Conducting Research and Finding Answers

Juliana Caskie '23

"If you can, really try to come to campus. Getting to see the academic buildings and all the signs letting you know what's going on around campus really helps you to get a sense of how you could fit into the campus community. Plus, there are always people in the admissions office ready to answer questions face to face if you're on campus."

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

A: Being a part of so many on campus activities all while taking classes and studying has made me learn a lot about time management and how to best get done everything I need to. In such a busy world it's important to know how much you can take on and how you'll be able to handle those responsibilities which Lehigh had really been able to help me discover.

Q: You initially wanted to go out of state for school, what influenced you to ultimately choose Lehigh?

A: I had initially thought of majoring in architecture and so I was looking at schools that had a special 5-year program. Bethlehem has always been my home, so I thought it would also be fun to go somewhere new. Ultimately, I decided I wasn't dead set on pursuing architecture and those specialized programs were designed for students who knew for sure architecture was for them, so I backtracked. I decided to come to Lehigh to have some more flexibility in what I could do with my time in college. I started off as an architecture major before switching to political science in my sophomore year. Being able to explore and take classes outside of my major was really important to me in trying to decide what was the right major for me and I was sure I would be able to get that here at Lehigh.

Q: You are doing research on campus, can you tell us about that and how you connected with the professor(s)?

A: Both of my research projects are through the Mountaintop Summer Experience, so students apply to work on projects professors are interested in rather than having to come up with an individual idea and approach a faculty member. I didn't know either of the professors before I started working with them, though one, Dr. Mary Foltz, is a part of the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program, so our director mentioned my name to her early on in the process while I was abroad and unable to meet her myself. The project with Dr. Foltz is a team of four students in which we have access to regional LGBTQ+ archives that we are tasked with helping to digitize while also getting to create our own exhibition based on the material we found. Currently, we're in the late stages of creating our exhibition on the 2002 amendment to the City of Allentown's anti-discrimination ordinance that would protect people regardless of gender identity or sexuality. I'm also a part of the white adolescent racial socialization team. We're trying to determine the impact social media can play on the development of racial attitudes as well as morality and political beliefs.

Q: What classroom or extracurricular activity at Lehigh helped you determine what you want to pursue in the future?

A: Being a part of both my research teams as well as working on my honors thesis showed me that I really do love conducting research and finding answers to problems. Each of my research experiences is unique and have given me a great deal of insight into the different types of research I could pursue which has really helped me to see what I would most prefer to do in the future. I've especially enjoyed my work with the white adolescent racial socialization team as we've formulated a specific question we want to have answered and have pursued an answer through literature reviews as well as surveys and, hopefully in the near future, interviews.

Q: Can you tell us a little more about your role as an United Nations Youth Representative?

As a youth representative I get to serve as a voice for my NGO, Nor Luyce, both on campus as well as at the United Nations. I meet every other week with the president of my NGO with the other youth representative to talk about plans for the coming weeks. So far, our team has put on a panel here on campus about technology and how it can serve as a tool for empowerment. Most youth representatives spend a lot of time preparing for the Commission on the Status of Women and our panel was basically a dry run for presenting on this year's theme. I'm also able to speak at the United Nations as our president often cannot be present at meetings in the United States in person. I've been able to speak at a consultative commission to help determine how the United Nations can best serve the NGOs it works with.

Q: What is your favorite thing about Lehigh?

A: The fun events here on campus. There's almost always something going on in the evening here whether it be through Zoellner Arts Center where you can go see a concert or play, or with Lehigh After Dark which hosts my favorite activity, Wingo.

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

A: The reading room of Linderman. I love the quiet and it always feels like the perfect study space.

 

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Collaborative Kindness

Majors: IDEAS: Product Engineering, Materials Physics, Sustainable Development
Hometown: Des Moines, IA

Giavanna Gast