Blog Post 4

  1. *Based on your life experience, skills and interests, what would a design process that is both uniquely yours and effective look like? (Roy)


The design process that I have used in the past involved working backward from the idea itself. That way, it has always been easy to lay up a plan and develop a step by step execution. A measurable and implementable idea is the first step. From then on, the question is, who will participate in this idea given that it is implemented? This question looks at consumers or customers to the end product of the idea. After answering this question, I would then move a step back to question just how exactly I can deliver the product to the same customers/consumers or how I can get the prospect participants to gain awareness of this product. This requires figuring out the marketing strategies like advertisement and possible distribution points of the product. After reaching a certain number of possible outlets, the next question would be to look at potential, influential people to buy into this idea and then later up develop a team with certain traits and share the same vision for the possibility of this idea. The last step would be then the actual development of the product and part of it entails analyzing the costs of production and potential mark up price for the product. At that point, at least a strategy is laid out with certain contingencies and flexibility for dynamics that might alter the original strategy.


  1. *Identify your three most important stakeholders and list five UNIQUE attributes for each one of them. (Conner)

1. Possible Sickle Cell Patients in Sierra Leone

  • They are the direct recipients of our work
  • However, some may be unreceptive to the device and Western medicine
  • They have the greatest need for our product
  • Possible Sickle Cell patients and their families do not have the resources to pay for alternative solutions
  • Their feedback will be crucial towards the project’s success

2. World Hope 

  • Our creation of the test strips also aligns with their main mission of providing and protecting those who are under-served.
  • We are not the only group who is working through the World Hope Organization or in Sierra Leone
  • Working through World Hope allows us to give hope to others
  • World Hope can give us connections in Sierra Leone 
  • Their connections can help to improve the design, implementation and efficacy of our product

3. Lehigh University

  • As Lehigh students, we have a unique opportunity to display the Lehigh brand
  • Also, as students, we have to handle ourselves professionally domestically and in Sierra Leone
  • Lehigh is one of our funding sources and an organization we have to answer to
  • They will receive part of the research’s prestige
  • Lehigh faculty and teammates will supply us with technical knowledge for our product


  1. *Identify three ways in which you will validate your project concept, technology, usability, and business model. (Tiffany)

In order to ensure that the diagnostic device will be in optimal use for low and middle-income countries (LMICs), the team will build partnerships and connections with World Hope International and Lehigh Valley hospital to receive feedback from medical experts on the operational aspects of the device, and learn how to address implementation challenges. By considering these context-specific frameworks for the diagnostic device, together with integrating the Sierra Leone local’s knowledge to guarantee a functioning device, these factors will indicate an overall validation of our project. This is especially significant when validation is given from the locals of Sierra Leone themselves because they are the ones who will be utilizing the device and will incorporate value in the device. The people’s acceptance is the ultimate goal because the technology can be promoted to be amazing and all, but will have no worth unless the acceptance of the device is established. Therefore, another process of validating our project is educating the public about the device’s concept and usability. To do so, every patient must fill out forms that consist of the process of the diagnosis, background information of Sickle Cell Anemia, explanation of risks, waiver of liability and a signature to signify consent. Patients who are still unsure can under-go a walk-through with the assisting health provider to visualize the process first-hand. The goal is to have patients understand what they are being tested for, why it is important to be diagnosed and where they could receive immediate treatment if tested positive of the Sickle Cell trait.


  1. Give three examples of something very interesting you learned from a friend that was a completely alien concept to you.

In college, I met my girlfriend, who was born in the United States, but the rest of her family was born in Brazil. I took 10 years before college, so I thought the language and culture would be similar to the Spanish equivalents. However, I soon learned it was completely disparate. Her grandmother only speaks Portuguese, so she has tutored me in conversational Portuguese so I can interact with her. Through her and her family, I have also learned about common characteristics of Brazilians, like being late to gatherings and Braizilian food, like pão de queijo and Churrascos. Secondly, in high school, I joined a robotics team sophomore year. I was more interested in design and construction, but the team needed a second coder. I have always been receptive to trying new things, so I obliged in helping. The main coder, Alex, taught me Java, my computer language. Since then, I have enjoyed coding as a hobby. I am now a Teacher’s Assistant for ENGR 010 and can code in C++, Java and MATLab. Finally, I worked on a research project in high school. I was working on a project involving generating energy through the kinetic energy generated by a Hippo Roller and was not good at circuitry. My mentor, Rudy, an electrical engineer by trade, taught me a lot about basic circuitry, soldering and more for my project.

