This issue of Acumen delves into the discoveries being made in the natural sciences

Dear Friend,

I am most excited to share with you this issue of Acumen. This edition revolves around the importance of research in the natural sciences. It exemplifies the importance of the work taking place, both in the field and in the laboratory, as students and faculty continue to advance their respective disciplines.

As a research university, Lehigh is committed to providing students with practical opportunities to extend their understanding of the world around them. The College of Arts and Sciences fosters and supports academic inquiry at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. Student research in CAS is mentored, self-directed work that enables emerging scholars to explore an issue that interests them, and communicate the results to others. These student experiences, supported by faculty research efforts, produce more technically competitive graduates  poised to pursue successfully their career goals.

The researcher's sense of tenacious exploration and innovation shapes much of what we do in the College of Arts and Sciences.  The innovative work taking place throughout the natural sciences also makes an impact on respective disciplines. The stories on the following pages illustrate  those successes. Inside this issue of Acumen you will learn about Professor Jill McDermott’s research that takes her to the Earth’s deepest depths to better understand the Earth’s beginning. You will also discover graduate student Sonia Weimann, who is investigating communication among damselfish, and undergraduate chemistry major Julia Nelson’s investigation of strategies for fighting infections.

The research to which our students are exposed often continues on long after they leave Lehigh. Nick Bigelow ’81, whose expertise is in nanotechnology, has used space-age technologies to help save historic daguerreotypes. Julia Klees ’82 monitors health effects of potential chemical exposures with BASF. Jeff Williams ‘69G went on to a renowned career with Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center and recently created a $100,000 endowment to support graduate student research in Lehigh’s department of earth and environmental sciences.

This issue of Acumen again elucidates the breadth and commitment to research by so many of our students, faculty and alumni. We encourage students to be agents of change in ways that will benefit the communities in which they live and society as a whole. Bear in mind that our work is impossible without the support of CAS alumni. Our alumni make wonderful things happen, and I‘d love to speak with anyone who would like to support the work of the next generation of scientists. If you’d like to learn more about how you can create new opportunities for students in the College of Arts and Sciences, please contact Kelly Stazi, our director of development, at . I hope you enjoy reading the following stories as much as I have. I invite you to learn more about how alumni can play a role in these types of programs. As Lehigh alumni, you help shape the future of students in the College of Arts and Sciences.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments.

Donald E. Hall
Herbert and Ann Siegel Dean