Supported by the Clare Boothe Luce Program, three senior student-athletes at Lehigh University spent their summer doing research on campus in preparation for future careers in STEM. The full-time lab experience has given Ashleigh Crawford, Diana Hammerstone, and Sarah Boyer—all engineering majors—opportunities to prepare for graduate school and contribute to their respective areas of study. Each of them acknowledges the support and understanding of their coaches and professor mentors which have allowed them to succeed both academically and in athletics.
Women are minorities in the engineering field. As described in a 2017 Forbes article, "Women only make up 24 percent of the computing workforce - and that number is declining."
That hasn't stopped three Lehigh student-athletes who are going against the grain, paving their path and thriving in the process.
Along the way, Lehigh has supported them every step of the way.
"The female professor whose lab I work in (Professor Lelsey Chow) has always been very open about saying if you ever have a problem as a woman in engineering, or if you ever have a problem with your gender, ethnicity or sexuality, I am here to back you up," said Diana Hammerstone. "You can come to me and I'll fight for you.
"It's definitely moving to know that somebody has my back because people do experience difficulties as women in this field. But I have been lucky enough to not experience anything like that."
In fact, it has been quite the opposite.
All rising seniors, Ashleigh Crawford (bioengineering) and Hammerstone (materials science and engineering) from cross country/track, along with Sarah Boyer (materials science and engineering) from rowing have been empowered to succeed in the engineering field at Lehigh. And all three are on campus this summer, thanks to the prestigious Clare Boothe Luce program, a national program that identifies high-achieving women engineers to conduct advanced-level research.