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Projects / Lehigh University Iacocca Interns and Mountaintop Project – Summer 2016

Lehigh University Iacocca Interns and Mountaintop Project – Summer 2016

2016 Lehigh University Interns arrive in Prague

Lehigh University Iacocca Interns and Mountaintop Project – Summer 2016


This is the third consecutive year that Inclusio o.p.s has partnered with Lehigh University. The NGO invited four student interns to Prague this year, but in past years the numbers have varied between four and five. Students are able to explore the challenges of social exclusion for the Roma in the Czech Republic. This opportunity is made possible through the Iacocca Internship Program. Throughout their trip, they will explore the barriers to inclusion for minorities in the Czech society and brainstorm possible approaches to improve the educational equity in order to execute one calculated action by the end of the program. The interns are Kira Gobes, Minh Nguyen, Prarthna Johri, and Emma Stevenson. Two graduate students, Tamique Ridgard M.Ed. and Petrina Davidson M.S., and the director of the project Christine Novak Ph.D. are with the interns to facilitate discussions and oversee the trip. The students are paired with three NGOs to assist them in their work and to learn about critical social issues. Minh is working with Open Society, Prarthna is partnered with Romea, and Emma and Kira are assigned to Inclusio o.p.s..

The internship in the Czech Republic is six weeks long, but unlike previous years, a collaborative project is going on with a team of four students in the United States. The second project is funded through the Mountaintop Initiative at Lehigh University, which allows students from all disciplines to explore and innovate while focusing on a subject they are passionate about.  The project extends the intern’s work for four extra weeks in the United States. Both teams combined call themselves CADRE3, standing for Calculated Actions to Deliver Racial and Ethnic Equity in Education. The team focuses on educational inequities in the United States and the Czech Republic. The end goal is to have one calculated action for each group that improves equity in education. The teams of students have diverse backgrounds from disciplines from the College of Business and Economics, College of Engineering, College of Arts and Sciences, and College of Education at Lehigh University. Pulling from different perspectives allows the team to think in an innovative way and challenges the students to bring their knowledge together.

Going into the fourth week of the main project and the second week in the Czech Republic, the teams have already gained a strong background of the inequities that exist in both countries through trips, research, interviews, and fieldwork. The teams hope to conclude the project with sustainable and effective actions that will have a positive impact on the education for minority and socially excluded children. It is the general opinion that with focus, determination, and creativity, the teams will be successful in creating a plan for action. The collaboration with the United States enhances the project by offering comparative views in two countries. There are high expectations for the students and unbounded opportunities to be discovered through their ten-week experience.

CADRE3 is keeping a blog with posts from the United States and the Czech Republic, which can be found here.

Follow Inclusio o.p.s. on Facebook

Project supports the American Center in Prague

Information about Iacocca Internships

Information about Mountaintop