LTS 5x10s: Reaching out to First Year Students

You are here

This year LTS offered five 5x10 sessions to First Year Students as part of the 5x10 series sponsored by the Student Affairs Office of First Year Experience. The goal of these sessions was to introduce students to topics broadly associated with LTS services.

What’s so special about Special Collections?

On Friday, August 26th over 120 first-year students visited the Bayer Galleria over the course of three hours to explore a selection of Special Collections material drawn from Lehigh history, literature, science and technology, and travel and exploration. Highlights included a first edition of Sherlock Holmes, cuneiform tablets, a pin from the Brooklyn Bridge, and an eighteenth-century map of Pennsylvania. The 5x10 Campus Resource Track, entitled "Creative Curiosity", was designed to introduce students to some of Lehigh's undiscovered resources. The Sumerian cuneiform tablets were a consistent student favorite, though they were described variously as “The stones with the writings,” “4,000 year old ‘books’ (rocks),” and simply “old tablets.” Other items of interest were maps from various historical periods, with which one student enjoyed “seeing where I lived on old PA map” dating to 1775.

The Lost Forest of Lehigh

The Lost Forest is an experimental tree plantation, part of a 1909 conservation project spearheaded by Lehigh’s first biologist, Robert W. Hall. The Sayre Park tree plot was lost to time but rediscovered by EES faculty member Robert Booth (read about it in the 2011 Alumni Bulletin article). Librarian Stacey Kimmel-Smith and biology graduate student Robert Mason led a Lost Forest tour of nearly fifty students and some staff. Students learned about this fascinating part of Lehigh’s history as well as documents in the Digital Library that relate to the forest. Robert Mason introduced students to current research being conducted in the forest as well as sharing some forestry techniques such as tree coring.

Undergraduates do research!

This session highlighted undergraduate research at Lehigh and featured a panel of six undergraduate students. Each student related his/her experiences in the lab and the library. Panelists Hugh Bartlett, Miles Davis, Ally Fraser, Michelle Fedun, and Casey Ching each presented on their involvement in historical, sociocultural, engineering, and biochemical research. Student researchers talked about:
  • When to start thinking about doing research (earlier the better!)
  • How to find a faculty mentor
  • Finding a research topic
  • Working with graduate students
  • How research changed their perspective on their chosen discipline.
  • What if you don’t like it? (It’s not for everyone)
  • While each panelist brought a unique perspective on the research experience, they were unified in their enthusiasm and the feeling that it helped them develop both personally and professionally.


    Students got up close and personal with historic writings -- a time when people actually put pen to paper! -- and used a crowdsourcing transcription tool to transcribe writings into the digital realm. Writings of Marie Curie, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, Alexander Hamilton, John Quincy Adams, and others were transcribed to a web publishing platform for museums and libraries called Omeka. Utilizing the simplicity of a wiki, the Scripto plugin for Omeka allowed the students to log in and collaboratively generate transcriptions. This allowed students to collectively arrive at the most accurate interpretation possible of each letter, as some handwriting samples were significantly less legible than others. The students in attendance learned the value of preserving both physical and digital copies of historically important documents by having the opportunity to inspect the physical handwritten letters before transcribing them through the web interface.

    Identity Management

    Six students gathered with Colin Foley in the CITL Seminar Room on Tuesday, October 25th for one of the last offered 5x10 sessions: #whoAmI-online. They explored the concept of online identity, data breaches, phishing, and assumptions they might hold about online service providers. Some of the questions they discussed were:

  • How do you approach sharing information online?
  • Where are all the places you share information about yourself online?
  • How do photos online represent you?
  • What could happen if someone were able to gain access to your email account?
  • What is phishing and how can you identify a phishing message?
  • The students benefited from the opportunity to explore these ideas and develop a better understanding of this timely topic.