Summer 2015

The third summer of programming at Mountaintop will see nearly 175 students and more than 50 faculty mentors work on different 37 projects cutting across all disciplines.

Project Abstracts

A new portal: Connecting the world through an LCD globe

Berrisford Boothe, Art, Architecture and Design

Misha Panzer ’16, Product Design
Kevin Chen '17
Matthew Bay '16

The group will undertake design of an LCD globe display, intended to serve as a portal for connections among people or between people and places, will provide a platform for studying integration of art and technology and understanding how the design of the curved display affects the experience of people who use it.


Mark Orrs, Sustainable Development Program / Political Science
Rick Weisman, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Adapting 3D Ocean Farming for Vulnerable Warm Water Coastlines

William Kuehne ’17, IDEAS
Carlen Donahue ’17, Materials Science, Sustainable Development
Kyle Conway '17

3D Ocean Farming, also known as Vertical Ocean Farming, has been implemented to date only in colder climates (New England, Ireland, Japan). Targeting the ecologically sensitive Louisiana coast, the team will work to adapt the approach to warmer and frequently rougher (hurricane-susceptible) waters. The team’s starting is based on work done in SDEV 210 during the Spring semester of 2015.

Two additional SDevLab project teams will be formed for Summer 2015

Low-energy Sustainable Farming

Breena Holland, Political Science
William Best, IDEAS, Mechanical Engineering

Kate Armbruster '15
Devon Dowd '17
Michael Miller '17
Rebecca Naurath '16
Jennifer Dwyer '18
Benjamin Cicchillo '17

The team will work toward achieving a fully energy-independent food-growing enterprise at the Lehigh Goodman Campus Community Garden, considering energy requirements of the full seasonal lifecycle and both garden operations (including on-site solar harvesting and greenhousing) and distribution of food. Areas of study likely to be encountered by the group include greenhouse design, solar installation, and scalability, economic and business models.

Integrated Activity Pods

Berrisford Boothe, Art, Architecture and Design
William Best, IDEAS, Mechanical Engineering

Rachel Williams '16
Christopher Zadra '16
Sanjana Chintalapudi '17
Chester Toye '17
Oliver Rye '17

The team will study the design of standalone mobile structures, or pods, that could be deployed individually or in combination to house research activity. The team plans to study aspects of design, building and usage, including prospects for agile configuration of space, support of changing portfolios of activities, and the role of such structures in adding visibility to the activities they house. The group will consider continuation of its work during the Fall semester.

3D Printed Exoskeletons

Marc De Vinck, Baker Institute
William Best, IDEAS, Mechanical Engineering
Lisa Getzler, Baker Institute
John Grencer, Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital

Emily Macmillan ’16, Bioengineering
Elena Ramirez ’15, Bioengineering
Jeff Peisner ’15, Mechanical Engineering
Daniel Levy ’16, Mechanical Engineering

The team will continue a project begun in the Summer of 2014 on design of exoskeleton appliances to aid in rehabilitation for patients with muscle disorders of the hand. Last year, the team used 3D printing to speed their exploration of the design space and to quickly develop prototypes. This year, their initial focus is on ways of scaling their designs for different sized hands so that the 3D printing approach can be used to customize devices for individual patients.

Creative Learning Activity Portfolio for In-School and After-School Tutoring Support

Jon Drescher, Educational Leadership, Director, Urban Principals Academy
George White, Educational Leadership, Director, Center for Developing Urban Educational Leaders (CDUEL)
Silagh White, Director of Arts Engagement and Community Cultural Affairs
Support by local artists and the Zoellner Arts Center production staff
and Carolina Hernandez, Director, Community Service Office

Samantha Mahabir '16
Brianna Ruggiero '18
Do Hee Kim '16
Kaylee Kilgore '17
Helen Ard '17

Students will work on building a portfolio of creative arts learning activities for use with public school students by tutors and classroom teachers. Students will draw from resources including Zoellner Arts Center educational programs, the Urban Principals Academy at Lehigh, the Maxine Greene Center for Aesthetic Education and Social Imagination, the Community Service Office, and local artists. Students anticipate evaluating portfolio activities in Fall, 2015.

Hip Hop and Entrepreneurship

Joshua Ehrig, Baker Institute, Management
Henry Odi, Vice Provost for Academic Diversity
Todd Watkins, Baker Institute, Economics

Sung Jae “David” Ro '15
Asante Asiedu '18
Anna Gillis '18
Thomas Verdi '17
Rawle Sterling, Graduate Student

The intersection of Hip Hop culture and entrepreneurship is notable in part for the dual purpose of ventures that have been created, having both conventional business and specific cultural goals. With software in particular, products have created new channels for content creation and dissemination. An interdisciplinary team of students will explore this cultural and market space, with intent to develop a minimal viable product of their own conception. Inspiration includes Tahi Hemphill’s Rap Research Lab whose lyrics database has catalyzed other work, the Rap Genius products which allows communal annotation and interpretation of lyrics, and the nonprofit Code 2040 that creates professional pathways especially for Blacks and Latino/as.

