Blog Post

  1. Summarize and report out on the results of the SKS exercise. 
    1. Start: Begin to communicate with each other better and with the engineering copra team. While the transition to another project has been difficult, if our team begins to collaborate more with the engineering team, this will help us not only with our research but with moving our project alongside with theirs. Having constant communication with their team can also help us to not have overlapping research on both ends. 
    2. Stop: Leaving things for the last minute has been a difficult challenge for our team to overcome. We tend to think we have more time than we do to meet deadlines or to perform our own research. A way for us to stop leaving things for the last minute could be to hold each other accountable for the work they are in charge of for the week, or even check in and make sure the workload they have for the week or reasonable for the time they have to dedicate to the project. 
    3. Keep: weekly meetings. Our weekly meetings are important because this is where we share the research that we have done for the week and we also have the chance to get feedback and ask each other clarifying questions if we do not understand something that is going on. Apart from research these weekly meetings allow us to build a relationship with the others on our team both socially and academic, which in the long run help move the project along because it is easier to work with people that you enjoy being around and trust. 
  2. Develop a detailed Collaboration Plan for your team clearly articulating your goals (Small g and Big G), Roles, Procedures, and Relationships. 
    1. Small g: 
      1. Create an informative presentation that shows the importance of the work our team is attempting to and to effectively work alongside the engineering team in order to support the process they are taking to change the system that we are also attempting to change.  
    2. Big G: 
      1. Find a way to preserve the color and texture of the copra as well as prevent aflatoxin formation by the end of the fellowship and leave the necessary information for the next team to get started on either refining our process to preserve color and texture in a more efficient way or work on more methods that prevent aflatoxin. 
    3. Roles: 
      1. Michelle: As a biology major, I have found my role on the team as looking for a way to better preserve the copra. I have researched that the main reason why people don’t buy “bad” copra is due to the appearance of it. However the copra is perfect fine to use and eat.I have found that if we are able to find a way to stop the copra from turning “brown” copra farmers would be able to still make a profit on copra that people would not have previously bought. 
      2. Rozhin: As a Molecular Biology major, I want to research ways to stop the breakdown of the enzymes that create browning in the copra as well as methods to preserve its texture and prevent aflatoxins from forming, which are carcinogens found in molds that can be very dangerous to living organisms if consumed.
      3. Bri: 
      4. Larissa: As a cognitive science major I want to focus on how the current processing system is affecting the farmers that use it and then compare how much better or worse off they will be with the product that both the engineering team and our team will come up with. Apart from the effective the device will have, the device will require some new education on how to properly use it to its full potential and this is also a role I will play, finding the best ways to educate the farmers who will be using the device in a way that is easy for them to understand but also efficient as they may not have the time to take a long course to use the device.  
    4. Procedures: 
      1. Since everyone has different majors and focuses in this team, decision making will be depending on each person’s expertise and a final decision will be made by the person that the subject relates most to. If questions arise or a consensus is not determined then a majority vote or the involvement of the faculty will be made.
      2. In order to have effective meetings, we will be having status updates on each person’s focus and each person will be writing a brief summary of what their update is on the meeting notes section in OneNote before the meeting and can add more notes to it if any more research is needed, etc during or after the meeting.
      3. We will be meeting twice a week: once with the advisor and once with just the team members. Meeting times will be determined on a group decision every week since everyone has different schedules and we will be having meetings on Google Docs and Zoom/Facetime. 
    5. Relationships: 
      1. The Engineering Copra team is one of our relationships because we are working on different aspects of the same problem. 
      2. The University in the Philippines who will help us better when we are conducting research. They are more knowledgeable of the area and who we should speak to if we need certain data. They can also help us as our translators if that is necessary.

Blog Post

Does your work require IRB approvals?

If Yes, articulate your detailed IRB strategy.

If No, explain why you don’t need IRB approval and

identify situations when you might need IRB approval.

  1. Our work with copra farmers does not require IRB approval. The only thing we need to perform our research and project will be a letter from officials in the Philippines which states what we are doing and that it is okay for us to do our project. A situation that would need IRB Approval could be a project where we are directly working with the farmers and doing research on their direct lives, collecting identifiable information from them. This would require IRB approval because we would collect this information and then have to make sure it won’t be accessible to others who could identify the people that we have surveyed.


