Lehigh Launch Student Profiles

Hear directly from first-semester students about their experience during Lehigh Launch in the American West! This unique experience allowed students to kick off their college careers with a different kind of adventure. Read more about each of their experiences learning about the literature, earth and environment, and peoples of Wyoming and New Mexico during the Fall 2021 semester.

Amber Bierly

Amber Bierly '25

Respect for different cultures and lifestyles

Major: College of Arts and Sciences with possible major in Earth and Environmental Sciences major
Hometown: Raleigh, NC

Allen Chen

Allen Chen '25

How to survive in the wild

Major: Integrated Degree in Engineering, Arts and Science (IDEAS)
Hometown: Kunming, China

Simone Cox

Simone Cox '25

Learning how to become more independent

Major: P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science
Hometown: Newark, DE

Emma Moriarty

Emma Moriarty '25

I can adapt to new environments

Major: College of Arts and Sciences
Hometown: Shrewsbury, NJ

Finn Tarbox

Finn Tarbox '25

Stepping out of my comfort zone

Major: College of Arts and Sciences with possible majors in Psychology and Biology
Hometown: Belfast, ME

Jamiez Vo

Jamiez Vo '25

Shifting the classroom perspective to experiential learning

Major: College of Arts and Sciences
Hometown: Phan Thiet City, Vietnam

Sarah Wilhelm

Sarah Wilhelm '25

Leave no trace

Major: Integrated Degree in Engineering, Arts and Science (IDEAS)
Hometown: Franklin, NJ

Straight from the Students

"The greatest thing I gained, without a doubt, is the sense of community that I have with my peers and professors.... I was hesitant to come. That being said, it was the greatest experience I have ever had in my life!"

"I think that this experience was challenging academically, but also where I learned the most. It helped to show me a purpose of learning; to better understand a new environment that you know little about. As for my person/social development, I think that this program is crucial to me. I had time to reflect with my peers about my past experiences before the program, and to make such precious memories in new environments. I will carry this experience with me forever."

"Lehigh Launch definitely made my transition to college at Lehigh much smoother and less daunting. I feel that the more close-knit nature and extent of closeness with faculty aided in this feeling. Assignments became less and less challenging as I had constant opportunities to converse with other students since we were always around one another. As a person, I believe I went through an immense amount of growth and personal development, just by being away from home and also getting to know a culture extremely different from my own and what I am used to. And finally, because of the extent of the number of conversations I had throughout our time out West and the many people I talked to and different presentation projects, I definitely feel that my social development has been positively impacted by my experience with Lehigh Launch."

"I definitely saw a huge shift in my leadership skills and confidence after my time at Lehigh Launch, which I think will have great value for me in the rest of my Lehigh career and beyond. I also really value the close connections I made with the rest of the Lehigh Launchers, whom I probably would not have met without the program bringing us together."

"I loved being disconnected completely, even though it was very hard for me at first."

"The NOLS experience is not only limited to the skills about surviving in the wild and how to teamwork with others. Its leadership engagement and training on dealing with ambiguity, and how to respond to different unexpected/difficult situations, is extremely useful far beyond NOLS itself."

"One of the greatest gains I made through my participation in [the Semester in the American West] was the furthering of my mindset as a global citizen. I believe that just by living in and learning about an area that contrasts the East Coast, where I grew up, I am already getting an understanding of what that could mean for the differences that are present within the rest of the world. I am all about expanding my mindset and learning about new perspectives and this program definitely gave me that opportunity on a grand scale. I have also learned more about the humanistic side of myself and what it means to be mindful and present."

"The greatest gain was definitely embedded in my leadership skills and confidence as a person. NOLS led the way for me to excel in my classes in the program, through my mindset and my values. I will carry these skills with me for the rest of my life and am so thankful for this experience."