Blog Post 3

  1. List the top 20 questions your team needs to answer to advance the venture forward.


  • We are able to diagnose Sickle Cell Anemia, so what? 
    • What makes our research so important?
  • How can we implement our project, so that it stays relevant?
    • Is there a way where we can train the locals, in order to sustain the system?
  • Why hasn’t an initiative for this project not yet been started?
    • Are there problems or aspects of the research we don’t know about?
  • What does impact mean?
  • How will our project affect the local’s lives?
    • Will our project have an effect on people’s lives? (Closed-ended)
  • If our project is successful, where can we go from there?
  • How will the locals react or perceive our device?
  • How do we work with individuals who are unsupportive of our research?
  • What can we learn from the locals that could help us with the device?
  • How will their culture affect our project?
  • How will our project affect their culture?
  • How is our project going to change Sierra Leone?
  • What are other treatment or care options if they decide not to participate?
  • If this project is successful, where can we go from there?
  • How will we establish the operation from one clinic to millions of clinics?
  • Is this a project that we will continue providing assistance to? Or do we pass this responsibility onto the locals?
  • How will the devices be distributed?
  • How will we make this project affordable to the locals?
  • What’s this project’s incentive for Lehigh?
  • How will the locals welcome this project?
  1. Develop and Visualize the Theory of Change (Logic Model) for your venture:
Stakeholders Inputs Outputs Outcomes
-World Hope

-St. Luke’s Hospital

-Lehigh Valley Health Network

-Lehigh University

-Sickle Cell Patients in Sierra Leone

-Sickle Cell diagnostic device and its components

-Education about Sickle Cell Anemia

-Financial Resources

-Time and Research

-The number of people who use this device

-The number of devices distributed

-The number of children under five who received a diagnosis

-The results of the diagnosis

Short Term:

-Prove the functionality and usefulness of our device in Sierra Leone.

Long Term:

-Lower the child mortality rate

-Have accessible/affordable sickle cell diagnoses

-Spread awareness of the effects of sickle cell anemia

-Improve the life quality for sickle cell patients

GSIF Blog Post 2

Give three compelling examples of how cultural issues affect your project. 


Culture is a defining, yet distinguishing characteristic of many groups. Culture is an important aspect in many people’s lives, and I am certain, this is true for the people of Sierra Leone as well. We will have to be open-minded regarding the differences in culture and learn about theirs to best help the eventual implementation of our Sickle Cell Anemia diagnostic device. I have not yet travelled to Sierra Leone, but I know that it is not sufficient to make something and donate it to Sierra Leone. For this project to have a lasting impact, we need to show an understanding to their culture and market the product towards them, as they are not as receptive to Western medicine as Americans are. They still use traditional medicine as a primary source of healthcare and we have to respect that part of their culture. Another cultural phenomenon we have to be mindful of is that punctuality, or lack thereof. Timing is key for getting things done in American culture. Deadlines are set and schedules are created far in advance to propagate prompt completion. Sierra Leone seems to operate on a more lax schedule and that is something we will have to get used to. Finally, we also need to be mindful of our tone, phrasing and body language around the people in Sierra Leone. Khanjan mentioned that if you ask someone to do something, they will decline. We have to find a happy medium where we obtain the help we need from the natives, while not imposing ourselves and being bossy.


Have you experienced or observed any of these social situations at home?


My mother, my father, my sister and I do not practice any religion and were all born in America, yet I still have experienced these situations at home. Firstly, my girlfriend of 18 months is Brazilian. Her mother and father were both born in Brazil, hence, Brazilian culture is important to her life. Through our relationship, I have learned about some key parts of Brazilian culture. As I mentioned, I believe that the Sierra Leoneans’ view on punctuality will take some getting used to, but I have some experience due to the Brazilian community my girlfriend has introduced me to and through service trips abroad. For large events, my girlfriend tells her Brazilian friends and family to come hours before the actual start time so they actually arrive on time. They have still been later after being told to come two hours early! Secondly, on my trip to Antigua, it was evident that “island time” is a preached philosophy there. Our first few days, our schedule was packed with meetings and activities to get the most out of our trip, however, we soon realized that our schedule was unrealistic. The natives are raised in an easygoing, free-spirited lifestyle and therefore are not as punctual and strict-scheduled as us Americans usually are. At home, my mother and martial arts sensei would always say “if you aren’t 10 minutes early, you are late”. While being on time is an important aspect in American culture, these trips allowed me to be more adaptable and accepting of spontaneity. Finally, I know American professionals are easy to piss off and too focused on an end goal. Often arguments arise, and hate can be prevalent in America. Hence, I have never seen people shout at each other, and make up so quickly afterwards. Their “palaver” is something so foreign to me as I have never seen anything like it.


