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Mountain Talks

Learn from Lehigh thought leaders on Mountain Talks.

During these 30-minute sessions, Lehigh faculty and alumni who are experts in their field share the latest and greatest in their area of expertise. Immerse yourself in everything from mechanical engineering in bone healing to immigration history, all from fellow members of the Lehigh family. Watch Mountain Talks live or catch up via event recordings. 

Past Mountain Talks

The James Webb Space Telescope with Scott Willoughby ’89

Scott Willoughby discusses the world’s first space deployable telescope.

Scott Willoughby '89 is the vice president and program manager at Northrop Grumman for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, the largest and most powerful space telescope ever sent into space. In his role, he oversees all aspects of the flagship program, including the design, build, and total system integration. Willoughby has over 30 years of experience in aerospace and received a bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, in electrical engineering from Lehigh University.

In this Mountain Talk, Willoughby will discuss the complex engineering and technological advances that power the world’s first space deployable telescope and the incredible engineering team enabling a new era in space.

Webb is poised to answer age-old questions such as: “How did the universe begin?" or "When were the first stars and galaxies created?" or "Are we alone?” and "How do we fit in the cosmos?”

Building Blaytor Nadia Sasso ’14G

Utilizing Tech to Disrupt the Entertainment Industry

Time after time, Black people are often portrayed as the minorities in the film and media industry. What would be the best medium to solve this problem? With aspirations to diversify the media industry, Nadia Sasso ’14G and her partner have worked towards a solution. In this talk, Sasso will discuss the development of Blaytorbox — an app dedicated to helping brands discover and hire vetted Black creators.

Sasso, who earned a Ph.D. from Cornell University, is a high-powered, creative cultural producer and unconventional scholar based in Los Angeles. Sasso's expertise is developing engaging creative content and driving strategy across various platforms and media. She has 10 years of relevant professional experience, with documented success in the areas of social innovation, strategic partnerships, and new media.

Watch the recording on YouTube

Social Media TestDrive

Education for the Digital Age

In this talk, Dominic DiFranzo shared Social Media TestDrive, a platform he helped design and build, which offers a number of modules about key digital citizenship topics for middle school students.

DiFranzo is an assistant professor of computer science and engineering at Lehigh University. His research in human-computer interaction translates established social science theories into design interventions that encourage social media users to stand up to cyberbullies, fact check fake news stories, and engage in other prosocial actions.

Watch the recording on YouTube

The Different Versions of Chinese Censorship

Presented by Thomas Chen, Ph.D.

Thomas Chen is an assistant professor of Chinese in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Lehigh University. His research focuses on modern and contemporary Chinese literature and film. He’s taught courses at Lehigh on Chinese Creative Writing, Chinese Film in the World, Modern Chinese Civilization, and Letters from China, to name a few. His book Made in Censorship: The Tiananmen Movement in Chinese Literature and Film has just been published by Columbia University Press.

Watch the recording on YouTube

The Building Blocks of a Vision, with Renee Washington ’16G

In this Mountain Talk, Renee Washington ’16G, motivational speaker, entrepreneur, and author, provided guidance and motivation to attendees interested in building their own business.

Washington is a digital and social content creator with the WNBA. She is a former analyst and reporter with ESPN. In December of 2020, she launched the organization "Planted, Not Buried," which is focused on providing a supportive, inspiring network for professionals.

We are pleased to feature this event during Soaring Together: A Celebration of Lehigh Women and 50 years of coeducation at Lehigh.

Watch the recording on YouTube

Revisiting The “Problem of Coeducation” Fifty Years Later

History of Women at Lehigh, with Special Collections

This presentation by University Archivist Ilhan Citak and Humanities Librarian Heather Simoneau will celebrate and examine the 50th anniversary of undergraduate female education, also called coeducation, at Lehigh. Anniversaries are times of both celebration and reflection. In this session, we will introduce a selection of the many historical resources publicly available through Lehigh University’s Special Collections. The presentation will be followed by a conversation reflecting on the attendees’ experiences attending a coeducational Lehigh.

The audience is encouraged to share their memories of their time at Lehigh. Time will be reserved at the end for attendees to ask questions and learn how to discover and use Lehigh’s historical collection that is preserved in the digital archives, including film and other audio-visual resources.

Watch the recording on YouTube

Immigration History with Emily Pope-Obeda

Emily Pope-Obeda, assistant professor of history in the College of Arts and Sciences discusses the history of immigration policy, with an emphasis on exclusion, deportation, and border policy.

