

Majors: Psychology; Health, Medicine and Society
Hometown: Los Altos, California

Siobhan Gillis