Give three examples of cultural practices that can be leveraged to address community / market problems.


In Sierra Leone, it is very respectable to build a relationship before conducting business matters. It helps remove tension and create trust. I believe we can definitely use this to our advantage for our project. If we can develop a relationship with some local groups, we can lessen their worries about the device we are thrusting upon them. Secondly, their acceptance of different cultures and easygoing nature will work to our advantage. I hope that they realize we are not trying to show superiority to them, but we are trying to make a difference using the resources we have. We have to make sure to not display an aura of patronization towards them as we are truly trying to help people live better lives in Sierra Leone. Finally, I believe the people in Sierra Leone will be receptive to the efforts we are making due to the strained medical facilities in the country. Life expectancies are declining and less than 1% of their annual government revenue is pushed towards healthcare. They are very emotionally intelligent people and I guarantee they will help us any way they can.

GSIF Assignment One

When I first heard about the Global Social Impact Fellowship, I was amazed by how expansive and interesting the research appeared. I had done lab research in previous semesters at Lehigh, and while that was great technical experience, it was limited to doing what I was told in the lab. It did not appear as there was a larger goal. Through GSIF, not only would I be working with like-minded dedicated undergraduates towards making an impact, but I would also have the opportunities to travel and be professionally published. My acceptance into the Sickle Cell Anemia Group is truly a blessing as I believe I can provide the most insight into this group while still being inquisitive and learning from my tenured teammates. I fully understand this program is going to be arduous and that mistakes will be made, but mistakes birth success. In the end, all the work we do will be worth it if we can put a smile on someone’s face or save someone’s life in Sierra Leone. I have always been an individual devoted to service and helping those in need, and this program allows me to do this in an educational and fulfilling manner.

I have no doubt that the seminar and the concurrent research will make me a better Chemical Engineering, and even a better Finance student. Although on the surface this group seems to best complement my Chemical Engineering skills, an important part of Finance is listening to your clients, being personable and complex problem solving, which this program heavily encourages. My chemical engineering knowledge, especially my understanding of antibodies and chemical reactions will be tested and improved through the research I am able to do with my team. One thing that significantly interests me in my group is the creativity beyond the diagnostic device. The group has a functional prototype, but there is still so much work to be done after that including interfacing, marketing the device’s benefits to the public, budgeting etc. My diverse skill set will aid the group as I can help with many different sections of the work. Finally, I am excited to have the opportunities to meet new people and make connections with undergraduates and professors through GSIF. These will be important connections that I will have through my Lehigh tenure and beyond, another amazing feature of this program.

The World Health Organization estimates that over one billion people could benefit from access to proper eyewear. This huge health crisis prevents at least one out of every seven people from living their best life because they do not have access to something we take for granted in developed parts of the world. Personally, I cannot imagine how life would be if I did not have access to proper eyewear. I needed several surgeries on my eyes at a very young age and I still would be almost legally blind without my eyeglasses. With clear vision, work would be more efficient, education levels would improve and life in developing countries would be safer. With these effects, the issue becomes one not only of health, but also of economic development. I believe the most logical solution would be creating buzz to encourage philanthropies and social enterprises to fund eyewear projects to the developing world. A campaign to propagate change has worked before, and I believe it would work here through the help of peers and a well organized campaign. “Buy one, Donate one” programs are the easiest solution, but it is unrealistic to say every company would buy into this philosophy. There are products on the market that, if distributed to developing nations, would significantly improve the lack of access to proper eyewear. Adaptive spectacles, introduced in 2003 by the Centre for Vision in the Developing World at Oxford, can accommodate a large range of prescriptions and, therefore, are the cheapest and most logical channel to pursue to solve this problem. Without adaptive spectacles, there would need to be an intermediate step in which people are eye tested and then glasses are made to suit their specific prescription. These adaptive lenses cannot negate the effects of an astigmatism, but these lenses would solve problems for a large sector of the population without access to proper eyewear. However, an underlying issue in the lack of access to proper eyewear is the lack of access to optometrists. Being an optometrist in a developing country would not be the most prosperous use of your doctorate degree, but eyewear distribution programs are bound to fail without professional expertise on-site. Service-minded professionals need to be funded to set clinics up in developing nations or the project will fail. 75% of Americans use some type of corrective eyewear, so it is plausible to say that we are cutting off 75% of the population in developing areas from their best life. As many countries in the world are teaming up to reverse the effects of climate change, the nations of the world need to team up in giving access to proper eyewear worldwide.