Develop an outline for your mid-semester presentations.

What supporting evidence will you provide for each point?

How will you boost your credibility every step of the way?

An outline of our mid-semester presentations will first start with an outline of what the copra project is. The project that Professor Jedlicka’s team is doing and how this will then impact our project. We can talk about how we are collaborating with the engineers on the team to see what the needs of the people are. We could also work alongside their team to learn about what vendors look for when buying the copra product. From our side of the project, we will be researching many articles regarding the best ways to design and what to include in the copra project creation as well as how the business process of copra in and outside of the Philippines, so that we can make the most efficient item for the farmers.

Blog Post #4

  1. List ten things that make you feel human:
    1. Communication with others
    2. Ability to learn things
    3. Ability to quickly adapt to my surroundings
    4. Being able to care for others
    5. Being able to feel empathy
    6. Ability to make mistakes and learn from them
    7. Ability to affect things and people around me
    8. Ability to teach other people things
    9. Ability to create goals and perform the necessary steps to achieve that goal
    10. Ability to change the way that people view me or think of me based on certain aspects of my life.
  1. Articulate your philosophy of engagement as it pertains to your work with the GSIF:
    1. I choose to engage in GSIF because the program stood out to me over any other one offered at Lehigh, despite the extra workload that it would entail. GSIF allows me to learn about the impact that can be made from the start of a single project and has also given examples of how to make that impact last further than our time with the project. My engagement with this project has to be hands-on just as much as I should be able to stand back and listen to both to the needs to the consumers and others who might have valuable input about our projects. My hands-on engagement would be going to clinics to interview women who are pregnant or have already given birth and asking them about their experience and if they choose to do any sort of cultural birthing practice and their reason for choosing to do so. I must also engage with doctors and other teams who will give me more information about the birthing practices that are common in this area of the Philippines.
      A challenge in this project can come from mothers and them not wanting to be vulnerable around our team and share their experience of birth or their plan for their birth. A way to overcome this challenge could be to become vulnerable around them ourselves, people are more open to sharing with someone who shares with them. Being able to get first-hand information from mothers would move the project along. Another challenge could be catering to the needs of these women while taking their safety into consideration. Being able to interview women would give us insight into what typically goes wrong during their births and as a team we could come up with ways our table can help prevent those things from going wrong once again. My epitaph would read the world was so much bigger than she was but still she strived for change. My goal in life is to change as many lives as possibles for the better and GSIF brings me one step closer to beginning this goal.

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? 

A design process that is both uniquely ours and effective would look like first doing a thorough and deep research about the needs of the patients and making sure that they are culturally appropriate according to Philippine culture and then going to do fieldwork in the Philippines to do interviews of our stakeholders and making sure that we are fulfilling the appropriate needs and wants of the patients and healthcare staff that are involved in the process of birthing. Afterward, we will be coming back to create a business model for our product since the other birthing team in the Philippines will be creating the design for the birthing chairs this year. 

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


  • Region of Country
  • Social Class
  • Health
  • Religion
  • Income

Healthcare Network

  • Money
  • Region of Country
  • Partnerships
  • Need for new birthing chairs
  • Amount/number of staff in the hospital (under/overstaffed)

Doctors/ Physicians 

  • Education Level
  • Region of Country
  • Skill
  • Understanding of different cultures
  • Teamwork


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


  • Help decrease maternal and infant mortality
  • A durable and comfortable birthing table
  • Affordable


  • Technology/ product platform
  • Technology is not usable in our product however infrastructure is
  • Sizing ability (ability to change to different sizes for the mothers)


  • Durability
  • Comfortability
  • Sizable (able to withhold mothers of different sizes and adjust accordingly)

Business Model

  • Helps alleviate potential risks when women give birth
  • The Philippines is a developing country so the birthing table will have to be an affordable cost
  • A culturally appropriate birthing table design
  1. Give three examples of something very interesting you learned from a friend that was a completely alien concept to you.
  • I did not know a lot about the school system in Mexico and how grading was different. In Mexico they use a scale of 1-10. 1 being the lowest grade and a 10 being the highest grade you can receive. Apart from the grading system, the way that the grade levels are structured is also different in Mexico. There is one less year of high school but still four years of college.
  • Another concept I was exposed to was the weather in Arizona. I always thought that the weather was warm and dry year round, but I was told that it snows a lot during the winter months in some parts. This was foreign to me because I always assumed that it remained hot during the year in order for the cacti and desert animals to stay alive.
  • People who are of low income tend to stay low income due to a cycle that they either create themselves or society around them creates. Those families who are considered low income do not tend to save their money because they either do not know how to save or live they check to check and know what they need to spend their next check on in order to survive until the next check.