Throughout its history, the United States has been defined and redefined through immigration, but it has also been shaped by persistent efforts to restrict those allowed to remain in the country — often around lines of race, class, religion, gender and sexuality, political ideology, and foreign relations. This conversation will briefly cover some of the major historical developments in immigration policy since the late 19th century and explore some of the ways these policies have impacted different groups, been debated, and shaped our contemporary immigration landscape.

We are pleased to feature this event during Soaring Together: A Celebration of Lehigh Women and 50 years of coeducation at Lehigh.

Watch a Recording on YouTube

Engineering Orthopaedic Care with Hannah Dailey ’02 ’06G ’08 Ph.D.

In addition to her work at Lehigh, Dailey is also an entrepreneur, cofounder, and CSO of a start-up orthopaedic device company based in Ireland.

Join Hannah Dailey ’02 ’06G ’08 Ph.D., assistant professor of mechanical engineering and mechanics in the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science, to learn more about how engineers can impact orthopaedic care. 

Her team at Lehigh is currently using mechanical engineering simulation techniques to measure bone healing in patients who have had leg fractures. The goal of this work is to diagnose problems with bone healing earlier, so orthopaedic surgeons will know which patients might benefit most from interventions to get them back on their feet sooner. They are also studying the effects of comorbidities like cigarette smoking on bone healing and are developing precision analytics that could change the design of future clinical trials. Dailey received an NSF CAREER award in 2020 for her research.

We are pleased to feature this event during Soaring Together: A Celebration of Lehigh Women and 50 years of coeducation at Lehigh.

Watch a Recording on YouTube

Supporting Gender Equity at Lehigh and Beyond with the Center for Gender Equity

The Center for Gender Equity at Lehigh is celebrating its 30th Anniversary this month.

It began in 1991 with the establishment of the Women’s Center and was renamed the Center for Gender Equity in 2017. The center provides faculty, staff, students, and alumni with the tools needed to build a gender equitable and socially just world.

Rita Jones, center director; Michelina Beaumont ’22, current student assistant; and Tainairy Ortiz ’19 share some small steps anyone can take to support gender equity. Jones discussed the mission and teachings of the center, while Beaumont and Ortiz provide examples of how they apply the skills they learned to their everyday life as students and alumni.

We are pleased to feature this event during Soaring Together: A Celebration of Lehigh Women and 50 years of coeducation at Lehigh.

Watch a Recording on YouTube

LGBTQ Community Archives Project with Mary Foltz

Kick-start Pride Month.

The Lehigh Alumni Pride Association presented a Mountain Talk to discuss the important role small, local communities play in activism with Mary Foltz, associate professor of English and director of the South Side Initiative.

Foltz was recently awarded a Scholars and Society Fellowship by the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) to collaborate with regional LGBTQ organizations to build their archival collections and produce lectures, academic articles, and social media programming.

Watch a Recording on YouTube

Using Population Health Data to Inform Pandemic Policy with Fathima Wakeel

The COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on, and further deepened, existing health inequities at the community, state, and national levels.

In the Lehigh Valley, Fathima Wakeel, associate professor in Lehigh’s College of Health, is leading an interdisciplinary team of Lehigh researchers in a study that seeks to determine the physical and mental health impacts of the pandemic on the valley’s most vulnerable populations.

Wakeel hopes that, through data storytelling, the study will help to inform public policy and programs to improve lives and prepare future responses to epidemics at the local and national levels. 

Learn more about the study, its expected impacts, and the challenges of conducting a study during a pandemic.

We are pleased to feature this event during Soaring Together: A Celebration of Lehigh Women and 50 years of coeducation at Lehigh.

Watch a Recording on YouTube

The Business Model Canvas — a Primer with Joshua Ehrig '02 '03G '08G and Jamie Flinchbaugh ’94

Whether you are a CEO or a solopreneur, work in a massive organization or a tiny start-up, strategic thinking is likely an important capability. 

The Business Model Canvas is a vital strategic tool used by many Fortune 500 companies, start-ups, and top-ranked business schools to promote strategy and innovation in organizations. It is a simple, applicable way to develop your or your team’s strategic thinking.

This spring, Joshua Ehrig ’02 ’03G ’08G, professor of practice in the department of management at Lehigh University, and Jamie Flinchbaugh ’94, entrepreneur, lean advisor, board member, speaker, and author, will teach Creating and Executing Strategy: The Business Model Canvas, an online learning program through Lehigh's Vistex Institute for Executive Learning & Research. 

Watch their discussion on the upcoming program, learn the nine components of the Business Model Canvas, and the importance of pivots within the organization.  

