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Lehigh-Pratt partnership provides innovative learning

Lehigh University students teamed up with six students from the Pratt Institute during this summer’s Mountaintop Program.

The students came from a range of disciplines to participate in the program, which brings students from across Lehigh’s campus together in collaborative teams to solve real-world problems.

The Lehigh-Pratt partnership, which began in 2016, emphasizes the Institute’s vision of educating students in a way that will prepare them to solve challenges in innovative and effective ways. The Pratt students could either propose their own team projects or join existing teams.

Three Pratt students from the class of 2019, Jennifer Brukhman, Liliana Comito and Xiaoyu Gu, worked on the “Intentional Design: Addressing and Destigmatizing Mental Illness” project with two Lehigh students, Deanna Kocher ’17 and Caleb Leaser ’20.

To help those individuals living with mental illness, the students developed ideas, designs and prototypes -- including a weighted necklace that would provide deep touch pressure therapy -- used to regulate deep breathing exercises.

The “Intentional Design” project was presented in New York at the Fountain House Gallery, which is dedicated to challenging the stigma surrounding mental illness and provides a place for artists living and working with mental illness to practice creativity. The exhibition was called I’m Not Okay.

“I learned not to put myself in a box of what I can and can't do,” Brukhman said. “I learned a lot about research and the engineering side of things, which previously I had known nothing about.”

Other projects included “Data, the Internet of Things and the Empowerment of Everyday Decision-Making” and “Improving the Walkability and Increasing Students’ Use of the Southside.”

Pratt student senior Grant Ng participated in the data project with Lehigh students Klaudia Jazwinska ’18 and graduate student Sachin Joshi. Together they examined and developed tools to help address challenges in making sense of data in the new information economy.

Hoa Ton and Esther Jang, both senior Pratt students, took part in the walkability project with Lehigh students Dmitry Kuliaev ’20, Henrietta Lukacs ’19, Courtney Mesilas ’17, Peter Nguyen ’18 and graduate student Matthew Lubitz. The students researched, created and implemented parklets around the Bethlehem area. Parklets are public seating platforms that convert curbside parking spaces into community spaces to include amenities such as seating, greenery and bike racks.

Lehigh seniors Maia Butterfield ’18 and Zoe Rosenberg ’18 also worked with Debera Johnson, Pratt Institute’s executive director of the Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator, in a project called TEK-TILES. They examined how textiles and garments embedded with materials such as sensors, conductive yarns and nanotech fabrics are designed and manufactured.

-Danielle Bettermann is a student writer with the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science and the Deputy Lifestyle Editor for The Brown and White.

October 25, 2017

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