Project Models

The MDHI provides grants for undergraduate research projects, community partnership projects, course development and off-site training. 

The MDHI is proud to have supported the following projects during the 2017-2018 grant year:

Undergraduate Research Grants:

The Making of Sketchlehem
Ashley Omoma
Content type: Documentary Short
What is Sketchlehem? How do class differentiations play out in the social lives of Lehigh
students? These are the questions at the center of this film. The Making of Sketchlehem: A Perspective on Class Differentiations from Below the Hill, aims to focus on how class differences have developed between Lehigh University and the South Bethlehem community and how such class differences are sustained through the use of terminology and ideology such as Sketchlehem, a term frequently used by Lehigh students.  You can view the documentary here
Issue With Health Care
Name: Jamal Connelly, Jamir Connelly, Francis Akoto, 
Content type: Documentary Short 
This project’s goal was to create dialogue between Lehigh University students and the South Bethlehem community about pressing social issues.  Students conducted interviews with community members and Lehigh students and faculty about the topic of Healthcare and they assembled a documentary short focused on issues with Health Care. 
Voices of South Bethlehem: Capturing the Political Climate in 2017
Austin Katz
Content Type:  Audio-visual documentation, podcast
This project interviewed South Bethlehem’s diverse community residents to document their perspectives on American politics in a tumultuous time.  Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish which are being compiled into a podcast.

Community Partner Grants:

VOICES: Faces of Homelessness and Poverty in the Lehigh Valley
Ziad Munson
Partner: New Bethany Ministry
Content type: Documentary Short and Oral History 
This project created  a documentary film based on oral history interviews with clients and staff at the social service organization New Bethany Ministries.  The goal of this project was to highlight the diversity and voice of those who suffer from homelessness, hunger, and poverty in Bethlehem’s Southside. There is significant work being done to understand the social conditions that produce these problems as well as advocacy for policies that will help ameliorate them. But amidst this work, pervasive social misconceptions about the homeless, impoverished, and hungry remain. Their stories are more diverse, more complicated, more dignified, and more important than they are commonly given credit for.
Veterans Empathy Project
Evan Reibsome
Content type:  Digital Archive of Oral Histories employing the Oral History Metadata Synchronizer (OHMS)
Partner: The Veteran's Empathy Project
The Veterans Empathy Project (VEP) is an oral history database created by John Pettegrew. It serves three functions. 1. VEP provides local veterans with a platform to share experiences and stories from their military service. This democratizes the history-making process, allowing veterans to claim ownership over their stories and offer counter-narratives to mass-media, pop culture war narratives. 2. At a time when the gap between the military and civilian communities is the largest it’s ever been, VEP provides a space for civilians to engage with veterans. Whether the stories that participants share affirm or discredit popular notions of war, the interviews requires viewers to reassess their own presuppositions surrounding the military and its members. 3. VEP is intended as an educational tool for teachers. It is a research database that high school and college students can access to become more familiar with the human cost of America’s most recent wars.  You can view the website here
Democratic Policing
Holona Ochs
Content type: Documentary Short
Partners: various voluntary community focus groups
This project explored important and timely questions such as: How do officers perceive their mission and duties in accordance with the law? Do they perceive a need to apply different types of policing to different types of communities (e.g., urban/suburban/rural, SES, race/ethnicity)? Do they perceive mental health to be a significant issue, and if so, how do they understand it in relation to their mission and duties as police officers in the community? How does the public perceive the mission and duties of police officers? They conducted more than 43 officer interviews and 32 interviews of members of discrete, diverse communities in the Valley.
To see their short documentary on their work click here.
Digitizing WWII
Scott Gordon
Content type: Digital Archive
Partner:  Bethlehem Area Public Library
In collaboration with the Bethlehem Area Public Library, I propose a project which will result in a unique and important digital archive of historical materials held in BAPL’s collection. This project will exemplify the Mellon Digital Humanities Initiative’s stated goals of bringing together undergraduate research, digital tools, and community engagement. Working with the library and an undergraduate student, we will edit, refine, and newly publish a digital archive of historical materials, including thousands of articles from BAPL’s Bethlehem Globe-Times newspaper index and a rich collection of materials related to World War II.  You can see the digital archive here.

