Bryce Erdman

Bryce Erdman immersed himself in his academics as well as community service and the Lehigh Baja SAE team.

Bryce Erdman Hits the Ground Running

He graduates with a degree in mechanical engineering.

Story by

Mary Ellen Alu

Photography by

Christa Neu

Bryce Erdman ’23 felt he was just starting to find his way at Lehigh when COVID-19 hit, classes went remote, and he returned home to finish out his first year, then sophomore year. When he was able to return in person to Lehigh to complete his junior and senior years, he was determined to make the most of his studies and campus life.

“Okay, we've been locked inside for a year and a half, so now I want to be here,” he told himself. “I'm going to make the best of it. I established some things, so let's do it.”

He hit the ground running.

Bryce Erdman in Denmark

Erdman on a ferry in Denmark, where he studied as a Martindale Scholar. Photo: Asgar Ali ’23.

A mechanical engineering major, Erdman immersed himself in his academics, becoming a Martindale Scholar and traveling to Denmark for in-depth research into the country’s workforce education. He studied abroad in Germany through the Pforzheim University Engineers Made in Germany program, concentrating on the German automotive industry and visiting cities that included Munich, Berlin and Cologne. He completed an internship as a reliability engineer at the PPL Corp., where he now has accepted a job as a distribution operator following graduation. 

Outside of the classroom, Erdman joined the Lehigh Baja SAE team, which each year takes on the challenge of designing, building and racing a single-seat off-road car, and utilized skills he learned from his father, who was an automotive mechanic. He also worked with Lehigh’s Community Service Office, tutoring students at Broughal Middle School, and was active in the campus Outing and Ski clubs.

When there were just two weeks left in the Spring 2023 semester, Erdman contemplated how much work he had yet to complete before graduation, including his class assignments, a Baja competition in Wisconsin, and finals. 

“That’s kind of how it’s always been, it’s always been super busy,” he said. “I like it.”

Bryce Erdman with Baja team

Erdman was part of the Lehigh Baja SAE team, which each year takes on the challenge of designing, building and racing a single-seat off-road car. Photo: Contributed.

Erdman always had his sights set on Lehigh, given its strong academic reputation, and intended to pursue engineering. His uncle had received a degree in industrial systems engineering from Lehigh 50 years earlier, he said. And as a senior in high school, Erdman had the opportunity to take a materials science course at Lehigh through a Scholars Program.

“It was hard, but I liked it and I kind of was able to get my foot in the door, understand a little bit more about what class life was like,” he said. “So I pretty much knew I always wanted to go here and then applied and ended up getting accepted.”

One of his favorite courses was manufacturing, taught by David C. Angstadt, professor of practice in mechanical engineering and mechanics. He said he learned the equations for running the machines that are part of Lehigh’s mechanical facilities, and built and raced small model cars designed by middle school students.

Bryce Erdman with his parents

Bryce Erdman with his parents, Scott and Pam Erdman, at Lehigh's Founder's Day 2022. Photo: Contributed.

As he leaves Lehigh, his advice to incoming students, especially engineering students?

“First of all, read Barbara’s emails,” he laughed, referencing Barbara McGuire, coordinator of the Mechanical Engineering Department. He said her emails to students are chock full of useful information about research and internship opportunities. 

“Don't be afraid to take some chances,” he added. While students will learn a lot in their classes, he said, he recommended they seek out experiential learning opportunities too. “Just be open to things that in high school you probably hadn’t ever heard about. In college, there's just a lot of things that you might not think you're interested in until you're doing them, and then you realize that they're making you a better person, they’re making you a better student.”

Story by

Mary Ellen Alu

Photography by

Christa Neu

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