Anna DiFelice ’24 is this year’s recipient of the Lafayette-Easton Scholarship
By Shannon Sigafoos
As high school seniors look to college in the fall, their minds are often full of questions: What will it be like to be away from home? What will the campus be like? How tough will my new professors be? Will I make new friends?
Incoming first-year and 2020 recipient of the Lafayette-Easton Scholarship Anna DiFelice already knows the answers.
Now in its second year, the scholarship is part of ongoing efforts that typically provide more than $1 million annually to Lafayette students from Easton’s three ZIP codes, who receive need-based aid, merit scholarships, athletic aid, tuition remission, or other forms of assistance.
For starters, DiFelice is happy to remain in Easton and remain close to family. And having already taken a course at Lafayette for a full semester through the First Scholar program, DiFelice got firsthand experience on what life ‘on the hill’ will be like.
“That class, Intro to Computer Science through Gaming, was what drew me to Lafayette because I saw how genuine the people and the professors are,” she says. “It also helped me to get to know the atmosphere better, and the new building [Rockwell Integrated Sciences Center] is really nice.”
DiFelice and her mother, Sharon ’84, took the initiative to attend the dedication of Rockwell Center last September. And though there was no parental pressure on Anna to choose her mother’s alma mater, both of them know that Lafayette will be a great first for Anna to try her hand in the world of engineering—specifically in engineering with a concentration in environment and energy, where she hopes to build her career path.
“I’m so proud of her. She graduated so strongly in her class [at Easton], and I know she’s going to love the engineering program,” says Sharon. “It’s great that Lafayette has an engineering degree that is more general because it will allow her to experiment and try new things.”
The family’s use of solar panels was part of what first sparked DiFelice’s interest in engineering as a career path, with a concentration in the environment and better renewable forms of energy. She has always had a natural curiosity and awareness about the environment, and hopes to become involved in groups and activities at Lafayette that focus on sustainability efforts—as well as community service.
“I want to give back to Easton because I’ve been here my whole life,” she says. “I’ve been to a few of the welcoming events and student orientation events, and I’ve been told about the coed service fraternity [Alpha Phi Omega]. It sounds like so much fun and definitely like something I would want to be a part of.”
Having graduated from a high school with the longest-running rivalry in the country (Easton/Phillipsburg) and now joining a college that is part of the longest-running rivalry in the country (Lafayette/Lehigh), DiFelice also looks forward to a college experience that will include tradition, camaraderie, and plenty of student involvement.
“We always had that tradition around Thanksgiving [with Easton/P’burg], and I was involved with the Powder Puff [women’s flag football] game, and with color guard and the band. I definitely want to try some new things, and what I’m most looking forward to are those new experiences and making new friends.”
Like many students, DiFelice had a planned summer internship that was canceled due to COVID-19 health and safety regulations. Not one to stay idle as she prepares for her transition into college life, she has been spending the summer working and looking forward to her next chapter. A double scholarship recipient—DiFelice also was chosen as a Marquis Scholar this year, which will cover half her tuition and is awarded to students who have demonstrated intellectual curiosity in addition to superior academic achievement—she knows the award is a reflection on work she put in over the last four years and work she intends to put in over the next four years.
“When they emailed me to say, ‘Congratulations, you’re the recipient of the scholarship,’ that was really exciting,” says DiFelice. “There’s a lot of opportunities at Lafayette.”
“The professors and the campus are wonderful. Lafayette is a good-size school in that you get to really be involved in things. Anna also knows how close I am to my Lafayette friends and how wonderful it is to make really good friends in college,” says her mother. “There are a lot of positives.”