Summer 2014 Projects

Integrating Molecular and Bioengineering Approaches to Address Challenges in Microbial Pathogenesis

Bryan Berger (ChemE/BioE)
Xuanhong Cheng (MSE)
Vassie Ware (BiolSci)

Emily Heckman ‘16
Joseph Skibbens ‘17
Lindsey Stretz ‘15
Kellen Lowrie ‘15
Kyle Garland ‘16
Barrett Miller ‘16
Logan MacDonald, G
Caroline Multari, G
Chao Zhao, G
Catherine Mageeney, G

This project involves study of three aspects of strategies to reduce the impact of two bacterial diseases that are common worldwide: tuberculosis and listeriosis: Identifying means by which bacteriophages (viruses that infect bacteria) have their potentially useful effects against bacterial infections, identification of bacteriophage produces such as enzymes that might be used as biocontrol agents, and development of low-cost sensors to detect food-borne pathogens.

Innovation in ventilation: A combined research experience on indoor air pollution

Kelly Austin (Soc/Anth)
Breena Holland (PolSci)

Dylan M. Friedgen-Veitch ‘16
Shane McDevitt ‘15
Amber E. Schrum ‘16
Maria Theresa (Theresa) Mejia, G
Kellyn M. McCarthy, G
Ilch Yiliqi, G

Students will take on the problem of indoor air pollution from indoor burning of coal, wood or crop residues, which affects 50% of the world’s population and is associated with multiple health problems. Ventilation strategies may be more economically feasible than new cooking technologies, yet are comparatively unexplored. Students will engage in both hands-on research on ventilation strategies using housing mockups, and database- and literature-based research on the scope and social context.

Wislawa Szymborska Documentary Project

Elizabeth Fifer (English)

Peter Schaedler ‘17
Karen Huang ‘17
Sava Marinovic ‘16
Avi Setton, G

Three first-year students and one upper-class student will produce a 20-30 minute film on Nobel Prize-winning poet Wislawa Szymborska, using seven 3-5 minute films produced by the English 11 class as source material. The film will add to the body of work on Szymborska, whose importance includes perspectives gained from living through WW II, the Cold War, the breakup of the Soviet Union, and the emergence of the modern Polish state, in a manner accessible to American audiences. This project expands upon the work of students in Prof. Fifer’s spring 2014 English 11 class.

Student-designed supplements for Eco 1

Thomas Hyclak (Econ)

Anna D’Ginto ’16
Sydney Maltinsky-Wilson ’15
Raven Atkins ‘15
Nesreen Haddush, G
Kerry Anne Mallett ‘15

Students will develop a portfolio of video and textual supplements designed to assist other students in mastering key concepts and methods of analysis used in Eco 1, Principles of Economics. The student-developed materials will then be made available to students in the course in fall 2014. The team’s goal will be to produce materials that accurately portray the concepts or methods in ways that make them easier for new students to understand.

Developing an experimental approach for the conservation of highly endangered desert pupfish

Murray Itzkowitz (BiolSci)
Michael Kuchka (BiolSci)

Thomas Fontana ‘15
Amelia Cotte ‘15
Zachary Carroll ‘15
Cameron Feathers, G
Layla Al-Shaer, G
Andrew Bloch, G

Students will conduct experiments aimed at better understanding the behaviors of the desert pupfish, a species native to the southwestern US that is endangered due to multiple threats to its habitat. The regulations meant to protect the populations make study of them in their native habitat difficult, leaving conservation efforts without sound guidance. Students will construct model ecosystems inhabited by a closely-related non-endangered species and conduct experiments aimed at informing decisions made in preserving the species in the wild. Students will encounter both scientific and political aspects of the problem.

Scalable and affordable nanoparticle synthesis for water purification in the developing world

Steven McIntosh (ChemE)
Bryan Berger (ChemE, BioE)
Mark Snyder (ChemE)

Michael Meloni ‘15
Thomas Ebaugh ‘15
Marina Venezia ‘15
Brittany Partain ‘16
Jennifer Angelo ‘16

Students will work on practical means for removing pathogens from drinking water. Methods involving nanoparticles and sunlight can be very effective but are too expensive for practical use in places that are most plagued by contaminated water. Students will work on inexpensive, safe, and environmentally benign means of producing the particles. The team will aspire to qualify for funding from the Gates Foundation for further development and deployment. They will have as resources three faculty members who are actively working in related areas as well as the graduate students who work with the faculty.

sDev Lab Projects

Richard Weisman (CEE)
Mark Orrs (SDev, PolSci)

Students will work in groups to develop products or processes that serve people in developing communities, while addressing the triple-bottom-line challenges of sustainable development: economic well-being, social inclusion, and environmental protection. Unlike other design labs with similar tripartite goals, students in SDev Lab places equal emphasis on policy analysis, data analysis, social entrepreneurship, consulting and scholarship. sDev Lab will attract and cultivate investigators who care about alleviating poverty and spreading prosperity, insist in economic convergence and social inclusion, and are mindful stewards of the environment.

