Lehigh Valley Social Impact Fellows are a highly self-selected cohort of undergraduate and graduate students from all disciplines across Lehigh University, focused on addressing social and economic development challenges in south Bethlehem and the Lehigh Valley region. LVSIFs advance multi-year Inquiry to Impact (I2I) projects with local partners through Creative Inquiry (CINQ) courses for a total of six credits (three each semester). The courses, workshops, retreats, and immersive experiences of this program integrate experiential learning, research, and entrepreneurial engagement with students leading original and ambitious projects with partners around the region. A select number of LVSIFs will have the opportunity to participate in the Mountaintop Summer Experience to accelerate their project.
Through engaging in such meaningful, authentic, and incredibly alive projects, Fellows develop skillsets, mindsets, and portfolios to address complex societal challenges. Fellows build sustainable enterprises, publish their works in peer-reviewed journals, integrate their insights into local and national policies, and champion social movements that influence lives and livelihoods in Lehigh Valley. The quest for sustainable impact drives the philosophy, pedagogy, and operations of this program with the objective of preparing students to lead lives of impact.
Program Benefits: What’s In It for Me?
1. An opportunity to work collaboratively with the most driven students from across the university on ambitious multi-year projects striving to deliver social impact.
2. Work across disciplines, cultures, language and time barriers to develop practical, innovative, and sustainable solutions with committed local partners.
3. Engage in fieldwork with faculty mentors with decades of experience conducting research, designing solutions, and building systems in low-resource communities.
4. Conduct original research and get your work published in journals and conference proceedings. Travel to conferences to present your work and build your professional network.
5. Develop your life skills and build life-long friendships with peers at Lehigh and with some amazing people in our community.
6. Distinguish yourself and become more competitive for prestigious fellowships and awards, graduate / professional schools, or that dream job.
7. Impact! Conducting research, developing and effecting policy solutions, and jumpstarting social enterprises is incredibly difficult but also deeply rewarding.
Lehigh Valley Social Impact Fellowship Logistics***Unless marked as optional, LVSIFs are expected to participate in all courses, seminars, and workshops. No exceptions.
- CINQ 388: Inquiry to Impact Workshop Series [1 Credit]: Weekly hands-on workshops and interactive seminars for all Fellows across all the LVSIF projects.
- CINQ 389: Inquiry to Impact Projects [2-6 Credits]: Separate sections for each project team. The team typically meets with the faculty mentor once a week; all project work is done outside of regular class times.
- All full-day workshops will be held on weekends or holidays; meals will be provided.
- Each team has the option of having a two-person team take a deep dive into the project for the Mountaintop Summer Experience. Additional students might be funded depending on project needs and availability of funds.
• We don’t expect applicants to know how to do these things. Just come prepared to learn.
• Certain skills matter and are needed, but what we are looking for is passion, deep commitment, and work ethic. GPAs don’t matter...much.
• You should have the time in your academic and personal schedule for this commitment - don't do it just to do it.