Course Development Grants

Building Community Bridges: Collaborative Design for a Pedestrian Bridge across the Lehigh River
Anthony Viscardi 
Partners: Lehigh Valley Sierra Club and the City of Bethlehem Planning Department
This Community Design Studio included students from multiple disciplines, including art, architecture, design and engineering, who worked collaboratively with community organizations and citizens to design a pedestrian and bike bridge over the Lehigh River.  In order to adequately consider the impact and dimensions of a pedestrian bridge, students surveyed the river corridor using a camera drone  technology, enabled through MDHI funding. 
Food, Facts, and Fantasy: Using digital media to turn ideas into action
Breena Holland
Partner: Lehigh Valley Social Impact Center
Content type: Wiki and Documentary 
This grant enabled deep collaboration between Lehigh Undergraduate Students and members of the community involved with the Lehigh Valley Social Impact Center.  Through a series of public co-organized events, students collaborated on the creation of a local wiki with information about all the non-profit organizations interested in addressing climate change.  Additionally, this grant funded a documentary video on the project.
Development of e-portfolio use for undergraduate students
Jennifer Swann
This course development grant had an impact University wide and supported the effort to encourage students to develop the skills to archive, reflect, and present academic accomplishments through a digital online e-portfolio.  The Academic Advising Center partnered on this grant to create a series of instructional videos and peer advisor-led workshops designed to help students and faculty (1) better understand the benefits of e-portfolios and (2) learn how to create an e-portfolio. This is not a new course but instead, the project will reaches across campus into  first-year courses including, first-year seminars and first-year English courses. 
Following the Drinking Gourd: How Natural Features Shaped the Underground Railroad
Joan Ramage
Content type: Digital Mapping and Story Mapping
The Underground Railroad was a human network that helped slaves to escape to freedom and (relative) safety in the 19th Century. In addition to the extensive human networks, there were natural factors that helped runaway slaves to navigate the environment and influenced their routes.  This course utilized historic records, narratives, stories, maps and other geospatial data, to understand the roles of natural landscape features such as rivers, caves, Appalachian Mountains, etc.)in this important part of US history. The course will be discussion based and will involve creating and working with geographic information systems (GIS) and other digital and storytelling tools.  Link to the final map coming soon.
Heritage Management in Emmaus
David Small
Partner: 1803 House
This course created an interactive website with information from the 1803 House in Emmaus and its associated excavation of a pre-1800 log cabin. The website  provides an active public platform for the dissemination of information from the house and the excavation to the larger Emmaus community.  Link to the interactive site coming soon.
Philosophy and Technology Course Development Grant: Course Visit to 'Ready Player One'
Greg Reihman
Content type: Pedagogy related to Visualization and Virtual Reality
Students in this course studied how new technologies are changing how we think about traditional questions of philosophy, specifically about ethics and metaphysics. One focus is on Virtual Reality. Students have been engaging in and reflecting on VR experiences in the new CITL Visualization Studio and reading academic articles reflecting on virtual reality. To supplement this work, we read Eric Cline's "Ready Player One" and attended a screening of the film the weekend of its release.
Digital Writing & Multimodal Composition Online Resource Center
Brooke Rollins
Content type: Website
The purpose of the project is to create an online resource center for university writing instructors who hope to bring digital writing and multimodal composing practices into first-year writing courses. Drawing on recent research from the field of composition studies, the site provides instructors with a pedagogical rationale for incorporating digital writing practices into the traditional university writing classroom. This course encourages students to; connect meaningfully with and build on their self-sponsored literacies;
sharpen their information literacy skills; develop their rhetorical capacities by choosing from among what Aristotle called the “available means of persuasion” to reach different audiences. View the website for multimodal composition (English II) here
British Romanticism and Digital Humanities
Elizabeth Dolan 
Content type:  Story map
This new 300-level class at Lehigh, British Romanticism and Digital Humanities addresses three different digital approaches to this literary field—the textual archive, the digital map, and the public-facing, social-media based literary event. Student  study the digital “products,” by engaging in depth with their content, learn from Skype talks with the creators of these digital innovations in Romanticism, and contribute content to a public-facing digital humanities project and to a digital map. 
View the Digital Story Map here

The MDHI is proud to have supported the following projects during the 2016-2017 grant year:

Undergraduate Research Grants:

Interrelations Between Media and Site of Memory in Ghana
Ashley Omoma
Content type: Documentary photography, audio, and 360 degree filming
This project focused on documenting sites of memory in Ghana and using those materials to teach high school students in Bethlehem about their connections to the African disapora and the legacies of slavery. The visual representation highlighted the connection between the continent of Africa to the town of Bethlehem.

Community Partner Grants:

Reclaiming the Past, Inventing the Future: A Local History Lens to Citizenship Preparation
Tom Hammond
Partner: Building 21, Allentown School District
Content type: Digital mapping
Lehigh undergraduate students used historical reserach and digital mapping tools to design and develop and a series of innovative socio-historical investigations for use at Allentown School District's Building 21 school. 

