Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Name: Ana-Iulia Alexandrescu
Hometown: Bucharest, Romania
Class: 2012
Interests/Clubs/Activities: Tutoring Math, Rossin Junior Fellows, Working with Kids

Where do I picture myself in 10 yrs?
In ten years…Tough…I am having trouble deciding between grad school and work for next year! With these two options, I may either go for a PhD in Algorithms, Combinatorics and Optimization at Carnegie Mellon, or enter the work field in product design and development. Following the first path, in ten years I will be working with a lot of Math and computers and other such fun-stuff. Following the second path, in ten years I will either have my own company doing consulting on product development strategies. Or I will work in project implementations for a non-government organization—this is a recent one, I haven’t had time to digest it yet.

What's the best kept secret about Lehigh?
The people. Lehigh people, students, faculty and staff alike, are usually happy people, warm and welcoming and very approachable. I truly believe they exceed the average in all the aforementioned categories!

What has been your most memorable experience at Lehigh?
I’ve had a lot of great experiences at Lehigh, and I have great memories from all my years here. I’ve met two great girls who were my roommates in my freshman year, I started working as a tutor for math in my sophomore year, and I helped build the “Canffel Tower” (or the Eiffel Tower made of food cans) in my junior year. As an International Admissions Ambassador, I get in touch with incoming international freshmen and welcome them to Lehigh—I made quite a few friends this way. As a member of the ISE Council, I helped organize an ice-cream social for my department, Industrial and Systems Engineering, and inform freshmen of what out department is about. This past year, I’ve been accepted to become a Martindale Student Associate, and so I traveled to Turkey with eleven other students, to do research and later write a paper that is going to be published.

So, coming to Lehigh was a memorable experience in itself, as it allowed me to have all these great activities and adventures and meet many amazing people along the way.

My favorite class/professor:
To this day, my favorite class remains Math 031, Honors Calculus I, with Prof. King. Two and a half years and some thirty classes later, I still remember that class like it happened yesterday. Not only was Prof. King a great professor, but he made me rediscover a passion for Math that had long been dormant. The atmosphere was great, the examples were helpful, and the approach was that of discovery and development, so it completely shaped the way I think and I solve problems. Prof. King retired right after our class, but he’s still around doing research and writing books, so I drop in with questions about pretty much anything quite frequently. We occasionally go for lunch together, to catch up after long pauses.

Why did you choose Lehigh?
Believe it or not, I chose Lehigh for the strength of its Chemical Engineering program…I thought this was what I wanted to do, and Lehigh’s ChemE program has a very strong reputation. What also helped was the apparent friendliness of the people, although I had only had contact with them through emails and their website. Even so, everyone seemed happy and willing to help, many going much out of their way to do so.
What do you wish you knew about Lehigh before you arrived on campus?
I wish I knew about the International Bazaar—I would have brought my national costume.

How did Lehigh help you transition to life in the US?
All the people that I met here showed interest for my background, and were very helpful in my adjusting to the new culture and life style. A series of programs sponsored by the Office of International Students or various student-run clubs aim at helping US and non-US students integrate. The International Student Orientation is a great example of a program that eased our way into the new life at Lehigh. The International Week is full of events centered on the idea of cultural diversity, and the International Bazaar is probably the best illustration of students from various cultural backgrounds interacting and facilitating multicultural exposure.

What is your favorite location on campus?
Depends on the purpose…
Eating: Definitely Rathbone! It’s the biggest student dining hall, and it’s almost always full. There is always someone to run into, so no chance of eating by myself!
Doing Homework/Studying: There is a couch in the Ulrich Student Center, in the upper right corner, just above the post office. I discovered it because we used to have group meeting for a project there, but it is absolutely the best! It is quiet, but there is enough movement downstairs to prevent you from falling asleep. There is a vending machine close by, and the couch is super comfortable. Plus, it is hidden enough that there is no bumping into friends to distract you from studying. It’s absolutely perfect! Recently, however, its benefits have been discovered, so I find it more and more taken L
Hanging out with friends: For a late snack, complemented by air hockey and pool, definitely Hawk’s Nest! The lounges in the dorms, however, are the places where I had most fun with my friends, playing all sorts of childish games, planning spring break vacations and pulling all-nighters before exams.
Outdoor: Lehigh has a beautiful campus, so it would be a shame not to mention the outdoor spots. The UC loan is definitely a must-experience, especially late at night, when the lower campus is quiet—it’s a great place to chat and bond! It is also great for Frisbee and reading/studying during the sunny days. There is another place—we call it the watch—which is higher up on the hill, and from where one gets a panoramic view of Bethlehem, needless to say, better to experience at night. If I were to choose, this is probably my favorite place on campus!

Where's the best food on and off campus?
Opinions are divided… When it comes to dining halls, I would say that, on average, Rathbone performs better than the Lower UC, although every now and then, the latter offers an exquisite experience! Off campus, there is a variety to choose from, from Mexican, to Indian, Italian or American. My personal favorite is a small Middle Eastern restaurant, “The Olive Branch”, which seems to be run in family, and where the atmosphere is very cozy. There is another one, “La Lupita,” which my friends like a lot, so every beginning or end of the year, as well as birthdays or any other pretexts for celebration we can come up with, we’re usually there!