Kerry Mallett ’15, a recent appointee to the Young Alumni Council, graduated from Lehigh with a B.A. in Journalism and Political Science and is currently a graduate student at Columbia University studying Higher and Postsecondary Education. Kerry also works at Stevens Institute of Technology as a resident director where she oversees resident assistants, plans community-wide programming, and conducts judicial hearings.
Why did you decide to attend Lehigh?
I chose to attend Lehigh because of its tradition of academic excellence and how passionate each student, staff member, and faculty member is about Lehigh and their role in the community. I wanted a university where I would be challenged and would also feel like home, and I knew I had found that when I visited campus.
Who was your favorite professor at Lehigh? Why were they your favorite?
My favorite professor was Jeremy Littau in the Journalism department because he is so committed to his teaching and it showed in every class. I always walked out of his classes feeling more passionate about my academic pursuits and challenged in my thinking. He also infuses life lessons and philosophy into his upper-level classes which supports his role as a professional mentor to many of his students. I was encouraged to take risks and do great work not to get good grades, but for the sake of doing great work that pushed boundaries and used the latest technology.
What was your favorite course at Lehigh?
Two of my favorite courses were Legacies and Movements of the 1960s, taught by Professor Ted Morgan, and Multimedia Journalism, taught by Professor Jeremy Littau. The 1960s course challenged my previous understanding of the Vietnam War, civil rights movement, and other important events of the decade and revealed the complexities, and at times, horrific acts that happened in the context of the important social movements.
I took Multimedia Journalism after Jeremy Littau won the ability to beta test Google Glass, and he integrated projects with this new technology into the syllabus. We each got to use Google Glass for a week and it was really incredible to test the features and challenges of new technology before it was available to the greater public. All of the work we did in that class was hands-on and fun, and we were encouraged to use all sorts of new multimedia features to tell the news.
What organizations or groups were you involved in during your time at Lehigh? How did your involvement impact your Lehigh experience?
Simply put, my involvement in student organizations at Lehigh are the reason I am in my career field. The leadership experiences I had on campus — executive board member of Student Senate, executive board member of my sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta, editor positions on The Brown and White, and off-campus experiences that Lehigh and the Dean of Students Office supported in sending me to, including the Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute and LeaderShape — ignited my passion for student development and engagement. I am pursuing a career working in these areas because of the Student Affairs professionals at Lehigh who mentored and invested in me, which helped develop me into the stronger, more confident, and more articulate person I was when I graduated.
Where was your favorite place on campus to study and/or relax?
Although it was often loud, I loved studying in Linderman because of the atmosphere. I also did a lot of work in Coppee Hall, which was my journalism friends’ and my “study cottage.” For free time, I loved sitting on the front lawn with a coffee from Saxby’s or in the kitchen of my chapter house with friends.
Whether it is through donating time or money, why do you think it is important for you to stay involved and support Lehigh?
Lehigh is an institution and community which has shaped me in countless and substantial ways, and I can’t imagine not staying involved because it means so much to me — it just feels second nature. Being involved by donating time and money helps me connect with other people who love Lehigh and ensure that that part of my life stays with me even after graduation.
How did Lehigh help shape your professional success?
The ability to address conflict in a productive way is a professional skill needed in any field, but is one that in my work with students, I use on nearly a daily basis. Serving on executive council of my sorority allowed me to gain experience in having conversations about dangerous decisions and behavior, personnel issues, and other topics with people who were my closest friends. Holding peers accountable because of my leadership role in an organization meant for sisterhood and camaraderie brought some of my most challenging moments and hard decisions in undergrad, but were moments that allowed me to grow substantially and develop skills that I use on a daily basis today.
Which fan base do you enjoy teasing more: Lafayette fans or Duke fans?
Definitely Lafayette fans, because that rivalry is far longer than one year! 🙂
If you had to pick one Lehigh/Bethlehem “delicacy” to eat for the rest of your life (guilt-free), what would it be?
A Shots sandwich from The Goose, toasted and melted, with salt and vinegar chips, and an iced tea, OR any of the crepes from Full of Crepe.
What is your favorite Lehigh item that you own?
My favorite Lehigh item would have to be either my walking stick that I received at Founder’s Day 2014 or a worn-in sweatshirt that was my dad’s originally (Class of ’86!).