Watch a Recording on YouTube

Navigating a Career Through a Pandemic with Bill Glenn ’80 ’81G

Are you truly unhappy with your career, or is it just pandemic fatigue?

Watch this talk with Bill Glenn ’80 ’81G, chairman of Crenshaw Associates, to identify the right questions to ask yourself before making a career change, and leave with strategies and resources to utilize as support during this time. Joining Glenn is Chris Nadherny, an executive advisor and mentor with Crenshaw Associates. Nadherny is a former partner and practice leader with Spencer Stuart, a leading global executive search firm, and author of the book The Proactive Executive.

Crenshaw Associates is a career coaching service partner with Lehigh’s Career & Professional Development (CCPD) alumni coaching program. Read more about Crenshaw Associates and the CCPD career coaching program.

Watch a Recording on YouTube

Picturing Wellness with Lehigh University Art Galleries (LUAG)

Wellness is often described as a dynamic relationship between mind, body, and spirit.

In the era of COVID-19, we are also confronting additional layers of social and biological entanglement that contribute to our collective sense of health and safety. Picturing “wellness” takes on many forms and often exists in tension-changing bodies: growing, confronting illness, or adapting to change.  

Lehigh University Art Galleries (LUAG) Director William B. Crow; Curator of Education Stacie Brennan; and Curator of Exhibition and Collections Mark Wonsidler explored works from the current exhibition Well, Well, Well: Picturing Wellness in the LUAG Collection and ask the question: What might it look like to be well?

Watch a Recording on YouTube

The Pursuit (and the Hard Truths) of Happiness with Naomi Rothman and Khanjan Mehta

This talk by Naomi Rothman, associate professor of management and organizational behavior, and Khanjan Mehta, vice provost for creative inquiry, focused on the question that all of us are constantly trying to answer — especially during this ongoing global pandemic — what is the secret to happiness?

What this talk uncovers is that there is not one secret and the answers are both more obvious and more difficult than we think. The pressure to find happiness is often what leads to greater stress, uncertainty, and unhappiness.

This talk also introduces the Sustainable Happiness Institute (SHI), a new program to be launched by the Office of Creative Inquiry in January 2021. This is a three-week program for Lehigh students that will take a five-pronged approach to helping them find their pathway to happiness. The program will encompass global "megatrends," sustainable development, social innovation, the science of happiness, and life coaching. SHI is an immersive, hands-on, hearts-on adventure where students leverage these areas of study to imagine, conceptualize, and pursue practical actions toward alternative happy futures.

Watch a Recording on YouTube

Strategic Planning in the Time of COVID-19 with Marc Barone '90G

As the COVID-19 pandemic lingers, businesses worldwide are facing tough decisions when it comes to reopening offices.

How can business leaders create insight to make the correct strategic choices? Marc Barone ’90G, chief executive, Continental Europe at AECOM, has been driving AECOM’s reopening plan in Continental Europe. Marc’s approach to a strategic reopening plan relies on evaluating local data and working closely with in-country teams to evaluate strategic choices in the overarching context to keep AECOM staff. Dealing with an issue as complex as the response to the pandemic requires curiosity, creativity, and the ability to listen and digest data and opinions from multiple sources to gain insight that informs strategic choices.

Marc discussed the challenges he has faced in driving a global reopening plan, the tools and approaches he has used to move his strategy forward, and some surprising insights — like an increase in productivity as a result of working from home — that he and his team considered in developing their plan.

Watch a recording on YouTube

A History of the Lehigh Lafayette Rivalry with Special Collections Archivists

This presentation by Special Collections archivists includes highlights of the 136-year-old Lehigh-Lafayette Rivalry.

The presentation explores facts and fiction, turning points, new and old traditions from pajama parades to bonfires, Spirit Week, and much more. The audience was encouraged to share their memories of the Rivalry, both on and off the field. Learn how to discover and use Lehigh’s athletics historical collection that is preserved in the digital archives, including football programs, the Epitome, The South Mountaineer, and The Brown and White.

Watch a Recording on YouTube

Doing Democracy: a Virtual Tour with LUAG

What does it look like to do democracy?

Lehigh University Art Galleries (LUAG) Director William B. Crow; Curator of Education Stacie Brennan; and Curator, Exhibition and Collections, Mark Wonsidler, hosted a virtual tour of the LUAG exhibit, Doing Democracy: Photography from the George Stephanopoulos Collection. This exhibition explores the unfolding process of American democracy through an array of photographs, gifted to Lehigh University by George Stephanopoulos, that shine a light on significant events of the 20th century and the present.

This exhibition has been co-curated with students and faculty from the departments of history; political science; communication; journalism; and art, architecture, and design.