The 40+ Project

Elizabeth Fifer, English

Avi Setton '13, ‘16G
Devon Borchetta '16
Andina Toscano '16
Isabelle McCarthy '17

Students will enter into videotaped dialogue with members of the faculty from the four colleges who have taught at Lehigh for 40 or more years, exploring questions such as the enduring value of teaching, how teachers inspire themselves through successive waves of students and courses, what teachers learn from students, and how teachers change and continue to develop over time. Students anticipate production of a 20-30 minute film.

Bethlehem Unbound: Storytelling, Beyond the book

Mary Foltz, English
Sarah Stanlick, Research Program Development Officer and PhD candidate, Learning Sciences and Technology
David Fine, Assistant Director, Global Citizenship Program and PhD candidate, English

Juan Palacio Moreno '17
Elijah Ohrt '16
Margaret Kelly '17

Working with members of various populations in the Lehigh Valley, the team will explore the role that storytelling plays in a community’s social and political life. Questions to be explored include the role of shared stories in community building, how narratives affect experience of life in the community, means of creating cohesive and safe communities, and means of expressing and comprehending varied narratives among neighbors. Students will be encouraged to create a collaborative program, creative product or other work with potential sustainable impact. For students, the Mountaintop experience will relate directly to Global Citizenship coursework of rising sophomores, juniors and seniors.

Recovering the Lost Village of Christian’s Spring

Scott Paul Gordon, English

Claire Bradshaw '16
James-Evan Copti '15
Stefan Harrigan '18
Ian Spolarich '18
Juliana Young '13

Working from materials in the Moravian archives, students will study the now-lost village of Christian’s Spring. For over two decades in the mid-18th century, the Bethlehem Moravians engaged at the site in an innovative experiment in vocational education, operating a residential, communal trade school in which master craftsmen trained the next generation. Craftsmen trained in the community practiced throughout North America and Europe. Using source materials including business records, congregational diaries and registers, maps, surveys and memoirs, students will address questions about the community that at present are entirely unexplored. Students will determine the manner in which they communicate their understanding of the community.

Extra-terrestrial Greenhouses

Terry Hart, Mechanical Engineering
Natasha Vermaak, Mechanical Engineering
Spencer Quiel, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Kevin Augustyn '17
Aidan Din '15
Aaron Sandoval '17

Students will take on the problem, identified by NASA, of creating an agricultural system that can be maintained in extreme conditions with as few supplies as possible. Challenges include amenability of plants to grow in micro-gravity, maintenance of suitable atmospheric pressures, scarce or diminished intensity light, and protection from radiation. This inherently interdisciplinary challenge is an opportunity for a fresh look at means for providing a sustainable food supply for space travelers.

Geometric Learning in Early Childhood

Robin Hojnoski, Education and Human Services

Amanda Brandone, Psychology
Michael Spear, Computer Science and Engineering

Faye Sheppard '18
Lai Zhang '16
Brittany Kuder '18

Students will explore development of geometric skills and quality of geometric learning experience in early childhood. While attainment of skills such as shape knowledge and spatial ability is an important component of early academic development, little is know about the cognitive processes involved, individual factors that influence skill development, or the types of experiences through which skills develop. During the Summer, students expect to conduct observational and literature-based studies considering both physical manipulatives and virtual (tablet-based) approaches. In the Fall semester, they expect to conduct a small pilot study in museum and early education classroom settings.

Developing an Experimental Approach for the Conservation of Highly Endangered Desert Pupfish

Murray Itzkowitz, Biological Sciences
Michael Kuchka, Biological Sciences

Zachary Carroll '16
Caitlyn Wilson'17
Rachel Moyer '17
Jai Vaze '16
Tim Paciorek- Grad
Michael McQuillan- Grad

Students will investigate approaches to informing conservation of the desert pupfish, a group of highly endangered species that live in isolated desert springs of the American Southeast and are threatened by diversion of water, encroaching vegetation, and predation. Provisions of the Endangered Species Act under which the species are protected also preclude studies with the fish that could inform conservation measures. In a laboratory setting, students will work with a closely related and plentiful Northeastern relative, with intent that these studies can apply to those species that are highly endangered and protected.

