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Marquis Scholar DanielleWyckoff’06 (Reva, Va.) spent the summer as an engineering intern with the United States Department of Defense.

Her work there, which she hopes will continue after completion of her studies at Lafayette, is a step toward cultivating her interests in engineering and international affairs.

“There are many opportunities to travel internationally working with the Defense Department,” she says. “My language skills will definitely be needed, even here in the States.”

When Wyckoff was in high school, she traveled to Mexico twice, participated in Odyssey of the Mind, and coached a children’s robotics team.

“Visiting Mexico sparked my interest in other cultures and languages,” she says. “The other activities influenced my decision to pursue engineering.”

Lafayette’s programs in these disciplines have provided the ideal way for Wyckoff to combine her interests and prepare for a career.

“I love it!” she says. “It works perfectly with what I want to do once I graduate.”

Wyckoff is pursuing a B.S. degree in electrical and computer engineering and an A.B. degree with a major in international studies that focuses on Spanish language and culture.

“My decision to attend Lafayette was very strongly influenced by the fact that the College offers the international studies and engineering dual degree program,” Wyckoff says. “I also liked the size of the school and the chances to participate in choir, band, theater, and the arts.”

In her first two years, Wyckoff’s courses included three in electrical and computer engineering, a Spanish class, an international politics class, and Policies of the European Union, taken during her sophomore spring semester at Vesalius University in Brussels, a program led by Lafayette faculty.

“Europe is obviously much more rich in history than the States,” she says of her experience in Belgium. “I was in awe just about everywhere I went. People are much more aware of the environment, social welfare, and even style. And the food was wonderful! I feel like I definitely became more aware of the rest of the world. My class on the European Union was very helpful in that respect. I watch the news every day now. I guess I’m realizing how integrated and interdependent the world is today.”

Wyckoff says that in addition to her travel experience, she’s been most strongly influenced by KimBennett, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, who taught her First-Year Seminar on Modern China and served as her academic adviser before taking a sabbatical leave in China.

“He is an amazing person and professor whom I perceive is truly interested in his students,” she says. “I found I could really relate to him and his ideas. He showed me around his optics lab one day and urged me to consider [electrical and computer engineering]. I looked into the optical field a bit more after that and decided I would pursue it through the electrical and computer engineering branch.”

A graduate of Culpeper County High School, Wyckoff is a member of Society of Women Engineers and has participated in a variety of musical activities at Lafayette, including concert band, choir, and two of the College’s four a cappella groups, Soulfege and Cadence. She’s also a member of the Arts Society, lives in the Arts House on Parsons Street, and serves on the Arts Society Executive Board.

Chosen from among Lafayette’s most promising applicants, Marquis Scholars such as Wyckoff receive special financial aid and distinctive educational experiences and benefits, including a three-week, Lafayette-funded study-abroad course during January’s interim session between regular semesters. Marquis Scholars also participate in cultural activities in major cities and on campus, and mentoring programs with Lafayette faculty.

Lafayette ranks No. 1 among all U.S. colleges that grant only bachelor’s degrees in the number of graduates who went on to earn doctorates in engineering between 1920-1995, according to the Franklin and Marshall College study “Baccalaureate Origins of Doctoral Recipients.”

Categorized in: Academic News