Inquiry to Impact Projects

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What are Inquiry to Impact Projects?

Inquiry to Impact Projects pursue creative and innovative answers to societal challenges and open-ended questions in multidisciplinary teams with students, faculty, and external partners. These multi-semester projects span the journey from creative inquiry to sustainable impact. Students develop their competencies for independent inquiry and discovery, multidisciplinary teamwork, design thinking, entrepreneurial thinking, systems thinking, and getting stuff done.

Spring 2021 Inquiry to Impact Projects

To join a project, contact the faculty mentor directly to express your interest.

Get inspired! Past Inquiry to Impact Projects

Causes of River Meandering
River meandering has been attributed to the erosion and deposition of sediments along river banks, yet the cause of the instability has not been identified. This project showed that meandering is driven by an adverse pressure gradient, so the resulting deceleration imposed upon the fluid causes it to divert to either side of its original direction. Faculty Mentors: Dork Sahagian and Panos Diplas
Forging Ahead through Engineering Leadership
Erwin and Ludwig Loewy changed the world with their engineering innovations in metal forming. This project developed an interactive exhibit to maximize understanding of the Loewys technical accomplishments. Utilized the Loewy archives at Lehigh, a visit to where forging presses are still in operation, and partnership with the National Museum of Industrial History in Bethlehem. Faculty Mentors: Scott Garrigan and Wojtek Misiolek
The Neurogenetics of Creativity
Exploring the genetic underpinnings of differences between individuals, and introducing proteins into genetic animals to test whether mutant versions can restore functioning as well as normal versions. This project can explain why some have difficulty overcoming traumas and fears, and ultimately help to maximize potential and allow people to live their most creative lives. Faculty Mentors: Julie Miwa and Frank Zhang
Parent-Child Communication Coding
This project developed a coding scheme to capture the quality of parent-child communication in video during an 8-minute conversation between mothers and children. The goal was to find differences in language use and non-verbal communication strategies across ethnically diverse high-risk mother-child pairs. The coding scheme was made available to other researchers who do work on ethnically diverse families. Faculty Mentor: Debbie Laible
Pop-Up Parklets
How can we develop and design simple urban spaces to build community and increase quality of life? This project built on the Parklet movement by designing and installing inexpensive Parklets at two locations in Bethlehem, testing their effectiveness, and planning ways to replicate the project at other locations throughout the city. Faculty Mentor: Karen Beck Pooley
Using Social Media to Promote Diversity at Lehigh
Low-income communities in the Lehigh Valley perceive Lehigh University as detached from its socioeconomic environment. This project evaluated the merits of this narrative, employing a survey tool administered online and face-to-face through community partners. Results informed the University’s leadership and its Path to Prominence.. Also developed a website for first-gen students at Lehigh to share their stories. Faculty Mentor: Luis Brunstein
Collaborative Localization and Mapping with Robots
This project focused on Visual Localization and Mapping of autonomous robots (quadcopter drones). The teams developed basic algorithms and software packages using a Robot Operating System to collect visual samples and perform object classification, verifying their work through flying robot experimentation. Senior team members developed more advanced machine learning algorithms. Faculty Mentor: Nader Motee
Charting a Path Toward More Inclusive Economics
This project interrogated entrepreneurship through the prism of gender, race, and sexual identities in the Bethlehem business community. It explored challenges faced by businesses owned by women, people of color, LGBTQ people and their allies, and solutions to implement to help work through those challenges. Faculty Mentors: Monica Najar, Rita Jones, Jackie Krasas
HearMyCl: Patient Customized Cochlear Implant Simulation App
This project focused on creating and developing an app for “translating” cochlear implants from young children to their caregivers. Their goal in summer 2019 was to complete product development and develop an applied research plan for HearMyCl. Students worked with stakeholders to gain input into how HearMyCl can best be implemented. Faculty Mentors: Michael Burger, Susan Perry, Brooke Sawyer
Gender in Silicon Valley
Silicon Valley is a nexus of issues around gender equality, socioeconomic status, power dynamics in the workplace, and free speech. This project explored those issues, talked to subject experts, and determined possible solutions.