Engineering Equality: A Documentary on the Experiences of Students of Color at Lehigh

Jennifer M. Jensen, Political Science

Paul Lyons '16
Viviana Rios '15
Lyasha Bishop '16
Aaron Luedtke, Graduate Student, History

An extension of a Mountaintop project from 2014 in which students did archival research, captured dozens of video interviews, assembled a short overview video, and began work on a companion web site. Begun as a study of the history of diversity at Lehigh, last year’s project developed a focus on the particular experiences of African American and Latino/a students. This year, students are invited to work on editing of a full documentary and completion of an instructor’s guide for faculty who wish to use the documentary in the classroom.

Printing Technology and Tradition: Exploring Printing and Pattern in a Global Context Using Emergent Technology and Traditional Techniques

Marilyn Jones, Art, Architecture and Design (Graphic Design)

Elizabeth Phillips ’15 and Presidential Scholar
Kristen Schmidt '15
Briaun Isreal '17

A project to explore the evolution of global textile patterns using a combination of traditional printmaking techniques and modern technology.  The project will begin with global research, in which we will look at the colors and patterns of Indian, Asian, African, and Islamic societies both in their current and past cultures. Not only will we be interested in the historical context of printed patterns and textiles from different culture, but also traditional dyes, inks, and techniques. Drawing inspiration from a variety of cultures with long histories in printing and textiles will provide a rich source of inspiration not only in technique but in meaning.

Exploring the Genetic Basis of Learning

Julie Miwa, Biological Sciences

Edwin Chan '16
Sana Ali '17
Kyra Feuer '16
Kristin Anderson, Graduate Student
Samantha Eichelberger, Graduate Student

Individuality is an essential human quality. We are exploring the genetic basis of differences in cognitive traits between individuals. We know that it is more difficult to learn when we’re young than as we age, and we have discovered age-dependent genes which act as molecular brakes on learning. Removal of such genes in animals makes adult brains youthful again. Variation among individuals in the DNA sequence of human genes have been found. If these sequence differences alter or disable the function of the molecular brake on learning, what does this on us as adults in terms of cognition and learning? This is the question we will be exploring in this Mountaintop project.

Lehigh in Senegal: Sustainable Building and Community Living

Susan Kart, Art, Architecture, and Design
Brent Stringfellow,
Mark Orrs, Sustainable Development Program / Political Science

Elizabeth (Ellie) Hayden '17
Christopher Guilcapi '18
Peter Kostakos '16
Sydney Kam '15
Abby Winter '15
Elias Hess '17
Hannah Han '15

In the last ten years there has been focus on works of sustainable architecture in developing countries. Many of these projects have made innovative use of advanced design tools (such as parametric and analytic computing programs) in combination with vernacular materials to advance the quality of individual buildings.  In lieu of a particular building, this project looks to develop a similar high-tech / low-tech approach to specific building components (blocks, roofs, windows, doors, structure) in the specific context of West Africa. The goal is to develop these components such that they can provide markedly improved environmental performance - and subsequent occupant experience - within the economic and labor constraints that drive construction.

Biomanufacturing: A New Paradigm in Functional Material Synthesis for Sustainable Energy

Steve McIntosh, Chemical Engineering
Bryan Berger, Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering
Mark Snyder, Chemical Engineering

Judson Smull '16
Christopher Walker '16
Roxanne Chu '17
Alex Tomkiewicz '11, Graduate Student
Logan Hodges '16

While advances in nanotechnology have driven incredible new insights and creativity, this scaling challenge is increasingly recognized, as evidenced by the recent DARPA call “Atoms to Product: Aiming to make Nanoscale Benefits Life-Sized”. Current chemical synthesis routes rely on expensive precursors, toxic solvents, and multi-step templating. In stark contrast, biological systems, from sea sponges to mollusk shells, have solved the problem of creating and controlling hierarchical inorganic nanostructures under ambient conditions. These biological systems have been studied for fabrication of structural materials, but only limited reports of functional material biosynthesis are available. The challenge is to harness these biological routes to generate the correct materials as hierarchical 3D structures that maintain the functionality derived from their nanostructure. This summer the students will harness biomanufacturing to create a photovoltaic cell electrode.

