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March 07th 2016:Building an Inspiring Learning Environment: Lehigh's Mountaintop Experience

While there is still far to go in the transformation of higher ed, there are plenty of universities that are paving the way with innovative programs and initiatives. Lehigh University's Mountaintop is one of those programs. Mountaintop was developed to be a unique learning environment in which students are given the freedom to pursue answers to open-ended questions while working on projects across all disciplines. Big Beacon Radio host Dave Goldberg is joined by Lehigh's Alan Snyder, Sarah Stanlick, Michael Spear, as well as recent Lehigh graduate and Mountaintop participant, Shannon Varcoe. J

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Alan Snyder

Alan Snyder, who has led development of Lehigh’s Mountaintop initiative, is Vice President and Associate Provost for Research and Graduate Studies at Lehigh University. A bioengineer by training, his research career focused on organ replacement, and included theoretical work, hardware and embedded software, design for use by both professional caregivers and lay people, and patient care. That work, in which what happened at the bedside shaped the content of research in the lab, provided him with a particular perspective on the relationship between university research and human needs and aspirations, and on environments that bridged practical concerns with basic research as foundation for gr
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Shannon Varcoe

Shannon Varcoe graduated from Lehigh University in 2015 with a B.S. Integrated Degree in Engineering Arts and Sciences (IDEAS) with concentrations in Mechanical Engineering and Product Design. She is currently pursuing a Master’s of Engineering in Technical Entrepreneurship, also at Lehigh. Shannon was a member of the first cohort of students in the LaunchBayC accelerator through the Mountaintop Experience summer research program. At Mountaintop, she focused on developing the business around a wooden building toy she invented. Shannon wants to empower kids of all ages to recognize their creative problem solving and intellectual potential through well-designed products and toys that develop
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Michael Spear

Michael Spear is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Lehigh University. His research focuses on simplifying the task of writing correct concurrent software, so that programmers can take advantage of the features of modern multicore microprocessors. Mike's teaching includes a pre-major course in video game design, undergraduate courses in computer architecture and operating systems, and a graduate course in parallel computing. His Computer Science outreach connects with students from kindergarten through high school. He co-organizes the Lehigh Hackathon, a weekday event where students "cut class to build something great", and is leading a revision of Lehigh's Computer Science c
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Dr. Sarah Stanlick

Dr. Sarah Stanlick is the founding director of Lehigh University’s Center for Community Engagement and a professor of practice in Sociology and Anthropology. She previously taught at Centenary College of New Jersey and was a researcher at Harvard’s Kennedy School, assisting the US Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power. She has published in journals such as /The Social Studies/ and the /Journal of Global Citizenship and Equity Education/. She has presented research in various arenas including the International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement (IARSLCE) annual meeting, the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) conference, and Pathways
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