office of the first-year experience

First-Year Programs

Summer Reading Program
Strong Interest Inventory


Summer Reading Program

The Summer Reading Program is designed to engage the Lehigh community in discussions around relevant themes in the book. Students will discuss the book with their Orientation group and a faculty or staff member during Orientation.

Selection Process:

The selection process for the Summer Reading program takes place throughout the fall and beginning of the spring semesters.  If you have a book you would like to recommend for the 2014 academic year, please submit your recommendation.

2013 Summer Reading Selection: The Madonnas of Echo Park

Past Selections:
(2012) The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
(2011) The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
(2010) Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson
(2008, 2009) Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
(2007) Freedom in Exile by The Dalai Lama
(2006) Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
(2005) The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
(2004) Copenhagen by Michael Frayn(2003) Nickel & Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America by Barbara Ehrenreich

If you have a book recommendation that you would like the Book Selection Committee to consider, please complete the recommendation form.

Submit a Reflection to the Lehigh Review!

The Lehigh Review is an entirely student-produced journal. Each issue contains some of the best scholarly writing by Lehigh undergraduates. This year first-year students will have the opportunity to write a reflection of the Summer Reading Book, The Madonnas of Echo Park and submit it to be part of the First-Year Voices section of the Lehigh Review.

Responses should be emailed to by Tuesday, October 1st. Written responses should make some kind of interpretive claim about one of the prompts in 500 to 1000 words. Files should be sent in .doc or .docx format.

Visual responses should respond to one of the prompts in some way and may be composed of any medium of your choosing (watercolor, pencil, digital, sculpture, etc.). Files should be sent in .jpeg format in the highest resolution possible. Questions can be sent to Allison Ragon in the Office of the First-Year Experience at or Catherine Burton of the Lehigh Review at

“I'm not sure this is my old neighborhood anymore.  I drive in, visit my mother, then drive out.  I haven't explored around here for years for a reason; Echo Park has a hard time letting you go.”  (Skyhorse 153)

Please respond to one of the following:

1) What does it mean for a neighborhood to have “a hard time letting you go”? Explain in context of the novel as well as from your own experiences. Will your hometown let you go? How might this process of resistance and/or release affect your understanding of your own identity?

2) Many of the characters in the book have identities that are deeply rooted in and connected to their neighborhood of Echo Park. Characters who relocate thus often find themselves struggling to adjust emotionally, unsure of how they define themselves in relation to both their old and new surroundings. Do you believe your self-identity is tied to the area in which you grew up? In what ways? How do you imagine that identity might be challenged and/or changed when you leave home and come to Lehigh? How will your new neighborhood of South Bethlehem influence your self-perception?

3) In The Madonnas of Echo Park, it is widely acknowledged that the neighborhood of Echo Park changes dramatically over time. However, characters have differing reactions to such change: think, for example, about Aurora Esperanza and Freddy, who struggle with acclimating to those changes, while characters like Duchess and Angie seem to readily accept them. How do you imagine you will react to perceived changes in your hometown, after you have spent significant time away at college?


First-Year Students in the College of Business and Economics (CBE) and student-athletes who are members of a varsity sport program need to complete the Strong Interest Inventory®.  The Strong Interest Inventory® can help you make decisions about academic and career exploration. 

Business Students

As a first-year CBE student, you will be taking BUS 001 – Introduction to Business.  In preparation for this course, you must complete the Strong Interest Inventory®.  The results of this assessment will be used by your instructors in assigning groups and will be a resource for you and your advisor as you make decisions about a major and ultimately your chosen career. 

You should complete the Strong Interest Inventory® test no later than August 1, 2013. 

Student Athletes

As a first-year student-athlete of a varsity sport program, you will be participating in a first year student-athlete fall semester program called Lehigh P.R.I.D.E. (Personal Responsibility in Determining Excellence).  In preparation for this program, you must complete the Strong Interest Inventory®.  The results of this assessment will be discussed the day before Orientation (Wednesday, August 21) and will be a resource for you as you make decisions about a major and ultimately your chosen career. You should complete the Strong Interest Inventory® test no later than August 1, 2013.

To complete the inventory, follow these instructions:

*Please note:  If you are a first year student-athlete in the College of Business and Economics (CBE), you will take the assessment through the CBE and do NOT need to take it again for the P.R.I.D.E. program.

*Follow all directions given to complete the inventory. You will need 30-45 minutes to answer all of the questions. If you have any questions during the self-administration process, please contact Career Services at 610-758-3710. Thank you for your participation.


Lehigh is working to create a healthier and safer living and learning environment by reducing high-risk drinking and related consequences. We believe that high-risk drinking affects interpersonal, social, and residential life in many ways. As a new Lehigh student, you are expected to complete the AlcoholEdu program before you arrive on campus. AlcoholEdu is an online, science-based program that provides detailed information about alcohol and its effects on the body and mind. The goal of the course is to help you to make well-informed decisions about alcohol and to help you cope with the drinking behavior of your peers. More information is available on the campus portal.