VAST (Valley Against Sex Trafficking)-­ Lehigh University  Digital Storytelling and Public Scholarship Community Partnership
Sarah Stanlick
Partner: Valley Against Sex-Trafficking (VAST)
Content type: Digital audiovisual production and editing
Through this grant, Lehigh undergraduate studetns worked to create digital vignettes and training materials for VAST that are used with providers, clients, volunteers and students. Additionally, the project will organized two arts events designed to raise awareness about sex trafficking in the Lehigh Valley .

Cultural Place-Making Through the Arts
John Pettegrew
Partner: Doug Roysdon, Anna Russell and Avi Setton
Content type: Oral history interviews
This project conducted interviews with Bethlehem artists about the role that that artists and arts supporters to the economic and cultural vibrancy of Bethlehem. These interviews will be used at a later stage to create a documentary film about the role of the arts in the revitalization of Bethlehem.

Southsider: Lehigh Students Promoting Arts & Culture in Bethlehems South Side
Mary Foltz
Content type: Website
Partner: various Arts & Culture organizations, the South side Initiative
The South Side Initiative developed a website, Southsider, to document, promote, and collaborate with cultural organizations, artists, and community patrons on the South Side.  As a cultural news and events outlet, Southsider site offers reportage on film, visual arts, music, and theatrical events.  This collaborative news site fosters public reflection upon the power of local arts and allows for increased communication between University artists, community artists, and audiences across the town/gown divide. You can view the Southsider here.  
Arts and Culture in the Public Realm
Karen Beck-Pooley
Content type: Public art influenced by digital data collection
This Urban Environmental Policy class commissioned two murals and created a temporary lighting display on the Greenway , launched a parklet initiative that produced 8 pop-up parklets in the summer of 2017 and that is on-going.  They incorporated digital tools for surveys to ask community members for input on the design of these projects.  
Building Queer Community through Literary, Library, and Digital Resources 
Chelsea Fullerton
Partners: Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center, the Pride Center, and the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program
Content Model: Digital Archive and Catalogue
Through this grant, Lehigh students, staff and faculty collaborated with the Bradbury Sullivan center to update Bradbury-Sullivan library resources and archives through digital archiving support.  Additionally, grant recipients created a interlibrary loan system between Bradbury-Sullivan and Pride Center libraries, they Produced & released promotional videos for Bradbury-Sullivan library and held a Queer memoir reading group.

Course Development Grants

Bethlehem and Beyond
Scott Gordon
This new course for first-year students teaches students about a Moravian community that was located just north of Bethlehem, called Christian’s Spring. Students build off of previous student work about Christian's Spring ( by conducting new research and using this digital platform to communicate what they will learn about the built environment of Christian’s Spring, about the people who lived and worked there, and about the labor and learning that constituted the community’s purpose.

WGSS 001: Expanding Community Engagement in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Curriculum
Suzanne Edwards
Through this grant, Professor Edwards added a community engagement component to the introductory course in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) program. The course now includes an activism project, and the grant was used to develop a digital database for communication with community partner organizations for current and future collaboration with WGSS faculty and students. 

Archaeological Field School
Cameron Wesson
This modified course used cutting edge technology like drones to communicate the research being done in an archaeological dig in Scotland. The focus of this grant was to disseminate the course findings to much larger audiences by presenting the real-time progress of the expedition via a dedicated course website featuring photographs, videos, blogs, as well as 3D scans of landforms, excavations, and individual artifacts.

Journey From the East: Chinese Bridge at Lehigh
Dong-Ning Wang and Kiri Lee
This modified course incorporated digital storytelling, expanding on a previous courses by developing and digitizing content about the local Chinese community, emphasizing connections between Lehigh and China, and documenting and dramatizing the footprints of the Chinese Diaspora in Bethlehem for over a century. 

Black Lives Matter and the Future of Race
Chad Kautzer
This grant helped incorporate a social media and digital activism component into a first-year Seminar Philosophy course.  Additionally, the grant allowed for the subject of a film about racism and police brutality, Alex Landrau to offer a visiting lecture at Lehigh University and to speak about his experience successfully suing the Denver Police department after he was brutally beaten by Police officers.  This is the topic of the film “Traffic Stop” which was also screened on Lehigh’s campus.
Curating the Past in Bethlehem
Alison Kanosky and Cory Fischer-Hoffman
This course introduced first year Seminar students at Lehigh University to Bethlehem’s rich history.  Through this grant students visited the National Museum of Industrial History, took a tour led by the Steelworkers’ Archives, attended a tour of the South Bethlehem African Methodist Episcopal Church organized by the South Side Initiative. Students also engaged with the Historic Bethlehem audio tour of the Moravian quarter of the North Side, and we want to pay two experts of local history an honorarium for speaking to our class.  As a final project, each student built a web “panel” as a part of a collectively curated digital exhibit. To view their class website on Bethlehem Steel, please click here.  

