Mountaintop

Summer 2016

Project Abstracts

Aging and Technology

Mentor:
Bill Best, mechanical engineering and mechanics

Students:
Elana Abrams ’18, IDEAS
Rebecca Langbein ’16, IDEAS
1 additional undergraduate student

How can you help aging adults, who are used to being independent, remain self-sufficient as their mental and physical capabilities are decreasing. This project focuses on designing technologies with consideration of social and medical concerns factors.

Asa Packer: An Extraordinary Man in Extraordinary Times

Mentors:
Monica Najar, history
Ilhan Citak, Linderman Library

Students:
3 undergraduate students
1 graduate student

Like the university he founded, Asa Packer made remarkable achievements in liberal arts, business, engineering, and education. Despite these, little public scholarship about him is available. This project will engage students in thoughtfully considering two questions: How do we study the history of the man in the absence of many sources? How do we tell his story in ways that fit the interests and issues of this moment?

Calculated Actions to Deliver Racial and Ethnic Equity in Education

Mentor:
Christine Novak, school psychology

Students:
4 additional undergraduate students
1 additional graduate student student
Petrina Davidson, graduate student, comparative and international education

If you could perform one calculated action to advance equal education, what would that be? This project will draw from the expertise of students across a variety of backgrounds to work to advance equitable educational outcomes, particularly for those who are socially excluded from a majority culture due to poverty or other birth circumstance. The students will focus on communities in the United States and the Czech Republic.

CivLab: Civic Hacking, Resource Mapping, and Using Community Data to Create Change

Mentors:
Sarah Stanlick, Center for Community Engagement, sociology/anthropology
Tom Hammond, teaching learning and technology

Students:
2 undergraduate students
1 graduate student

The South Side of Bethlehem is in transition. Economic development and the shift of community identity, from steel to arts and tourism, have brought new energy to our postindustrial city. Meanwhile, concerns about gentrification, access to resources and services, and representation of resident interest have been the focus of intense debate. Our university is also in transition. New leadership and initiatives emphasize our role as an anchor institution and as a place of research that advances the common good. In this context, students will explore issues related to civic data, asset mapping, and community engagement with technology. Through research, exploration of technology, and dataset analysis, the student team will identify potential social issues and community needs. Students will adopt an inquiry-based, community-engaged perspective towards their research, while also developing a sense of civic agency.

CivLab: "Weaving our We:" Arts and Humanities as a Vehicle for Civic Engagement

Mentors:
Sarah Stanlick, Center for Community Engagement, sociology/anthropology
Stephanie Powell Watts, English
Andy Cassano, Zoellner Arts Center

Students:
2 undergraduate students
1 graduate student

This project will explore the question of what a dedicated arts and humanities program with a civic/community engagement focus could look like at Lehigh. Students will grapple with questions about social justice and civic engagement and the work we do in the academy. We are asking what it means to live our values and passions in the arts and humanities while operating in tandem with our community neighbors for public good. Our inquiry is based on the precept that impactful and significant change and the quests for truth and beauty cannot be mutually exclusive. In addition, we seek to understand the transition of the South Side of Bethlehem from its post-Bethlehem Steel, industrial identity to an arts community.

Design, Fabrication, and Development of an Atomic Layer Deposition Instrument with In Situ Measurement and Manipulation Capabilities

Mentors:
Nick Strandwitz, materials science and engineering
Brandon Krick, mechanical engineering and mechanics
Volkmar Dierolf, physics
Steve McIntosh, chemical engineering

Students:
4 undergraduate students
Ling Ju, graduate student, materials science and engineering

Atomic layer deposition (ALD) is a means for depositing extremely thin layers of material that adhere and conform to the surfaces on which they are applied. They’re used in applications ranging from optics to anti-corrosion coatings to medical implants. Even after 15 years of rapid growth in the use of ALD, there are still gaps in understanding the process and how to tune the properties of the thin films that are formed. Students will build their own ALD reactor and develop their own ideas for filling these gaps in understanding.