Founder’s Day Performance Experience

Steven Sametz, Music

Dongyun (Dan) Shin, Graduate Student, Electrical Engineering
Trevor Davis '15
Christopher Hoke ‘16
Geordan Johnson '15
Connor Tench '15
Tyler Seip '14, Graduate Student

Dr. Steven Sametz (Music Dept) has been commissioned to create a new work to be performed at the presidential inauguration taking place at Founders Day, October 2, 2015, which is also the kick-off of Lehigh’s sesquicentennial celebration.   For this project, Dr. Sametz reached out to departments across the University to design and execute a concept which would involve all four of colleges at Lehigh. Starting from the science and technological side, the piece will explore cosmological events of 150 years ago, when Lehigh was founded, and use either sound or light of that time to create algorithms that will affect and enhance a performance in Packer Chapel in real time. The data from 150 years ago may be used to enhance digital delay on the choral sound, create a visual display happening during the piece, or a combination of both.

Using National Datasets to Answer Key Questions about Early Child Development and Education

Ageliki Nicolopoulou, Psychology
Amanda Brandone, Psychology
Patti Manz, School Psychology
Brook Sawyer, Teaching, Learning and Technology

Laura Wallace, Graduate Student, School Psychology
Burcu Ünlütabak, Graduate Student, Psychology
Kelsey Konopka '16
Katherine MacLachlan '16

Through this project, graduate students, undergraduates, and faculty will become familiar with how to efficiently access and analyze data from large-scale databases available from the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE), such as those from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS). The ECLS databases provide longitudinal data (from birth to 5th grade) for several cohorts on a wide array of individual, family, school, and community variables related to children's development and learning. Presently, these databases are highly influential to early childhood scholars in advancing theory, research and practice.  This Mountaintop project will enable faculty to become knowledgeable about accessing and analyzing these datasets. Moreover, this collaboration will promote key skills in the undergraduate and graduate student participants that can foster their transitions to graduate school or early career.

The Geography of Bias

Dominic Packer, Psychology

Nick Ungson, Graduate Student, Psychology
Devon A. Carter '16
Nathan S. Keim '17
Alexandra E. Pizzuto '17
Audra E. McComb '17

This Mountaintop Project will take students on a deep exploration into the geography of bias, using data-driven techniques to answer novel questions about how biases vary geographically and the underlying reasons why.   This is a collaborative project in which the group as a whole selects one or two central research questions or goals, different components of which will be tackled by sub-teams. The whole group will meet regularly for team reports, to aggregate data and findings, to solve problems, and to offer each other support and advice with challenges along the way. I will serve as the primary mentor, but I would also like to involve at least one graduate student (Nick Ungson) whose expertise with data management and analysis will allow him to serve an important advisory role to the group.

TopO House

Nik Nikolov, Art, Architecture, and Design

Ritah Kagezi, Architecture
Katherine Fletcher, Civil Eng/Design
Yunhao Li, Materials Science
Dwight Kessler, Civil Eng
Rachel Mayer, Industrial Eng/Product
Patch Kroll, IPD/Entrepreneurship

This line of inquiry is a part of a larger multi departmental and multidisciplinary “thrust” in combining computational design methodologies with big area additive manufacturing (BAAM) technologies.  The Mountaintop Summer research work will test and identify research questions in the applicability of TO and BAAM technologies in fabricating a 3d printed small inhabitable structure. We intend this work to lay the foundation for continued research in interfacing these novel technologies.  The selected students will be encouraged to explore and define their own lines of inquiry within the broader topic of topology optimization and additive manufacturing. They will also be encouraged to apply and steer their previous student research in new directions, as well as questioning the premises of such work and the very methods and possible outcomes.

Wave Energy Conversion

Mark Orrs, Sustainable Development Program / Political Science
Shalinee Kishore, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Larry Snyder, Industrial and Systems Engineering

Erin Barclay '16
Tanzirul Hoque '15
Jennifer Fowler '17
Michael Celente '16
Erin Kelley '16
Aswhin Vinod, Graduate Student

This Mountaintop Experience project will give students opportunities to explore technical aspects of ocean wave energy, an emerging source of clean, renewable electricity. Ocean waves are one of the world’s most abundant, predictable, and consistent sources of renewable energy. A wide variety of wave energy converter (WEC) designs are currently being developed and tested in R&D labs around the world; at their core, they all convert the energy in rolling ocean waves into electricity and deliver it to on-shore power grids. In this project, students will develop small WEC prototypes with which they can explore various strategies for harvesting wave energy. These DIY WECs will also provide valuable experiential learning opportunities for younger students (e.g., middle and high school students) who observe, interact with, and experiment with them.

What does creative writing have to do with social justice?

