Class of 2022 valedictorian Celeste Fieberg wearing graduation gown on Lafayette campus

Celeste Fieberg ’22

Major: Mechanical engineering, German

Co-curriculars: International Students Association (ISA); Le Cercle Français; Foreign Languages & Literatures Proctor and Conversation Partner; Conversation PARDner; Grossman House; Alternative School Break; Refugee Action; Partenariat d’Amitié de Lafayette; Study Abroad in Bonn, Germany; Study Abroad in Senegal; EXCEL Research; Clare Boothe Luce Scholar; Technology Clinic; Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Post-graduation plans: Working as a mechanical engineer at CMTA Energy Solutions in Media, Pa.

Describe your senior year in three words.

Engaging. Over the past year, I became very involved with the International Students Association (ISA) and Le Cercle Français. It was great to revive several events after a hiatus due to COVID, such as Extravaganza Week, International Education Week, and weekly dinner conversations with the French club.

Inspiring. I was inspired by the dedication my peers showed in bringing back these special events to campus, and I was particularly struck by the excitement of the international students in the Class of 2025.

Sentimental. Particularly in the last few months before graduation, I spent time reminiscing about the good memories I have made at Lafayette.

What does being valedictorian mean to you?

Being valedictorian means I know how to succeed in the current educational system. However, I believe academic success is correlated not to grades but instead truly engaging with the course material. This title also proves to me that I am able to have leadership roles in campus life and spend time with friends while also doing my best academically.

What’s your favorite Lafayette memory?

My favorite memories at Lafayette were made during the two summers I stayed on campus for research and a remote internship. My closest friends also stayed on campus during those summers, and my favorite memories include the little things: cooking dinners together, enjoying late night conversations, and hanging out on the Quad.

What’s the most impactful class you took?

Global Senegal: Alternative Modernities. I took this course, taught by Prof. Wendy Wilson-Fall, during the January 2022 interim. This three-week course in Senegal allowed me to explore youth activism and feminist movements, the role of language on identity, the role of Islam in national culture, and the intellectual and artistic scenes in urban and rural areas of Senegal.

Who was the most influential person during your time at the College?

Prof. Amy Van Asselt has been an absolutely amazing mentor, research and thesis adviser, professor, and academic adviser. I walked into her office as a first-year student to ask her about the mechanical engineering major, and I am grateful to say that I have now worked with her over the past 3.5 years at Lafayette. Her passion for high-performance building design and sustainability have greatly influenced my career path and interests within mechanical engineering.

What will you miss most about Laf?

I will definitely miss the people and the ISA community.

Describe your biggest challenge and how you overcame it.

One of the biggest challenges was leading International Orientation as head peer adviser in January 2021. During this time, there were many changing COVID regulations, and the team had to come up with a way to welcome and engage the international students in the Class of 2024 remotely. We found innovative ways to overcome this barrier to in-person interaction, such as having the students create fun presentations about their home countries, holding game nights over Zoom, and competing in online escape rooms. I could not have led this orientation without the support of [international student adviser Janine Block ’94, Victoria Puglia ’21, Delainey Mack ’22, and Yazdan Basir ’23.

What do you wish for your fellow graduating classmates?

I hope my fellow classmates find a way of life that works for them and prioritizes their mental health.

What advice would you give to your first-year self?

Reflect. Take more time to think about why you are involved in certain co-curricular activities, why you enjoy spending time with certain people, and how you interact with material you’ve learned in class.

What words of wisdom would you like to share with upcoming seniors?

Understand your priorities, and make sure your actions follow those priorities. Don’t stress too much about your post-grad plans; something is bound to work out for you.

How has Lafayette changed you?

Lafayette has given me lifelong friendships and relationships that have encouraged me to expand my horizons, question the current system, and become comfortable in expressing my opinions and ideas.

How do you hope to change the world?

Through my professional career, I hope to combat climate change by reducing energy consumption in buildings.

The most important thing you learned about yourself at Lafayette is:

My time at Lafayette has allowed me to reflect on my priorities. Lafayette has shown me what matters most: friendship, collaboration, kindness, and curiosity. Lafayette has also granted me the opportunity to develop my leadership skills and lead with empathy, confidence, and a belief in and dedication to the greater purpose of my work.

Commencement Highlights

Lafayette College's 187th Commencement ceremony Saturday, May 21

Video, photo galleries, recording of the full ceremony available

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Categorized in: Academic News, Class of 2022, Commencement 2022, Mechanical Engineering, News and Features, Student Profiles, Students