Lehigh in Mumbai

Cheryl Matherly, vice president and vice provost for international affairs, addresses prospective students at a Building Futures Workshop in Mumbai.

Lehigh Hosts Prospective Student Event in Mumbai

The Building Futures Workshop is first of its type held in India.

Photography by

Jenny Foto Shoppe

Lehigh officials met with college counselors and rising high school seniors from across India during a recent event in Mumbai, providing information about Lehigh and opportunities to study here, while also hosting interactive sessions focused on enhancing the students’ entrepreneurial abilities, innovative thinking and problem-solving skills.

The Building Futures Workshop, held at Taj Lands End in Mumbai on June 13-14, was the first event of its type held in India. It continued Lehigh’s ongoing efforts to deepen its engagement in India, with an emphasis on Indian student recruitment, academic partnerships and research collaborations.

“When we say a Lehigh for all, we mean that,” said Cheryl Matherly, vice president and vice provost for international affairs. “We are a campus where all of our community members belong.”

Dan Warner

Dan Warner, vice provost for admissions and financial aid, helped to host a variety of sessions, discussions and workshops.

Matherly and Dan Warner, vice provost for admissions and financial aid, and other Lehigh officials hosted a variety of sessions, discussions and workshops during the two-day event, highlighting such topics as college admissions in the United States, financial aid and scholarships, fostering an entrepreneurial vision, and inspiring ideas that positively impact communities and institutions.

During remarks at the event, Matherly noted that the first Indian student enrolled at Lehigh in 1956. Today, India is the third-largest country of origin for Lehigh international undergraduate students, and the second-largest for graduate students.

Lehigh has established partnerships with several Indian institutions, including Ashoka University, IIT Bombay, IIT Kharagpur, OP Jindal, SRM University, and VIT Bhopal. These collaborations aim to facilitate student exchange programs, cross-institutional research and entrepreneurial opportunities, Matherly said.

“The United States and India have long-standing bilateral ties, with education being a strong pillar,” Matherly said. “At Lehigh, we strive to build on these ties through collaborations with Indian institutions to encourage student exchange programs and cross-institutional research opportunities. Initiatives like these are crucial in helping students achieve their academic and personal goals.”

The event sessions included an admissions mock application review with counselors serving as admissions officers, and a Global Entrepreneurial Leader Workshop hosted by Willy Das, research scientist and curriculum innovation manager at Lehigh@NasdaqCenter, that helped students develop entrepreneurial mindset and leadership skills and pitch their ideas to a panel that included Pratheek Palanethra ‘16G, who appeared on Shark Tank India.

Another session was Uniquely Lehigh, at which students heard about several signature Lehigh programs such as the United Nations Partnership, Iacocca International Internship Program, Lehigh@NasdaqCenter, the Office of Creative Inquiry and other interdisciplinary, inter-collegiate and experiential learning opportunities.

propsective students in Mumbai

Prospective students heard directly from current Lehigh students about their educational pursuits and why they chose Lehigh.

Professor Anand Ramamurthi, chair of Lehigh’s Department of Bioengineering, and Saif Mir, assistant professor in the Department of Decision and Technology Analytics, represented faculty during the event. Ramamurthi discussed three Lehigh strengths: accessibility, research and opportunities for career and professional development.

The event included a panel discussion with current Lehigh students from India, so prospective students were able to hear directly from them about their educational pursuits, why they chose Lehigh, and what it’s like to attend Lehigh as an international student. The panelists suggested talking to professors early and taking advantage of resources such as tutoring in Lehigh’s Center for Academic Success.

“The nice thing about Lehigh is you have a place to belong, and a community,” said Rob Suerth, senior assistant director of admissions. “Think outside of the box. Be collaborative. Be creative. And work with others on campus.”

Lehigh 101 introduced attendees to Lehigh’s five colleges, as well as its majors and programs, including interdisciplinary studies. Also discussed were Lehigh’s demographics, its holistic admissions approach, clubs and ways to be involved in research and programs, Lehigh traditions and more.

Keynote remarks were delivered by Palanethra, who earned a M.Eng. in technical entrepreneurship. During his time at Lehigh, Palanethra and a fellow classmate founded freebowler, which provides cricket’s first non-electric and portable ball thrower, a product unlike any on the market.

“Lehigh has given me the platform to be where I am,” Palanethra said. “... Be diligent in what you want to pursue. There are a lot of opportunities for you to explore what you want to do. Do your homework and have a conversation with yourself about your areas of passion.”

Palanethra asked the attendees a question that had previously been posed to him by Michael Lehman, director of mechanical engineering. in Technical Entrepreneurship at Lehigh: What would you do in life if you had everything taken care of?

“What are you passionate about? There lies your answer,” Palanethra said. “Maybe not everyone here will be an entrepreneur, but Lehigh University brings you that entrepreneurial mindset. We all have potential. Once I knew I could be entrepreneurial, I knew I could bring that spirit everywhere I go.”

Warner said: “We want to be a part of making the future of higher education better. Together we can do more.”

Story by Colin McEvoy

Read more stories on the Lehigh News Center.

Photography by

Jenny Foto Shoppe

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