Stephanie Powell Watts, English
Bob Watts, English

Connor Burbridge
Brenda Martinez
Kylie Gray
Talia Dunkirk*
Sava Marinkovic*
Mary Elizabeth Chambliss
Daphnee McMaster
James Finley
James McAdams
James Hamill
Joann Grimm*
Michael Harrison"

An innovative combination of the artist colony—where writers retreat for isolation and time to conceptualize or complete a project—and the writers’ conference—where writers visit to engage in workshops and interact with writing professionals. We envision this project as an intense four-week program for advanced undergraduate and graduate student writers to hone their craft under the tutelage of faculty mentors and other writing professionals while having the time, space, and freedom to explore independently the important issues where creative writing and social justice come together.  Faculty mentors from the Lehigh Creative Writing Program will serve as guides and facilitators in this project. In addition, each week of the program will feature a Skype talk from a prominent writer from outside of the Lehigh community and on some issue of the craft and philosophy of creative writing and its intersection with questions of social justice.

Rapid Development of a Chemical Analysis Tool with3D Printing

Xiaoji Xu

2 Undergraduate Students

In the Mountaintop project, the students shall utilize a 3D printer to rapidly develop a conceived concept to a prototype of a high spectral resolution infrared spectrometer with a small footprint. The cost of a prototype by a 3D printer is considerably cheaper than by a traditional machine shop. It therefore allows multiple options to be tested in parallel, and to choose the one that best embodies the conceived design idea. In the proposed project, the undergraduate students will learn how to create computer-assisted design (CAD), 3D printing, and control of the instrument through Labview, a graphic programming language. Moreover, it will invoke the creativity of the students in creating new schematics to polish an instrument design. The experience of the mountaintop project shall be a good compliment to the typical course curriculum of Lehigh undergraduate students, in such a way that it not only uses the knowledge that the students have learned in class, but it also provides an opportunity for students to create new designs and new ways of doing things toward a specific goal.

LaunchBayC Accelerator

Chris Kauzmann, Young Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Baker Institute
Todd Watkins, Professor of Economics, and Co-Executive Director, Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity and Innovation
Dale Falcinelli, Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Baker Institute
Lisa Getzler, Co-Executive Director, Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity and Innovation

Lauren Villaverde, Graduate Student
Joseph O'Brien '16
Kathryn Kundrod '15
Liz Cornell '15
Chealsea Coffey '15
Melissa Milstrey '18
Nicholas DeMarco '18
Winston La '18
John Lim '18
Christopher Dallao, Graduate Student
Hanna Brosky '18
Dana Waxenberg '18
Cindy Phuong '18
Hiro Kobayashi, Graduate Student
Luke Sahagian, Graduate Student
Peter Schwarzenberg '16
Nicholas Hirdt '17
Brianna Riggs '18
Shanice Marrow '18

The year two LaunchBayC will again nurture competitively selected students working on fledgling pre-seed-funding startups, including university-related spinoffs related to faculty and lab innovations. In addition to (1) working with students and faculty already immersed in the innovation pipeline at Lehigh, this year LaunchBayC also wishes to (2) strengthen the inlet. We look to expose students with innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship starting early in their Lehigh careers to increase the interest, flow, and passion for this type of experiential, application, and discovery based learning.  Support for both of these phases of startup remain holes in the innovation pipeline at Lehigh and in the region; beyond the mission of academic programs but yet too unproven to attract Ben Franklin, angel or VC investment. LaunchBayC aims to help fill that gap.

Bacterial Pathogenesis Mountaintop Project

Vassie Ware, Biological Sciences
Bryan Berger, Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering
Javier Buceta, Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering

Bhavi Devireddy ‘17
Melanie Grajales ‘16
Christopher Collado ‘18
Juliet Chung ‘18
Lauren Schlegel ’18
Samantha Sarli '17
Catherine Mageeney, Graduate Student
Lisa Glover (NCC student)
Alex Kratzer (NCC student)

This mountaintop project is an outgrowth of a course-based research experience under the auspices of the HHMI-sponsored SEA-PHAGES Program at Lehigh in collaboration with a nationwide alliance and lead investigators studying tuberculosis (TB) at the University of Pittsburgh.  With the increasing prevalence of multidrug-resistant strains of TB (the second leading killer apart from HIV/AIDS), alternative strategies for eradicating the impact of pathogenic Mycobacteria are a global health priority.  The utility of phage applications to mitigate the impact of bacterial pathogens will be studied.  Investigations of phage infection of Mycobacterial hosts and the development of phage proteins as potential biocontrol agents are the major goals of this project.   Students will gain key research training in molecular genetic-, microbiological-, biochemical-, biophysical- and imaging techniques and will work in a cross-disciplinary environment with a diverse team of Lehigh faculty and a SEA-PHAGE collaborator from another institution.  The project will lay a foundation for several students who seek an academic year commitment to a long term independent research project in phage biology.  This project is co-funded by the HHMI-supported BioConnect Program at Lehigh University.