Watch the recording on YouTube

The Age of Hamilton... Eliza Hamilton, That Is -- with Monica Najar

Lin Manuel Miranda’s musical "Hamilton" offers an extraordinary look into the politics of the age of the American Revolution and the early United States.

In the musical, Angelica Schuyler slyly sings of the Declaration of Independence, “When I meet Thomas Jefferson, I’m a’ compel him to include women in the sequel.” She did meet Thomas Jefferson. And many women of the age were deeply involved in the politics of the founding, in ways we may not have learned about when we were in school.

Monica Najar, associate professor of history, commemorates 100 years of women's suffrage and explores women’s politics in the age of the founding. We discussed how some women were able to get access to the room where it happened and the diverse roles they played in the founding and politics of the early United States.

Watch the recording on YouTube

Challenging the Cancel Culture Narrative, with Anthony DiMaggio

Discourse on the cancel culture is pervasive, particularly when it comes to academia.

Universities are increasingly viewed as hotbeds of intolerance today, and many critics of the cancel culture pine for what they consider the status quo of the past.

Anthony DiMaggio, associate professor of political science explored how the cancel culture is discussed in popular discourse, why he thinks the emerging narrative is wrong when it comes to the charges being made against academia, and how those highlighting the dangers of the cancel culture romanticize the past.

Watch the recording on YouTube

Creating the Environment for Courageous Inclusion — a Primer, with Donald Outing

In the wake of the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, individuals and organizations are actively looking for guidance in how to respond to racial injustice in their own ranks and their broader communities.

The ability to leave one’s comfort zone is essential for leadership development. For years, Dr. Outing has provided similar interactive programs to organizations and government agencies. He is now offering a virtual version for professionals interested in driving change in their organization or community. His discussion focuses on learning about the ways to move beyond the boundaries of traditional diversity and inclusion practices to create a truly inclusive, equitable, and just organization, neighborhood, or community.

Watch the recording on YouTube

COVID-19 Vaccine Production: From Complicated to Coordinated with Jim Robinson '82 '84G

James (Jim) Robinson ’82 ’84G is using his wealth of biopharma experience to assist in the development and production of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Robinson is the scientific advisory board vice-chair for the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI) and principal of James Robinson Biologics Consulting. His expertise in vaccine production is the result of a career that has included over 30 years at Sanofi Pasteur, Novavax, and Merck, developing and manufacturing vaccines, including vaccines for epidemic use for Asian avian influenza A (H5N1), swine flu (H1N1), SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV), and Ebola. Now, he is assisting CEPI with its mission to accelerate COVID-19 vaccine candidates that have the potential to be developed rapidly and manufactured globally at scale.

Watch the recording on YouTube

Lehigh Innovators Alliance Presents Will Mayo’s Founder Story

“Alexa, what's my flash briefing?” “Hey Google, talk to AccuWeather Daily.”

Voice assistants have created a huge opportunity for brands and publishers to reach audiences in new ways. Will Mayo ’08 ’10G has been a pioneer in this industry since its inception and is the founder and chief strategy officer of SpokenLayer, which has built the technology platform powering short-form digital audio production, distribution, and monetization for the modern voice ecosystem.

Will and his board chair and investor, Bob Bausmith ’81, discussed Will's biggest challenges and defining moments — including some key Lehigh connections — on his journey from engineer to entrepreneur.

This Mountain Talk was presented in partnership with the Lehigh Innovators Alliance.

Watch the recording on YouTube

The Psychology Behind Health-related Decisions with Jessecae Marsh

In this talk, Professor Marsh discusses the psychology behind some of the decisions we are making related to our health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jessecae Marsh, associate professor of psychology and director of the Health, Medicine, and Society program, studies decision making. More precisely, her research lab investigates how people’s beliefs influence the way they reason and make decisions, including how experts and laypeople make health decisions.

We are pleased to feature this event during Soaring Together: A Celebration of Lehigh Women and 50 years of coeducation at Lehigh.

Motivating Children to Read During Quarantine and Beyond with Brook Sawyer

Parents and teachers know how important it is for children to read on a daily basis.

Yet, it can be a challenge to find ways to motivate kids to read, especially during the summer. With the rapid switch to online learning, children are already off schedule and may need extra motivation to keep them reading. Brook Sawyer, associate professor, program director of the Teacher Education Program, shared tips and strategies to motivate children to read now — and over the summer — so they are prepared for the next school year.

his Mountain Talk is part of Lehigh's College of Education series, bringing expertise and advice to teachers, parents, and caregivers during COVID-19.