Development of Passive Learning Techniques to Identify Pseudoscientific Claims

Mentor:
Jason Loew, computer science and engineering

Students:
Patrick Kroll ’17, industrial design
Jennifer Liu ’17, architecture
Jadon Sargeant ’17, bioengineering
2 additional undergraduate students

Students will set out to design a game through which players learn to differentiate between science and pseudoscience, which the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines pseudoscience as "a system of theories, assumptions, and methods erroneously regarded as scientific." Students envision a passive learning system in the form of a strategy game that reinforces recognition of principles of scientific thought and exposes pseudoscience. Students’ goal is to create an educational platform that imbues players with the ability to discern science from pseudoscience without them even being aware that the learning is taking place – or at least without an aversion to it.

Establishing a Flow Network for Experiments on Blockages and Their Detection

Mentors:
Paolo Bocchini, civil and environmental engineering
Herman Nied, mechanical engineering and mechanics

Students:
4 undergraduate students

Pipeline networks are a critical component of our infrastructure systems and our economy. Over time, the accumulation of sediments and deposits can lead to the partial or total blockage of a pipeline, with consequent damage and reduction or interruption of the service. In some cases, blockages can have tremendous socio-economic consequences. Pipelines can span whole continents and it can be difficult to identify the location of a blockage without inspecting all the pipes. Students will work on an approach to locating blockages in a pipeline network. This student team will encounter all aspects of the problem, from identifying the social need, to implementing a solution, to demonstrating the solution in a model pipeline network they build.

Exploring the Genetics of Behavioral Adaptation

Mentors:
Julie Miwa, biological sciences
Krystle McLaughlin, biological sciences

Students:
4 undergraduate students
1 graduate student

This project explores the genetic basis of complex cognitive processes. This is an extension of a Mountaintop Project which ran in summer 2015 and which has continued throughout the academic year. The seeds of this project are an extrapolation from animal genetic studies identifying genes critical for learning and behavioral adaptation. We hypothesize that the equivalent genes in humans will play a role in traits such as learning, cognitive flexibility, emotional regulation and resilience. To test this, we collect DNA samples from individuals and perform cognitive assessments to correlate specific traits with sequences of putative learning genes. In this project, students will be given a unique learning environment to carry out inquiry-based research projects. The project includes molecular biology, bioinformatics, psychology, biochemistry, computer science and neuroscience.

History of Africana Studies Film

Mentors:
Michael Kramp, English
Julia Maserjian, library and technology services

Students:
Connor Burbridge ’17, IDEAS
Miles Davis ’16, supply chain management
Toni Israel ’17, journalism
Tamara Jones ’17
Donterrius Walker '19, IDEAS
Brenda Martinez, graduate student, English

The growth of the Africana Studies at Lehigh over the past six years has fundamentally altered the intellectual and social community of the university. The program has changed the university as a whole, the lives of individual students, and the future directions of faculty and staff across campus. This film project, begun in spring of 2016, will bring these stories together in one digital text and will serve as a time capsule for Lehigh’s institutional history. The film will address how the Africana Studies program has sought to address intellectual and cultural questions of race within the campus environment.

Integrating Technology and Child Development: Geometric and Spatial Learning

Mentors:
Robin Hojnoski, school psychology
Michael Spear, computer science and engineering

Students:
4 additional undergraduate students
Brittany Kuder, graduate student, school psychology

What if young children had access to educational apps that were designed by child development researchers and linked with meaningful learning experiences and outcomes? Our team of accomplished and aspiring school psychologists and computer scientists will explore the potential that technology holds for promoting child development while also furthering our understanding through back-end data analytics. Our 2015 Mountaintop experience allowed us to develop an electronic platform for an early childhood block-building tablet application as well as to collect child development data to inform the development of this app. During the spring of 2016, two undergraduate computer science and engineering students are refining and finalizing the app so it is ready for the next phase. Meanwhile, school psychology graduate students are following children who participated in Mountaintop 2015 to understand longer-term relations between spatial skills and school readiness. This project will build on this momentum as we continue this collaborative, multidisciplinary project.