The MDHI is proud to have supported the following projects during the 2015-2016 grant year:

Undergraduate Research Grants:

Southside Stories
Sonja Gorman, Brett Lay and McKenzie Otus
Content type: Oral histories and digital storytelling
This project aimed to create a digital forum to share the stories of members of the Southside community, including residents, local business owners, and members of the Lehigh community. Students collected stories of residents through photography, interviews, and short videos that capture the story each individual would like to share. The students created a photo gallery and hosted an open-mic style community event to celebrate the stories of all past and future participants in our project. This project draws from the work and model of a 2015 Mountaintop Project, “Bethlehem Unbound,” but with a new team of students and a new focus on the digital platform for sharing the stories. View their website here.

Developing Digital And Visual Media for Community Feedback on South Bethlehem’s Western Gateway Plan
Julie (Tru) Taylor
Content type: Visualization and digital methods for community feedback
This project developed interactive maps, streetscapes and other graphical images conveying existing land use patterns and proposed projects in the western gateway area of South Bethlehem. These digital and visual materials are used for soliciting additional citizen input on the Western Gateway Plan at public events (celebrations, festivals, etc.) to gather information about resident perspectives on the kinds of development they want. The interactive visual maps, streetscapes, and other graphical will help citizens to envision what a meaningful built environment looks like to them by indicating the kinds of services and amenities they would value in their community.

Chronicling the Outsider Perspective on the Moravian Bethlehem Community
Patrick Zager and Elizabeth Cornell
Content type: Interactive website and timeline (visualization)
This project analyzed literature written about and influenced by the Bethlehem Moravian community, ranging from the eighteenth-century to present day. A primary focus of the work was to compare and contrast the authors’ works, and their perspective on the community. The students aimed to build an interactive digital website with a timeline charting these different written works.

Move Your Feet
Min Jun Kim, Kris Datta, Chris Zadra
Content type: Documentary film and virtual reality visualizations
This is a video/documentation project about dance culture in Bethlehem. The final project was an immersive, curated space that engaged participants to experience dance through many mediums in an effort to tell the story about the relationship between our community and dance.
View one of the videos created by the Move Your Feet team here

Brown and Whiteboard
Sam Waldorf, Royce Kok, Jenna Smalley
Content type: Gathering community feedback, documentary photography, social media and website development
This project engaged with the South Side community about their vision for the future of Bethlehem by asking passerby to illustrate their ideas for what the city could become. Students stood on the sidewalk near various points of proposed development with a whiteboard, to ask passerby to draw what kind of development they would like to see. A final symposium will be open to the community to show the variety of ideas people presented in their illustrations.
View the Brown and Whiteboard project website here and their group's Facebook page here

Digitizing South Bethlehem Outdoor Art Installations
Jooyoung (Toby) Lee
Content type: Digital map, walking tour
This project created a digital map and walking tour of public art works in South Bethlehem. The student photographed a variety of public art works, researched them, and created a digital map containing photographs and information about each art work.
View the public art map here

Community Partner Grants:

Women of Bethlehem Steel
Julia Maserjian and Seth Moglen
Community Partner: Steel Workers’ Archives and Bethlehem Area Public Library
Content type: Oral histories and digital archive
This project created a digital archive specifically chronicling women’s experiences as workers at one of the largest steel companies in America, Bethlehem Steel. These stories are underrepresented in archives and are an important part of the history of gendered employment practices and workers’ rights in the United States. The project migrated existing digital oral histories into a more robust framework and collect new oral histories and photographs. The oral histories are hosted within an existing site, Lehigh’s Beyond Steel: An Archive of Lehigh Valley Industry and Culture. To collect more oral histories, the researchers will held  a storytelling event.
View the Women of Bethlehem Steel archive here.