Aquaponics (sDev)

Kimberly Hetrick ‘15
Jeff Schwartz ‘14
Alex Derish ‘15
Emily Poche ‘16

In this student-conceived sDev Lab project, students will extend work they did in the Spring 2014 Sustainable Development Solutions class, in which they are developing a small scale model of a combined agricultural-hydroponic (aquaponic) system. During the summer, they intend to scale up the project, with the goal of assisting a Peace Corps volunteer in creating workshops for intended areas of deployment and in monitoring systems deployed in the field.

Prosthetics Group (sDev)

Arielle Weiner ‘16
Danielle Taitt ’16
Zakaria Hsain ‘17

Prosthetics group is working on designing a simple, low-cost, aesthetically pleasing hand prosthetic for Cambodia. The hand must be functional for labor intensive agricultural work. They are building a prototype for testing and improvement.

Wind Turbine Design Group (sDev)

Manraj Matharu ‘15
Greg Jacobs ‘15

Wind turbine design group is working to design a low cost device for pumping water from shallow wells. The goal is to provide a design so that Kenyans and other East Africans can construct a turbine from mostly local materials and parts.


Wesley Heis (AAD)
Nik Nikolov (AAD)

Matthew Wetzel ‘16
Luke Genthe ‘15
Elizabeth Phillips ‘15
Tess Fleming ‘15
Benjamin Gingold ‘15
Michelle Vollmuller ‘17
Dylan Petruskevicius ‘15

An offshoot of work done by an undergraduate team for the 2013 Annual Playhouse Design Competition organized by the Eastern PA chapter of the American Institute of Architects, this project involves design and construction of a small, transportable structure whose physical form will change in response to human presence. An important goal in the design is to invite play. The faculty mentors describe play as entailing “a path both made and found” and as fundamental to a process of discovery. The structure’s invitation to explore and eliciting of curiosity can serve as a model of what happens throughout the Mountaintop environment.

The Phone Home Project

Marilyn Jones (AAD)

Brian Hruza ’14
Zach Holiday ’15

This student-conceived project involves development of a tablet or smart phone charging stand that, in concert with the device being charged, provides augmented function such as nighttime clock, weather information, and other functions that users would value.

Preventive Healthcare for Children: Early Head Start in the Lehigh Valley

Patricia Manz (EHS)
Brook Sawyer (EHS)

Laura Spearot, G
Jamie Whitenack, G
Kristen Schmidt ‘15
Sara Dreszer ‘15

This project, a spinoff of the graduate students’ research, will foster a mentoring network among faculty, doctoral students and undergraduate students to explore, and address, barriers to preventive care among underserved families and their young children in the community surrounding our university. The program is devised to capture the rich variety of perspectives among students in the Colleges of Education and Arts and Sciences.

Assessing Vitamin A Deficiency

Anand Jagota (ChemE / BioE)

Corrina Lucini ’14
Sebastian Boberg ’14
Akshaya Shankar, G

This student-conceived project involves development of a practical, economical device for measuring Vitamin A levels. Vitamin A deficiency affects an estimated 250 million preschool children worldwide.

Personalized 3D Printed Prosthetics for Children

Marc de Vinck (TE)
William Best (ECE)
Lisa Getzler-Linn (Baker Institute affiliation)
Christina Haden (Adjunct, MEM)

Colleen Parry ’15
Elena Ramirez ’15
Jeff Peisner ’15

In this collaboration between Lehigh’s CREATE club and Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital, students aim to accelerated the use of 3D printing to reduce the cost and increase the availability of customized limb prosthetics for children. 3D printing has the potential to greatly reduce the cost of replacement as children grow, and to introduce new levels of personal customization without added cost.

The Mathete Project

William Best (ECE/IDEAS)

David DiFrancesco ’16
Chris Buglione ‘15
Jason Wu ‘15

In this student-conceived project, students will strive to devise approaches to learning that align with how today’s students live and learn, making use of digital devices while moving beyond the common digital versions of traditional media. The project has two aspects: observing fellow students in active learning in the Mountaintop space, and developing a demonstration project involving addition of active learning to a traditional course.