Blog Post #3

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


Cultural:  Financial:  Aftermath:  General Impact 
  1. Will this impact affect religious or cultural beliefs? 
  2. Do they want to be impacted? 
  3. Will the government accept this impact? 
  4. Will there be backlash on our impact? 
  5. Will others adapt to this impact? 
  6. In what ways does in impact benefit people and communities? 
  7. Will this impact indigenous cultures? 
  1. Will this impact be costly? 
  2. Where will we get funding for this impact? 
  3. How will we continue to get funding after we leave the site of impact? 
  1. Will this impact change birthing practices directly? 
  2. Will this impact benefit people besides mothers and children? 
  3. Will this impact be worldwide? 
  4. Will others be inspired to create more impact? 
  1. Will making this impact be 
  2. difficult? 
  3. In what ways can we impact? 
  4. How can we measure this impact? 
  5. Can this impact be negative? 
  6. How can we look at this impact in a broader sense? 
  7. In what ways does our help impact? 
  1. Develop and Visualize the Theory of Change (Logic Model) for your venture. 
Stakeholders Inputs Outputs Outcomes
  • Mothers/Children
  • Healthcare workers
  • Healthcare Network
  • Money
  • Product
  • Hospital/Vendor partnerships
  • Work and Time that the team puts into the project
  • Number of non-violent births
  • Mortality rate
  • Number of birthing chairs bought and successfully used
  • Less birthing complications
  • Less suffering for the mother and faster recovery time
  • More comfortable/ culturally appropriate births
  1. Develop a M&E plan for your venture. – Clearly list all assumptions. – Identify short-term and long-term success metrics. – (Optional) identify specific methods to measure the metrics.


Long Term Metrics

  • A decrease in complications while birthing
  • Spreading our birthing chairs to other East Asian countries
  • Our birthing chairs being available in most hospitals and health centers in the Philippines
  • A decrease in infant and mother mortality


Short Term Metrics

  • A deep understanding of current birthing methods / practices in different areas of the Philippines (ex: rural, suburban, urban) 
  • Connections made to the people for the Philippines (doctors/ nurses/ physicians/ mothers)
  • A better understanding of the religion such as is there any restrictions that do not allow people to do certain thing


We will measure our metrics by distributing surveys to mothers on how comfortable birthing chairs are and if their design align with their cultural beliefs. Additionally, we will ask hospitals and other health clinics on how many mothers preferred using our birthing chairs instead of the regular ones or other traditional and cultural birthing chairs (like the bamboo-made birthing chairs of the Austronesian people in the Philippines). Other forms of measurement would be gathering statistics on how much less birthing complications were able to occur because of more comfortability and easier access that our birthing chairs provide. Then we can gather data on how much birthing chairs we have sold as well as in how many hospitals and health centers they are provided.