Investigation of 3D Concrete Printing Methods and Applications

Mentors:
Clay Naito, civil and environmental engineering
Nik Nikolov, art, architecture and design
Brian Slocum, Wilbur Powerhouse Prototyping Lab

Students:
4 undergraduate students
Joseph Ingaglio, graduate student, civil and structural engineering

This project will explore the use of 3D printing techniques in structural concrete. In recent years advances have been made in the use of Fused Deposition Modeling technologies for concrete construction. A few commercial systems can deposit wet concrete in layers several inches thick for the fabrication of walls and structural components. While these systems are effective for large components where surface quality and accuracy are not critical they are not ideal when refined topologies and light weight components are desired. The group is proposing to develop an alternative path for 3D concrete production.

LV (Lehigh Valley) Shares

Mentor:
Mark Orrs, sustainable development

Students:
2 undergraduate students
2 graduate students

Lehigh Valley Shares (LV Shares) addresses the issue of environmental sustainability in the Lehigh Valley and aims to decrease consumption and waste generation. The goal is to establish a free website that connects parties with excess items with parties in need of those items, in order to eliminate waste and consumption of resources. Once operational, LV Shares will be self-sustaining for many years to come and will support progress toward a more sustainable community in the whole of the Lehigh Valley.

Orthopedic Shoes

Mentors:
Arkady Voloshin, mechanical engineering and mechanics
Edmund Webb, mechanical engineering and mechanics

Students:
Patrick Zager ’17, bioengineering
3 additional undergraduate students

Disorders of the foot are prevalent both in developed and developing nations. Because of the wide variety of causes, generalized or universal guidelines for footwear are an unreliable preventative. Building on early spring research, students will consider questions including what modern biomedical technologies, such as computational biomechanics, can be used to target foot disordersÍž the role of product design in implementing engineering solutions without sacrificing user perception satisfactionÍž what can be learned from markets for products such as orthotics, and how understanding of a target market changes design intent.

sDev Lab

Mentors:
Richard Weisman, civil and environmental engineering
Mark Orrs, sustainable development

Students:
6 undergraduate students

In its third summer on Mountaintop, the sDev Lab seeks to create equal space for, and emphasis on, a number of important aspects of sustainable development, including policy think tanks, big data analysis, social entrepreneurship, consulting, and scholarship. sDev Lab is a state of exploration requiring investigators who (1) care about reducing poverty and spreading prosperity, (2) insist on economic convergence and social inclusion, and (3) are mindful stewards of the environment.

Smart Schools: Developing Data Collection Technology to Improve the Study and Operation of Educational Organizations

Mentor:
Craig Hochbein, educational leadership

Students:
5 additional undergraduate students
Abby Mahone, graduate student, educational leadership

Technological advancements have spawned areas of product development such as "the internet of things", "wearables", and "smart spaces". Such software applications and hardware devices have enabled unobtrusive data collection that facilitates improvements in personal and organizational outcomes. Although this technology has become pervasive in businesses and homes, similar adoption, implementation, or benefit has not occurred in schools and other educational organizations. Students will explore the question, "how can data collection technology improve the study and operation of educational organizations?" As part of this project, students will be encouraged to adapt and develop technology that enables schools and other educational organizations to collect, analyze, and utilize data in new and unexpected ways.

Social Simulation Lab

Mentor:
Ziad Munson, sociology and anthropology

Students:
5 undergraduate students

This project will explore social simulation through the researching, design, playtesting, and production of one or more board games. Board games offer a unique path to social simulation that allow students to explore complex causal arguments, draw on specialized expertise in a variety of academic disciplines, and work creatively to express ideas in innovative and accessible ways. In doing so, the lab will draw on models from the specialized hobbyist board game industry involving thousands of titles that move far beyond the Parcheesi, Monopoly or Risk of many childhoods.

