University Convocation Opens 2021-2022 Academic Year

Her first story was personal when she said that she had decided to volunteer as a paramedic while studying mechanical engineering and two years earlier, for no other reason than she was fascinated by studying sign language. One day when she responded to an 911 call to attend to a fallen woman who had suspected head trauma, she had an intuition that something was not what it seemed. She stood on her feet and asked the woman in sign language if she was deaf. It was her, and Viau Haden could communicate with her and take care of her worries about not being able to pick up her daughter on her school bus when she was taken to a hospital in the ambulance.

“My father taught me that life is like a tool bag that you fill it with All that you want to learn, ”she said. School was her playground, and she took sign language lessons, which helped her in her paramedic role, as well as in biology and other areas.

She said, “Curiosity will help you get out of your major and learn everything you always wanted to know while you are here. This is your chance. You never know how the stars might align for you one day. “

Viau Haden also told a story about Leonardo da Vinci as she prepares to teach an “artist and engineer” class with her colleague Mellie Katakalos in the theater department of Lehigh next spring. In his quest for knowledge, Da Vinci studied animals to understand biology, which then inspired the invention of thousands of devices, she said.

“What did Da Vinci do so radically differently?” She asked. “He was curious about everything around him. He wanted to understand the world and everything in it. “

Her third story was about a young woman named Lacy Hughes who she said may have found a solution to the world’s plastic problem in her kitchen. As she cooked, she noticed fish scales bend slightly. She said Hughes experimented with more than 100 combinations of ingredients, powdered mixtures of fish by-products, and boiled down until she found a recipe that would make pliable, biodegradable plastic wrap.

“You do not know where your paths will lead you, but if you follow your heart it will be great,” said Viau Haden, encouraging the students to pique their curiosity.

“If these stories speak to you and you’re excited about the limitless opportunities to combine your passions, creative research, and desire to make the world a better place, you’ve come to the right place,” she said. “You have the promise and ability to make your experience here at Lehigh the way you can dream it. “

Before the call, Provost Nathan Urban hosted a reception for new faculties, recently promoted and permanent faculties and newly named endowed chairs, professorships and scholarships in the Tamerler tent at the Rauch Business Center. “It’s great to have the group together and it’s great to see students here on campus,” said Urban. He noted that one of his favorite events is meeting new faculties as they bring new ideas and perspectives to campus.

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