Jed Alterman ’23, Meg Dodge ’23, and Danielle Lemisch ’23 among the 254 engineering students from across the country to receive the competitive scholarships from the nation’s premier engineering honor society.
By Bryan Hay
Three senior Lafayette College engineering students have won competitive scholarships from Tau Beta Pi Association, the nation’s premier engineering honor society, a reflection of each student’s academic achievement and expected contributions in the fields of study.
Jed Alterman ’23, Meg Dodge ’23, and Danielle Lemisch ’23 are among the 254 engineering students from across the country to receive the $2,000 award. The scholarships are awarded based on the competitive criteria of high scholarship, campus leadership and service, and the promise of future contributions to the engineering profession. All scholars are members of Tau Beta Pi.
“I was very honored to learn that I received the scholarship and equally honored to be invited to apply and be initiated into Tau Beta Pi,” says Alterman, a mechanical engineering major with a minor in mathematics. “It’s humbling to associate myself with very impressive individuals who have received a scholarship. I’m very happy and proud to be in that group.”
In practical terms, he says the scholarship affords him resources for travel to job interviews and to purchase professional attire and technology to be successful in the job search. After Lafayette, Alterman plans to pursue a career in engineering and business management consulting.
“The financial element of education is not an insignificant one,” says Alterman, who serves as treasurer of the College’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders, an engineering service organization, and previously served as its vice president. He also is academic chair for his Greek life chapter and president of Lafayette College’s engineering honor society.
“We live in a very competitive world,” he adds. “The simple economics are that jobs are scarce and demand for them is high. So being able to set myself apart in any way and to associate myself with very impressive individuals are advantages and advantages that Lafayette offers.”
Dodge, a chemical engineering major, was one of four finalists for a Goldwater Scholarship. At about the same time, she applied for a Tau Beta Pi Scholarship.
“So, it was kind of like one door closes another door opens,” she says. “I was very excited and immediately emailed all of the people who provided recommendations. It’s great to have the financial support and the academic recognition.”
Interested in chemistry since high school, Dodge is considering graduate school and continuing with chemical engineering after Lafayette.
She’s particularly interested in research and development, especially with a focus on sustainability, and has been working on research with Melissa Gordon, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, on creating plastic out of birch tree bark.
Outside the classroom, Dodge serves as president of Lafayette’s chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and president of Alpha Phi Omega, a gender inclusive service fraternity. A Marquis Fellow, she’s also a big sister for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lehigh Valley.
Lemisch, a chemical engineering major with a minor in biotechnology/bioengineering, says having three Lafayette students named as Tau Beta Pi scholars speaks to the quality of Lafayette’s Engineering Division.
“It’s really a testament to how strong the curriculum is and how much the professors really support the students and everything that they do and want you to succeed,” she says.
With Polly Piergiovanni, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and the Air Products/Ghasemi Chair in Engineering for Interdisciplinary Teaching as her thesis adviser, Lemisch is working on developing biodegradable polysaccharide packaging to replace typical plastic packaging products for the food industry.
“Coming in as a first-year student, I didn’t even know that the food industry was one of the avenues you could go into as a chemical engineer,” she says. “Prof. Piergiovanni really opened up my horizons into what a chemical engineer can do.”
Over the summer, she interned at PepsiCo, working at a Frito-Lay manufacturing site. She’ll be returning to work for PepsiCo as a supply chain associate after graduation.
Outside the classroom, Lemisch, a Marquis Scholar, is a member of Lafayette College’s swimming and diving team, serves as the co-president of Lafayette’s chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and is an Engineering Department peer mentor to the underclassmen engineering students. Additionally, she is an Ambassador of Lafayette tour guide, serves on the board of Lafayette’s Hillel Society, and is a member of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority.