From left, Lauren Miceli, '19, Joseph Ventura, '19, and Rachel McCoog, '19, are all preparing to graduate this spring. Miceli is a biology major on the track for pre-med, Ventura is a civil engineering major getting ready to work as a Design Engineer for Dynamic Engineering Consultants, and McCoog, an IDEAS major with concentrations in computer science and cognitive science, will be working as an analyst for Enterprise Operations and Technology, (Courtesy of Lauren Miceli, Joseph Ventura, and Rachel McCoog)

Seniors look back over their Lehigh experiences

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The Brown and White had the opportunity to profile a few graduating seniors to reflect on their experiences and favorite memories throughout their time at Lehigh.

Student: Lauren Miceli, ’19

Major: Biology, pre-med track

Hometown: Riveredge, NY

Over her last four years at Lehigh, Miceli has seen a lot of changes occur throughout the university. Though she acknowledged that the GO campaign and the Path to Prominence are pretty recent and significant changes to Lehigh, one of the biggest changes she’s seen is the growth of inclusion.

Miceli said since the UMOJA House was vandalized in 2013, Lehigh has stressed the importance of inclusivity and has subsequently created programs to increase its presence on campus.

“I think they’ve put in a lot of great efforts of being inclusive and the importance of that so I think that aspect of Lehigh changed a lot over the past four years,” Miceli said.

Reflecting on her favorite traditions that she’s going to miss after graduation, Miceli said taking car rides around The Hill with her friends is probably at the top of her list.

“We get in the car and blast country music with the windows down even when it’s freezing,” Miceli said. “I’m definitely going to miss that.”

As far as Miceli’s top highlights of her Lehigh career, she said joining the Pi Beta Phi sorority as a first-year student was an incredible experience for her that allowed her to meet some of her best friends. During Miceli’s junior year, she joined Off the Record, one of Lehigh’s co-ed acapella groups, and it was then that she said she was able to be her truest self.

“I’ve always loved to sing and I’ve always loved music, but it gave me a platform to do that with a bunch of beautiful people, physically and emotionally,” Miceli said. “To have that support, especially because in four years, you’re gonna go through some bad times, they really were there to basically lift me up when I needed it, whether that was through jokes or just through making beautiful music.”

Overall, the friendships that she’s made throughout her four years at Lehigh are what Miceli is going to miss most after graduation. She said Lehigh’s relatively small campus has definitely made the relationships she’s made that much more close and tight-knit, and that the close proximity that she has to her friends is something she doesn’t take for granted.

Though Miceli is leaving Lehigh behind, she has high hopes for its future. Knowing that the undergraduate will be significantly increasing in the coming years, Miceli said she hopes diversity within the classes will continue to rise as well.

“When you’re expanding a campus physically you are also expanding it ideologically because if you have all of these people from different backgrounds, you acquire all these new ideas that can benefit Lehigh in a positive way,” Miceli said. 

Student: Joe Ventura, ’19

Major: Civil Engineering

Hometown: Farmingdale, NJ

Ventura is a civil engineering major with a focus in construction management and constructional engineering. He said he noticed his classes got increasingly more specialized throughout his time at Lehigh.

“The specialization at Lehigh has allowed students to be able to form more of a connection with their professors, which is a really important thing,” Ventura said

Looking back at his time, one of Ventura’s favorite memories was his first Le-Laf rivalry week. He said the aspect of walking around campus and seeing everyone in such great spirits was exciting. He also said some of the events that Lehigh hosted throughout the years, such as the Halsey concert, were great experiences as well.

Like many other seniors, Ventura said what he will miss the most is the friends he’s made and the relationships he’s built throughout his time at Lehigh. Since a lot of his friends will be relocating all across the country, he said he’s going to miss the idea of being able to see them by simply walking across the street.

In addition to his friends, Ventura said he’s also going to miss his professors that he’s built relationships with since he’s had a lot of them every year since his first year.

“I’m going to miss having them as a resource to ask questions and to be able to talk to them about anything, even just life advice,” Ventura said.

In terms of the future of Lehigh, Ventura hopes the new changes being implemented won’t result in the school losing sight of it’s traditional roots.

“I do hope that the name of Lehigh gets bigger and broader, but that they don’t lose the traditions of what a smaller university was like,” Ventura said.

Ventura will be working at Dynamic Engineering Consultants in Toms River, New Jersey as a Design Engineer after graduation.

Student: Rachel McCoog, ’19

Major: IDEAS program with concentrations in computer science and cognitive science

Hometown: Marion, Massachusetts

Since walking onto campus as a freshman, McCoog has seen herself grow tremendously.

She said coming into Lehigh, she knew she wanted to be able to travel, and through her involvement in the Global Citizenship program, she has been able to do just that. She traveled to Indonesia the summer after her freshman year and spent a semester in New Zealand as well.

“I learned a lot about religion and I gained a much broader perspective on the world, so I’d say that I’ve humbled a lot since my freshman year,” McCoog said.

Reflecting on her time at Lehigh, McCoog said she learned to put less pressure on herself.

“I’ve learned to embrace failure and learn from it and not get worked up when I don’t get a perfect score,” McCoog said. “Most often the learning experiences that shape you and teach you and allow you to grow as a person are the ones where you don’t get the perfect score or standing ovation.”

Some of McCoog’s favorite memories include bed races her freshman year as well as her first Le-Laf rivalry football game.

Though McCoog is going to miss her friends dearly, she said she believes she is prepared and excited to enter the real world.

“I’ve taken advantage of all the opportunities that were available to me while I was here and I’m ready to leave,” McCoog said. “But at the end of the day, I’m gonna miss my friends and my support system here and just being able to go hang out with them when I’m having a really good day or a really bad day.”

McCoog said she hopes Lehigh will continue to stay focused on students as well as small integrated programs.

“I wouldn’t have loved my time at Lehigh as much as I did if I hadn’t been in the IDEAS program and if I hadn’t been a part of Global Citizenship and if I hadn’t had the opportunity to connect with smaller groups of people who have overlapping interests,” McCoog said. “It’s important to keep in mind those smaller programs and see the value that they’ve created for so many of the students here.”

McCoog will be working as an analyst in the Enterprise Operations and Technology division at Citi.

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