Lehigh University
Lehigh University


Indulging in intellectual curiousity

Upon graduation, Mario Delgado '11 would like to pursue a career in residential architecture or urban planning.

“Engaging, interactive, unique” are the three words that Mario Delgado ’11 uses to describe Lehigh’s South Mountain College (SMC), an interdisciplinary academic program within the College of Arts and Sciences.

When the Cincinnati native was in the process of applying to college, he knew he wanted a school that offered an alternative learning experience in addition to a standard curriculum. Once accepted early decision to Lehigh and SMC, Delgado knew he found the perfect fit.

SMC is a residential academic community that allows students of all majors to cross disciplines and indulge many of their intellectual curiosities. Students take about one-third of their credits in SMC, while the remaining time is devoted to a major in a traditional discipline and free electives.

Each semester, students are given an overarching theme on which to focus and the options are endless from there. Students are actively involved in structuring the courses and designing their own paths of study. In addition to the curriculum and a unique set of activities, the program offers a dedicated residence where discussions can transpire outside the classroom.

“South Mountain brings the excitement out of the classroom,” says Delgado. “Students become so immersed in the classes that our discussions often extend beyond dinnertime. Living together is one of the best aspects of the program; it allows us to strengthen our interpersonal ties within the community.”

Delgado was so inspired during his first year in the program that he selected a new major based on his experience. Initially, Delgado selected international relations as his major, he credits SMC’s faculty in helping him realize his untapped passion for architecture.

“I was exposed to such a vast range of topics during my first year that I was constantly discovering potential and interests I never knew I had,” he says.

During Delgado’s first year in the program, students were involved in several projects including: creating a documentary about Bethlehem Steel’s contributions to the Lehigh Valley community, constructing a map using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software, and developing a board game where participants enact political struggles. With assistance from professors and Library and Technology Services, Delgado, who chose to work on the GIS mapping assignment, refined his project to be a specific map of trade from the Bethlehem Steel Company.

Upon graduation, Delgado would like to pursue a career in residential architecture or urban planning.

For more information on South Mountain College, visit www.lehigh.edu/smc.

--Ilana Rachel Bornstein

Photo by Ryan Hulvat

Posted on Tuesday, October 21, 2008

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