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NY Times: Lehigh moves past the 'usual notion of college'

"The scene in a cavernous building atop a forested hill here resembles a brainy, free-form summer camp, or a loft where twentysomethings meet to pursue esoteric dreams," writes education columnist Richard Pérez-Peña in the July 18, 2014, edition of The New York Times. "It does not look like the usual notion of college….Most of the students here are pursuing their own projects — about 30 in all — and finding their own way, with little faculty input and with nothing more at stake than testing their own ambition, skills and curiosity."

In this lengthy review of Lehigh’s groundbreaking Mountaintop Initiative, the Times describes the work of several engineering students, including bioengineering majors Colleen Perry and Elena Ramirez of the Class of 2015, environmental engineer Kimberly Hetrick ‘14, and MAJOR Zakaria Hsian ’17. Pérez-Peña describes several engineering-led projects in detail, including “subjects such as robotics, composting, innovative playground structures, security for cloud computing, ventilation for cooking huts, water purification and a ‘smart house’ controlled from the owner’s phone.”

Alan Snyder, vice president and associate provost for research and graduate studies, says in the article that the Mountaintop frees students to experiment. "The lines between the classroom and the lab, the workshop, need to blur," he said. "Especially in an era where the textbook is old before the ink is dry, students need to be independent thinkers, discoverers."

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Lehigh Mountaintop

Yatin Karpe, Greg Sullivan (managing partner of Tremonti Consulting), Gene Lucadamo and Animesh Kundu at at the 2014 TechConnect World Conference and Expo.