Three student representatives nominated by vice provosts, deans, associate deans and directors of campus programs also gave remarks.
“For me the most fun part of planning [Convocation] is [working with the student speakers],” Jensen said. “It is incredibly humbling. This room is absolutely filled with tremendously accomplished students.” Among them, she said, the speakers, who have excelled both inside and outside the classroom.
Abigail Bryer ’23, who will graduate with a B.S. in population health with a concentration in biostatistics and a minor in maternal and child health, spoke about how the College of Health and her unexpected experiences during the pandemic helped her find her field.
“...[P]opulation health combined my interests in health, statistics & data science, women’s health, and social welfare into one collective field,” she said. “I am being prepared for the future not just by my course load, but also by the research opportunities I have been given at both the Institute for Indigenous Studies and the Computational Uncertainty Lab. These different opportunities have helped me view the pandemic, and public health overall, in a new way.”
Last spring, Bryer traveled to the Gathering of Nations Powwow in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to collect survey data examining how the COVID pandemic has affected Native American communities. She’s currently working on a project to study influenza trends in Allentown.
“The collaborative work in both of these research projects has allowed me to learn what it’s like to work as a part of a team, and the support and encouragement from my mentors have helped me find where my strengths and interests lie,” she said.
Declan Coster ’22, who will graduate from the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering with a B.S.and Applied Science in electrical engineering and minors in entrepreneurship and computer science, spoke about how to be successful with uncertainty and about how embracing challenges made him a better engineer. He spoke also of the importance of relationships and community.
“At Lehigh, it is easy to feel lucky about the people you meet. With wonderful professors, it is easy to learn a lot and get great advice,” Coster said. “And with a community as remarkable as ours, you are destined to make wonderful friends. Chance encounters can change your worldview and your trajectory. The more you give back and the more you get to know the people around you, the more this community starts to feel like home.”
Juan Carlos Santamaria ’23, who will graduate from the College of Business with a B.S. in business and economics and a major in finance with a concentration in real estate, reminded the students gathered that there was still time left before graduation to have meaningful experiences:
“Time becomes more and more valuable the less of it you have. So as our time here dwindles down, I expect every moment of it to be sweeter than the last. Seize every opportunity and relish every moment because we’re only ever in college once, and these are the moments that shape us into the people that we are meant to be.”