Girl Scouts Digital Storytelling Patch Program
Natasha Vermaak and Emily Sechrist
Community Partner: Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania
Content type: Digital storytelling and podcast
This project worked to develop a podcast program and digital podcast archive for a new Girl Scout badge that integrates digital storytelling with scientific inquiry. A collaborative GSEP-Lehigh University 1-day Patch Earning Program will be held at Lehigh in the spring of 2016. Girl Scouts visited a research group to interview the people involved and see live demonstrations. The Girl Scouts took audio recording throughout the process and they edited the content to tell the story of their excitement, wonder, surprise, discovery, and learning throughout the experience. They used the tools of storytelling and sound design and production to create a fun and informative podcast of their experience (3-5 minute length). They shared their podcast and what they’ve learned with the patch earning group, their troops, friends, families, and the greater online community. Podcasts will be collected in an online digital archive.
Listen to the podcast they created here

Creating Digital Content for a Diverse Community
James Peterson
Partner: PBS39
Content type: Digital audiovisual production, editing and broadcasting
This project employed graduate and undergraduate students to work directly with producers and cinematographers at PBS39 in order to produce a series of digital “interstitials” – short, digital audiovisual segments -- each designed to localize and commemorate important month-long celebrations of diversity and identity.  The students collaborated with professionals at PBS to produce one interstitial each for Latin American Heritage Month, Black History Month, and Women’s History Month. Watch the interstitials that the students made below:
Hispanic Heritage Month
Black History Month – 16th Street Baptist Church
Black History Month – Emmett Till
Women’s History Month

The Red Badge of Service: Military Obligation in Modern American Culture
John Pettegrew and Evan Reibsome
Content type: Oral history interviews
This project brought veterans from the community  together in a reading group to engage with one another about popular conceptions surrounding the military such as duty, masculinity, heroism, sacrifice, patriotism, adventure, and fear. The veteran participants contributed oral histories to The Veteran's Empathy Project. Partners include Thomas Applebauch of the Lehigh County VA.

Course Development Grants:

Video Blogging at the Alehouse Cinema
Michael Kramp
Students in this Introduction to Film class attended film screenings at the Frank Banko Alehouse Cinema on the South Side of Bethlehem, then analyze the films and create video blogs that review each film. The video blogs were shown by the Alehouse Cinema as previews for the screenings at the cinema. Partner: Frank Banko Alehouse Cinema.
View the students videoblogs here

Art 52/196
Anna Chupa
Professor Chupa used an MDHI course development grant to bring renowned photojournalist John Isaac to provide a 5-day residency at Lehigh, to provide instruction for her students in community documentary photography.

Public Access for Historic Exhibitions: Digitizing the Scrapbooks of the Lehigh Art Gallery, 1928-1940
Nicholas Sawicki
In his Advanced Seminar in Art History, Professor Nick Sawicki's students researched a series of hand-assembled scrapbooks produced at Lehigh University between 1928-1940. These scrapbooks documented exhibitions at the Lehigh Art Gallery, which was the first public art gallery in the city of Bethlehem, playing an important role in gathering community members together in Bethlehem's past. Sawicki's class set out to digitize these scrapbooks to make them publicly accessible on a micro-site hosted by the Lehigh Digital Library initiative.


The following examples are some previous projects undertaken at Lehigh that incorporated digital humanities and community engagement. While these projects were not sponsored through the Mellon grant, they embody the spirit of the MDHI’s objectives of drawing together digital technology and community collaboration.

Beyond Steel Digital Archive 

by John Kenley Smith, Julia Maserjian, Friends of the Lehigh Libraries. This site digitized letters, books, photographs and oral histories following the area’s industrial boom in the mid-19th century and the later decline of heavy industry.” (2007) Additionally, the site hosts a mapping project of early 20th century residents and businesses in Bethlehem.

Still Looking for You

This digital project explores the history of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania through the memories of the many people who have worked in, lived in, or visited the city. The project was created by Jessica Aberle, Colin Foley, Annie Johnson, Julia Maserjian, Scott Rutzmoser and Rob Weidman.

Student Documentary videos 

Students from Documentary Video classes taught by John Pettegrew and Julia Maserjian class produced documentary videos. Student projects included films featuring a former steelworker’s reflections on the rise and fall of Bethlehem Steel (2007), urban renewal in the South Side of Bethlehem (2008), on immigration to the South Side (2008), barriers to fresh, affordable food in the South Side of Bethlehem (2011), and an examination of labor relations at Bethlehem Steel and the Sands Casino (2013).

Bethlehem Unbound: Storytelling, Beyond the Book 

This project, undertaken through the Mountaintop Initiative, was conducted by three students--Juan Palacio Moreno, Elijah Ohrt and Margaret Kelly-- who worked under the supervision of Mary Foltz, Sarah Stanlick and David Fine. Students explored the role that storytelling plays in a community’s social and political life.