The 2023-24 academic year was another year of excellence in Engineering Studies

Notable members of the Engineering Studies community

Assistant Professor Sarah Appelhans joined the faculty. Dr. Appelhans’ specialty is in engineering, social justice, and inclusive STEM studies. She served as the first speaker in the Engineering Studies’ four-part Engineering and Social Justice speaker series.

Remy Oktay ’24 Engineering Studies and Environmental Studies won the 2024 Pepper Prize for “most nearly [representing] the Lafayette ideal.” This is thought to be the first EGRS Pepper Prize Winner. He also orchestrated what is presumed to be the first electric plane flyover of a sporting event at the 2022 Lafayette-Lehigh Rivalry game. The documentary on the flyover, “Silent Skies” produced with classmates  Trebor Maitin ‘24, and Zachary Fiske ‘23, earned a nomination from the Colorado Environmental Film Festival for Best Short Film. The film also won gold in the sustainability and climate change category, bronze in the responsible technology category at the Anthem Awards Ceremony in New York, and also earned Earth Port Film Festival’s 2024 Best Short Film award.

Mariama Bah ’24 earned the 2024 Charles L. Best Prize for the graduating senior who best represents the ideals of the major. Not only is Mariama the Best Prize winner, but she was also awarded a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to study in Brazil. This too is thought to be a first for EGRS.

Notable events

The program produced a four-part speaker series on Engineering and Social Justice. The series brought together support and co-sponsorship from every division on campus, from ten different departments and programs, from the Cyril S. Lang ’49 Center for the Humanities Endowment Fund and Class of 1974 Technology and the Liberal Arts Endowment, and all part of The Lafayette Forum on Technology & the Liberal Arts. We had speakers from Lafayette, Drexel, NYU, and Penn for talks on the future of engineering education and the capabilities approach, on race and structural bias in engineering education history, on infrastructure, culture, and Mexico City’s water, and on labor, media, and wireless engineering in India.

Best Society was very active, organizing BesTea Thursdays, collaborating with other student groups, hosting campus events, and helping organize two alumni panels. The fall panel brought five graduates back to campus and the spring brought four more.

This school year EGRS students also took part in a climate study of the program. This was a first of its kind for the major, with help from Dr. Wendy Hill and the Hanson Center for Inclusive STEM Education. The EGRS community then gathered for a town hall in April to review the results and share that students find the major welcoming and inclusive while longing for more opportunities to build community.

The program underwent only its second external review ever (the first was 2012), when professors from Purdue, Harvey Mudd, and Virginia Tech evaluated the major’s strengths and contributions to campus and community. While the report will be reviewed by the EGRS advisory committee this summer, a quick perusal suggests helpful and laudatory analysis. The central observation was that EGRS students are engaged in something unique and necessary in higher education and especially engineering education, and doing it well!

Finally, new this year, Engineering Studies has an Instagram account! Follow for all the latest news from your favorite major!