A Bold Move West
Lehigh took a big step forward in January with the opening of the Lehigh@NasdaqCenter (L@NC) in San Francisco, which was created in partnership with the nonprofit Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center. The announcement came four months after Lehigh opened its Western Regional Office in San Mateo, California.
“The L@NC is about providing unique experiences for Lehigh students and faculty on the West Coast, connecting them with alumni and external partners in the entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem of Silicon Valley, and inspiring new ideas that lead to action and impact,” said Samantha Dewalt, managing director at the L@NC.
Through guest lectures that are provided remotely from the L@NC, students on the Bethlehem campus have access to founders and executives of innovative companies who can help provide new insights and shape future career aspirations, whether students choose to start a new venture or promote innovation within an existing organization, Dewalt said.
For example, Nicola Corzine, executive director of the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center, will deliver a remote guest lecture on financing new ventures as part of an entrepreneurship class being taught by William Forster, associate professor of management at Lehigh. Also, a Women in Tech course provides interactive video conferencing between female technology leaders in Silicon Valley and students on campus in Bethlehem.
Students also have opportunities to participate in immersive learning experiences. As LehighSiliconValley enters its seventh year in 2018, more than 50 students will travel to San Francisco in early January to begin a three-credit course at the L@NC. There, they will experience a highly charged “live-case” learning environment that focuses on real companies, players and situations. Michael B. Imerman, assistant professor of finance, will lead a fintech track, one of three tracks being offered. Students will meet with experts, tour spaces and begin to learn how to apply lessons to their own entrepreneurial journey. Additional immersion programs are in the works for 2018, including a summer global entrepreneurship internship program.
The L@NC also works closely with the Western Regional Office, which is working to provide opportunities for students to intern with companies or secure full-time positions, as well as engage alumni and help faculty connect to research opportunities.
“The L@NC is a natural extension of the academic experience and the innovation happening on campus in Bethlehem,” Dewalt said.
“Everything we’re doing connects back to campus. ... Our role is to enable the university and its students, faculty and alumni to leverage the L@NC as a platform for innovation and engagement.”