Sports and Evolution Lab

Mentors:
John Pettegrew, history
Dan Lopresti, computer science and engineering
Ziad Munson, sociology and anthropology

Students:
4 undergraduate students
1 graduate student

This project will spur students to help create a new scholarly field of sports study through the digital measurement and representation of (1) physical capacity and performance in baseball, U.S. football, soccer, track and field, and other sports today; and (2) change over long periods of time in individual and team performance in those same sports. Sex difference; body type, mass, and strength; speed of foot and response; race; age; nutrition; geographical region; hand-eye coordination; technology and equipment; skill and technique: these and other criteria will be used to examine questions and themes ranging from injury and structural violence in sport, attributes of superior athletic performance and victory, and patterns of human physiological, cognitive, social, and cultural evolution.

Sustainability in the Developing World: Can NGO Interventions Create Frameworks for Self-Sufficiency in Education Systems?

Mentors:
Sothy Eng, comparative and international education
Mark Orrs, sustainable development
Whitney Szmodis, College of Education

Students:
4 undergraduate students
2 graduate students

This project will seek to identify and quantify aspects of the NGO/education system relationship that may not be replicable, scalable and ultimately self-sustaining. This is an opportunity for students to deconstruct the systems in place, identify the strengths and weaknesses of each, and propose a model that allows for increased sustainability, and to do so while working across an interdisciplinary academic spectrum. Key questions students can consider include whether the proposed model can be realized, implemented and sustained sans the benefit of an NGO-managing entity, and if not, what the ramifications of reliance on external entities for a national education system may be.

Transitions for Refugees through Empowerment and Education

Mentors:
Alex Wiseman, comparative and international education
Lisa Damaschke-Dietrick, comparative and international education

Students:
3 undergraduate students
2 graduate students

The Transitions for Refugees through Empowerment and Education (TREE) Project seeks to support refugee youth and educational systems as they encounter the humanitarian and socio-cultural challenges of resettlement. This transition is of great importance as refugee populations are widely recognized as vulnerable due to myriad simultaneous factors. The project will unite Lehigh students, refugee advocates and education experts in both the US and Germany to investigate the dynamic factors facing resettled refugees. Students will identify and consider the myriad ways educators can appropriately prepare to support refugee students.

Urban Planning and Transportation at Lehigh

Mentor:
Bill Best, mechanical engineering and mechanics

Students:
Matt Lucente ’18, mechanical engineering
Lucas Van Dyke ’18, mechanical engineering, entrepreneurship
3 additional undergraduate students

The team will study the potential environmental impact of transportation on campus using aspects of urban design and renewable energy modeled after Jacque Fresco’s "Future by Design." The team’s goal is to develop a smarter transportation system as part of a Lehigh campus for the future. The students plan to utilize the creative freedom of Mountaintop to look for alternative solutions which will allow Lehigh’s campus to reach its full potential and become a global model of urban campus design.

What Does Creative Writing Have to do with Social Justice?

Mentors:
Stephanie Powell Watts, English
Bob Watts, English

Students:
3 undergraduate students
2 graduate student

This project will explore how creative writing, through its play of imagination and freedom of inquiry, gives rise to possibilities for alternate social, personal and political ways of existing, as well as the growth that writers experience through interacting with a community of other writers. The animating question is how we can accomplish our aims as writers of poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction while simultaneously furthering the mission of social engagement and social justice. In effect, how might we use our work as writers and aspiring writers to question the nature of injustice, both as a structure underlying many socio-economic and political systems and as the lived experience of many around the world, without resorting to proselytizing or polemic? Moreover, what is the social responsibility of the creative writer and how does this mission complicate our aims to imagine a more just and equitable society? Finally, how does working in close community with other writers influence this process?

LaunchBayC

Mentors:
Chris Kauzmann, Baker Institute
Lisa Getzler, Baker Institute

LaunchBayC promotes entrepreneurial thinking and action. There are three tracks: the Creativity Track for rising sophomores who want to explore their creative and innovative abilities; the Innovation Track for students at any level who have begun the process of developing solutions through as a result of the Baker Institute’s BioInnovation workshops, Baker’s Dozen ideation sessions, EUREKA! Competition or other problem-to-solution focused experience, and the Entrepreneurship Track for student with fairly mature projects who will spend their ten weeks making final preparations to launch their ventures. For all students, LaunchBayC is a purposeful thinking and learning community.

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