Lehigh's rigorous academic coursework and engaged, accomplished faculty challenge students to learn and grow, but Lehigh’s transformative student experience extends far beyond classroom and campus. Our students push boundaries and engage in meaningful activities in South Bethlehem and around the world. Nearly half of Lehigh undergraduate students encounter different cultures and perspectives through the university’s more than 70 international partnerships. Hands-on, self-designed learning experiences through the Iacocca International Internship Program, and valuable opportunities from New York City to Silicon Valley, invite intellectual risk-taking and expand students’ understanding of what is possible.
At home and abroad, Lehigh students benefit from a strong support system, and programs to expand access are increasing Lehigh’s capacity to offer this exceptional experience to more students with more varied backgrounds and life experiences than ever before.
Twelve Lehigh students immersed in Silicon Valley honed their entrepreneurial skill sets and mindsets as part of Startup Academy, a new collaboration between the Lehigh@NasdaqCenter and the College of Business and Economics.
Startup Academy celebrated its first graduating class at a summer ceremony at the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center in San Francisco.For 10 weeks over the summer, the students gained practical experience by interning with one of several early to mid-stage startups in the San Francisco Bay area. Three were part of the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center’s Milestone Markers Program and three were initiated by alumni and Lehigh parents. The start-ups included:
The students also enhanced their learning at the Lehigh@NasdaqCenter, where they took a course taught by Silicon Valley tech executive Tom Gillis ’15P ’17P ’19P and Lehigh Professor of Practice in Management Joshua Ehrig. Mentors provided additional guidance and coaching.
“The students pushed themselves beyond their comfort zones and thrived in this vibrant, unique innovation ecosystem, as they experienced the messy, exciting realities of a startup,” said Lehigh President John D. Simon at the ceremony. “They are graduating today with a deeper understanding of their own goals as they plan for meaningful professional lives.”
Startup Academy bridged the academic and the professional, with Lehigh students being exposed to startups’ inner workings. The students worked in pairs alongside the company founders on specific projects, including market research, data analysis and global market expansion strategies, said Samantha Dewalt, managing director of the Lehigh@NasdaqCenter. Some of the students continued to work with their startups during the Fall 2018 semester.
Georgette Phillips, the Kevin L. ’84, ’13P and Lisa A. Clayton ’13P Dean of the College of Business and Economics, said, “The goal of this program was to create a pathway for our business students to expand their horizons to the West Coast startup environment. We are thrilled with the life-changing experience and career opportunities afforded by the Startup Academy.”
The Lehigh@NasdaqCenter, a partnership between the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center and Lehigh University, launched in January 2017 with the mission of educating, connecting, and inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators through cutting-edge academic programming. The Global Entrepreneurship Internship program and LehighSiliconValley immersion program, flagship programs of the university’s Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity & Innovation, are other examples of Lehigh’s growing initiatives on the West Coast.