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Governor's School to continue at Lehigh

The Iacocca Institute at Lehigh University recently announced that the popular Governor’s School program will continue this summer—under a new name—despite the recent cut in the state budget of all Pennsylvania’s eight Governor’s Schools.

The Pennsylvania School for Global Entrepreneurship will be conducted through the Iacocca Institute from June 28 through August 1, 2009. The five-week program will still include the same basic elements of core courses, focus courses, international and local business speakers, field trips and business consulting projects.

Trisha Alexy, Iacocca Institute program director, said her office had only one month to come up with a plan to save the prestigious program, which has provided a unique experiential learning experience to hundreds of high school students (ages 16 to 18) since the program began in 2001.

“Most of the other Governor’s Schools all folded after the state announced the funding cuts,” she said. “The administration of Lehigh University has been extremely supportive, offering to underwrite a portion of the $3,880 cost per student to bring the total cost to $2,950, which will include all tuition, housing, food, in-program transportation, field trips and activities for the five-week program.”

Alexy said that at least 50 Pennsylvania students will be selected to join the summer 2009 program.

Last week, Pennsylvania Governor’s School for Global Entrepreneurship program applicants received a letter explaining the new cost structure fee due to the state budget cuts, Alexy said.

“Although disappointed in the budget cuts for gifted education in the state, the parental response to Lehigh University has been overwhelming and positive,” she added. “I have received many emails from parents who appreciate the commitment Lehigh University has made to continue the program and offer the opportunity to the gifted students of Pennsylvania.”

In continuing that commitment, the Iacocca Institute is currently fundraising to support a few scholarships for rural and urban students who cannot afford the opportunity.

The program is the only former Governor’s School that includes international students from all regions of the world to live and study with the Pennsylvania students, Alexy says. In 2008, the program was attended by students from Jordan, Israel, Antigua-Barbuda, Ghana, Greece, Denmark, Mexico, Kuwait, Panama, Ukraine, Spain and South Korea.

Students also interact with local businesses to develop a project that serves to educate the students and serve a need of the organization and company, as well as the broader community.

Over the course of the five-week program, teams of six students dedicate roughly 190 hours to develop a marketing plan, research plan or business plan. Students deliver a written report and PowerPoint presentation to the business during the final week of the program outlining the team’s research findings, recommendations and work.

Past partner companies include Just Born, JF Magic LLC, Current Concepts, Rodale, Inc., United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, St. Luke’s Hospital and Health Network, CF Martin and Co., the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation, PPL Corporation, the City of Bethlehem, Maranatha Broadcasting Co., and PBS39 WLVT.

FuMiko Green, co-owner of JF Magic, a fiber optic technology design company located in Bethlehem, said she found the work of the students to be extremely valuable to her company.

“The students do exceptional work,” Green said. “The report completed last year can be compared to any of the analysis done by some of the professional market research companies...in some cases, better."

Alexy said that the new global economy “requires that Pennsylvania students learn to apply knowledge in creative ways, work ethically, develop leadership skills, communicate, network, think critically, adapt, collaborate and have knowledge of the culturally diverse environment in order to compete in the world market.

“The Pennsylvania School for Global Entrepreneurship fulfills the need of providing the experiential, educational model needed for innovation and global competitiveness for Pennsylvania,” she said.

Students who are accepted into the Global Entrepreneurship program must show a desire to develop their knowledge of entrepreneurship through an essay, must submit transcripts, PSAT/SAT scores, class rank, and recommendations from two teachers and a guidance counselor. Students accepted into the program average 1250 (Math and Verbal) SAT scores, are ranked in the top percent of their class, and are recommended as “the best of the best.”

For more information, email Trisha Alexy, Iacocca Institute program director, at tsa2@lehigh.edu.


Posted on Sunday, March 22, 2009

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