Mark Orrs (PolSci / Sdev)
Dork Sahagian (EES)
William Best (ECE / IDEAS)

Alec Entress ’16
Benjamin Cicchillo ‘16
Alexandra Lang ‘16
Victoria Wiedorn, G

This student-conceived project seeks to determine, design and implement the most responsible system for food waste disposal for Lehigh’s campus and the Bethlehem community. Building upon two previous student projects conducted by Environmental Science and IDEAS students, the team plans to apply principles developed in the prior projects to design of a closed loop food waste disposal system for Lehigh and work with Facilities Services to further Lehigh’s on-campus composting efforts.

Engineering Equality: A Comparative Look at Perceptions of Race at Lehigh University

Jennifer Jensen (PolSci)

Viviana Rios ‘15
Paul Lyons ‘16
Kelsey Alpaio ‘15
Corey Ross ‘15
Aaron Luedtke, G

Students will undertake production of a documentary film on the history of race and diversity at Lehigh. University records and Brown and White archives reveal a rich history that has yet to be adequately explored. Students will use a combination of archival research and interviews to produce short written or video documentaries. Through this archival research and in-person interviews, they aim to reconstruct the story of racial diversity, discrimination, and inclusion at Lehigh throughout the last fifty years.

If Walls Could Talk: Exploiting Individual and Group Knowledge in a Smart Space

Michael Spear (CSE)

Patricia Sittikul ’16
Jamie Currie ’17
Erik Outhwaite ’16
Rachel Santangelo ’17

The volume of information that flows through internet-based social networks pales in comparison to the volumes of “implicit ambient information” (IAI) contained in our nonverbal behaviors and interactions. Two teams of students will compete and cooperate as they explore two questions involving IAI. The first is how an intelligent living space can record and analyze IAI in order to understand and respond to an individual’s mood and adjust the living space accordingly. The second is how an intelligent public space might respond to collective behaviors.

Smart Spaces REU Site

John Spletzer (CompSci)
Mooi Choo Chuah (CompSci)
Gang Tan (PhD Student, CompSci)

Bruke Mammo ‘17
Christopher Garman ‘15
Erik Outhwaite ‘16
Patricia Sittikul ‘16
Connor Tench ’15
Laurel Warrell ‘15
Sara Huser ‘15
Geordan Johnson ‘15
Cassandra Guerrero
Robert Smith*
Matthew Hartman*
Shawn Mehltretter*

Based in part on last year’s Mountaintop experience, Smartspaces is now funded by the National Science Foundation as a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) site. The project provides ten or more motivated students each year with a unique research experience centered around the redevelopment of the Mountaintop Campus. The research environment will be highly interdisciplinary, featuring topics such as: 3-D Augmented Reality, Ambient Intelligence, Computer Vision, Embedded Devices, Mobile Computing, Networking and Security, Robotics, and User Interface Design.


Dale Falcinelli (POP, Dept of Management)
Todd Watkins (Econ)
Lisa Getzler-Linn (Baker Institute affiliation)
Chris Kauzmann (Tech Entrepreneurship)
Joshua Ehrig (Management Adjunct, Baker Institute)

Supported by the Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity and Innovation, LaunchBayC will nurture competitively selected students working on fledgling pre-seed funding startups, including university-related spinoffs related to faculty research, prior to sufficiently proving themselves to attract Ben Franklin, angel or VC investment. Modeled in part on the well-known TechStars and Y-Combinator, it will be highly selective and emphasize networking and mentoring from experienced entrepreneurs. The Mountaintop location provides easy access to the experience, programming and infrastructure of BenFranklin TechVentures, one of the nation’s leading professional tech incubators, and its community of over 40 startup companies.

Student Companies
• CheckOut – Alex Valentino ’16, Kyuhyun Cho ’16, Clayton Barber ‘15
• Driftwood – Jessica Ernst ‘14
• HIS – Linda Rentschler, G
• IVY – Tyler Bond ’15, Kielan Fedorka ‘14
• Klinx – Shannon Varcoe ‘15
• Mad Scientist Coral – Platte Gruber, G, Fred Carter, G

One thought on “Summer 2014 Projects

  1. If walls could talk needs to be updated. Rachel Santangelo did not work this summer on mountaintop. Instead Seamus Cullinane ’17 took her place.

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