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Lehigh partners with local businesses to offer unique educational experience

Amidst the hype over school drug testing, school violence and negative perceptions of teens, an interesting, yet often overlooked, breed of young go-getters is rising above the stereotyping and charging headlong into the future.

Over the next five weeks, five high school juniors will create a web site for a popular non-profit organization, five will create a product based on market research for REDA Sports, and five will go to Just Born to design a national consumer promotion for confection favorites, Mike and Ike. These are just a few examples of the experiences offered to a group of highly motivated 15 to 17-year-olds through Lehigh University’s Governor’s School for Global Entrepreneurship.

Lehigh, through the Iacocca Institute, is one of eight Pennsylvania colleges to participate in the Governor’s Schools of Excellence. Each institution offers a different specialized area of study, including the arts, health care, international studies, general sciences, information technology, and teaching. The function of the Global Entrepreneurship program is to expose students interested in pursuing advanced study in business and entrepreneurship to various industry practices and set them on their career path. With over 300 applications, Lehigh’s Global Entrepreneurship was the most popular as well as the most competitive among the seven academic programs offered in Pennsylvania this year.

The purpose of these five-week summer programs is to give artistically and academically talented high school juniors an opportunity to fully explore their major field of interest prior to entering into college. The residential programs are often funded by the state and feature college level courses, internships, guest lecturers and artists, and educational field trips.

The program runs from Sunday, June 30 until Saturday, August 3 and will involve 43 Pennsylvania students, and 11 international students. All participants have met the rigorous admissions requirements and were approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Pennsylvania Governor’s School and Lehigh. During their stay, the students will take part in intensive internships with participating members of the Bethlehem business community.

The entrepreneurial partners for this year are the City of Bethlehem, DBSi, Dream Kids, The Dubbs Company, FASTNET Corp., Good Schools Pennsylvania, Just Born Inc., Pennsylvania Youth Theatre, REDA Sports Inc., St. Luke’s Hospital, and United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley.

"I am very impressed with the kids in this program," says Matthew Pye of Just Born, Inc who was involved in last year’s program. When asked to participate again this year, Pye says, his company enthusiastically accepted the offer.

"The recommendations they made for the marketing of our ‘Zours’ product were used and yielded great success," says Pye. "We are looking forward to working on this year’s Mike and Ike project with the group."

In addition to their internships and a demanding course schedule, students will participate in educational trips each Tuesday. Destinations include the Federal Reserve Bank in Philadelphia, the Pocono’s Camelback/Camelbeach resort for a lesson in tourism, and a visit to Harrisburg on July 9. The program will also feature a Government Leader’s Panel discussion, held on Lehigh’s campus on Friday, July 12, giving students the opportunity to interact with government officials.

This year’s program will also feature lectures given by local entrepreneurial leaders. These lectures will give the students an opportunity to talk openly to accomplished members of the Lehigh Valley business community about their visions, goals and concerns about pursuing a career in business. Among the experts are Kal Shastri, Entrepreneurial Consultant; Bill Bachenburg, DBSi; R. Chadwick Paul, Ben Franklin Technology Center; Mike Gausling, Orasure; Fred Beste, Mid-Atlantic Venture Fund; Dave Lobach, Embassy Bank; Sam Torrance, Just Born; Steve Hurley, FASTNET; and Lehigh President, Gregory Farrington.

Governor’s Schools of Excellence have a strong national reputation for helping young adults actualize their dreams and set attainable goals for their futures. Currently, 22 states participate in the programs, which are hosted by globally recognized colleges and universities. Through several of these programs, the students work alongside local and national businesses as well as profit and non-profit organizations.

For more information, contact Laurie Gostley-Hackett at x86886.


Kristen Gardiner
Khg2@lehigh.edu

Posted on Wednesday, July 10, 2002

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