Additional Resource: Motivating Children to Read (Google Doc)

Watch a Recording on YouTube

How Lehigh Shifted to Remote Learning in Four Days with Greg Reihman

When the need to go fully remote arose, Lehigh was prepared.

Workshops, pedagogical models, instructional technology software, and day-to-day support helped Lehigh faculty transition over 1,000 in-person classes to online in just four days. Greg Reihman, vice provost for Library and Technology Services and director of Lehigh's Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning, discussed the transition and how things are going today.

Watch the Recording on YouTube

Helping Kids, Caregivers, and Teachers Cope During COVID-19 Changes

Dr. Christopher Liang, associate professor and chair, department of education and human services discusses the challenges learning from home has presented, and what resources and tools kids, caregivers, and teachers can use as we navigate through this time. To access the resources shown on the talk, follow these links:

English

Spanish

Watch the recording on YouTube

Working from Home — Strategies to Succeed with Sacha Connor ’00

As the concern over COVID-19 spreads

Many companies are using remote work as a key tool within their business continuity plan; however, many employees have never worked fully remotely before, nor have many leaders led remote teams.

Sacha Connor ’00, founder of Virtual Work Insider, equips leaders and employees with some foundational knowledge to get themselves remote-ready quickly so they can keep productivity high, while still taking care of themselves and their families.

Watch the recording on YouTube

5 Tips to Help Your Business Survive Coronavirus with Brett Smith

Brett Smith, director of the Lehigh University Small Business Development Center, shares advice and resources in five areas that business owners should look into when navigating through the coronavirus crisis.

Watch the recording on YouTube

Career Resources During COVID-19 with CCPD

If you find yourself in uncertain times due to COVID-19...

Join Lehigh's Alumni Relations and Center for Career & Professional Development to learn the resources and strategies to support your career pursuits. Speakers Emily Golden ’99, executive and career coach and Karen Kuczynski, director of career education presented an overview and Q&A session.

View CCPD resources for Lehigh Alumni

Join Lehigh Connects

Watch the recording on YouTube

How Teachers Can Harness Online Learning for Immediate Impact with Farah Vallera

Online learning does not need to be considered less impactful than traditional, face-to-face learning.

The best online experiences are those that are motivating, flexible, realistic, supportive, collaborative, and replicate in-person activity. Students working in online environments often feel disconnected from the community. As interactive and real-time experiences continue to evolve online, teachers are able to create environments that allow students to be both self-directed and group-oriented. Join us live with Farah Vallera, professor of practice in instructional technology and teacher education programs, to hear and see what teachers can do to engage their students in community-building and authentic learning experiences. Plus, see some tools and technologies that can encourage that engagement.

Additional Resource: Instructional Design Online Transition (Google Doc)

This Mountain Talk is part of Lehigh's College of Education series, bringing expertise and advice to teachers, parents, and caregivers during COVID-19.

Watch the recording on YouTube

Social and Emotional Wellness for Families during COVID-19 with Susan Woodhouse

Parenting during COVID-19 is hard.

The pandemic has forced mothers to give birth in isolation, work-life balance has been shattered, and children are missing friends and family. Susan Woodhouse, associate professor for the Counseling Psychology Program, shared her research on “good enough” parenting, as well as strategies to foster social and emotional wellness in our families.

This Mountain Talk is part of Lehigh's College of Education series, bringing expertise and advice to teachers, parents, and caregivers during COVID-19.

Watch a Recording on YouTube

ADHD Youth Under Quarantine: Tips for Learning and Caring with George DuPaul

George DuPaul, professor of school psychology, shared behavioral strategies teachers and parents can use to help children and teens with ADHD cope and learn while under quarantine.

This Mountain Talk is part of Lehigh's College of Education series, bringing expertise and advice to teachers, parents, and caregivers during COVID-19.

Watch the recording on YouTube

Financial Management During Market Turmoil with Seth Finkel ’80

The COVID-19 pandemic has many people concerned about the current and future states of their financial investments.

Seth Finkel ’80, managing director, Neuberger Berman Wealth Management, discussed some of the biggest concerns facing individuals and their wealth management, how he is approaching this challenge with his clients, and what you might want to consider in your own financial planning.

Seth, a board member of Lehigh’s Center for Financial Services, has been rated among the top financial advisors by various financial media: In 2020, he was ranked 22nd in the country on the Barron’s Top 100 Financial Advisors list and 6th in New York State on the Barron’s 2020 Top 1,200 Financial Advisors State by State list. Additionally, in 2019 Seth was ranked #7 in America on Barron's Top 100 Independent Financial Advisors.

Watch the recording on YouTube