Blog Post #2

  1. Give three compelling examples of how cultural issues affect your project.
    1. According to a study done by the University of Queensland, when women give birth in certain regions of the Philippines it is common to place squash leaves on the woman’s abdomen as they believe it can make labor easier for them, as well as drinking coconut water throughout their labor. After giving birth to the baby, the father will wait for the placenta to be delivered in order to quickly bury it, signifying the end of a struggle and healthy birth of their child.
    2. After labor women are given heavy blankets and clothing to wrap themselves in to avoid exposure to cold and winds. Apart from the heavy blankets and clothing women also tightly bind their abdomen because they believe that it will contract their uterus and prevent bleeding. To avoid excessive bleeding and weakness women in the Philippino culture tend to rely on relatives to do housework and cooking while the mother focuses her attention on the baby and restoring her health.
    3. After birth many women participate in a ritual where the goal is to dry out their womb. This involves sitting on a chair over a stone, lying next to an oven, or even bathing in smoke from burning leaves. The purposes and origins of this ritual were not specified.
  2. Have you experienced or observed any of these social situations at home? Describe at least three such situations.
    1. When a woman gives birth in the United States, if they are struggling during childbirth then the doctor may apply pressure to their abdomen in an attempt to help the baby come out faster. While the leaves that are applied to the women’s abdomen in the Philippines are not heavy in any way they see a purpose and a positive effect that comes from placing these leaves on a woman’s abdomen during childbirth.
    2. Another common practice in the united states is the use of the placenta after childbirth. While some mother chooses to consume the placenta for vitamins and nutrients, mothers in the Philippines also utilize their placenta but for a ritual signifying the end of the birth and suffering. While both practices differ the placenta is used as a form of belief and positive outcomes.
    3. Women in the United States also commonly take maternity leave after they have given birth in order to recuperate and take care of the baby until they are ready to go back to their work. In the Philippines, the work falls onto family members in order to ensure that the mother focuses her energy on the child and being able to get back to her responsibilities when she is ready and able.
  3. Give three examples of cultural practices that can be leveraged to addressed community/ market problems.
    1. In this case, the promise of shorter maternity leave would help. If mothers are given a healthy birth then they could relieve their relatives quicker from their duties of taking care of the mother and newborn and they can get back to their lives and so can the mother and baby. Even though relatives may understand that this is a responsibility that they follow in their culture, if a woman has a very rough birth then the relative has to now take care of them and their household for longer than they might like to or be able to.
    2. Another practice could be the bamboo mats that women prefer over a traditional birthing bed. If we were able to find a way to make the bamboo mat more comfortable or make the traditional bed give women what the bamboo mat gives them then they could have safer births, leading to shorter maternity leaves.
    3. The leaves that are placed on the expecting mother’s abdomen could be replaced by something more effective that would help the mother give birth easily and safely while still giving them the cultural aspect that they receive from the leaves.

Blog Post #1

I enrolled in this course because I thought it would be a great chance to learn to make an actual impact. I have always been interested in making a visible impact in education and while the project I will be working on does not focus on education I will gain important skills that will benefit my future goals. While working on this project I hope to find new interests and explore other ways that an impact can be made. Another reason I enrolled in this course was to meet people who were also driven to make an impact on the world around them from such a young age. When I was in high school and I shared my future goals the people around me would tell me my goal was too big and could not be accomplished but when I arrived at Lehigh I met people who had goals similar in their impact and their reasoning. When I learned about the Global Social Impact Fellows program I knew that I wanted to be a part of the program. This program brings people who share a common goal together to accomplish it and I wanted to be a part of the process of making an impact for the lives of others. 

I believe that this course will make me a better cognitive science student because I will be able to explore, research, and emerge myself in a different culture. Emerging myself in a culture that I know little about will allow me to explore the reasons behind why some of their cultural norms are not norms for us back home. As a cognitive science student I learn about the reason behind why humans do the things they do. Using my knowledge from my lectures and the knowledge I will gain from being on the field and working inside of that culture will make me more intuitive and also change the way that I view my own culture when it is compared to the cultures of others. I am also an international relations minor and I believe that traveling to the philippines will allow me to see how they react to people who come from a different country and I could make inferences from prior knowledge as to why they react to foreigners in a certain way or why they treat them a certain way.  

There are many factors that could affect the developing country’s access to eyeglasses such as education, jobs and volunteer work. As a future educator I believe that a proper education could have a major effect on many world problems. Students in optometry school could set up programs where they go to Kenya and perform eye exams on people who need them there and this could benefit both the students with experience and the residents of developing countries with better eye health. This experience could be treated like a study abroad opportunity and could be funded by either the schools of optometry or established optometrists that feel passionate about their job and passionate about everyone having access to eye exams and eyeglasses. Another educational aspect is that if more children in developing countries were given the opportunity to go to a school where they could get a quality education and be supported to continue their education through college, they could become members of an improving society. If a child from Kenya was given quality education they could potentially become optometrists and give back to the community that they come from. While the chances of every child in Kenya becoming an optometrist are very slim, these children would have a decent job because of their education and that job could potentially offer them a way to get eyeglasses for them and for their families. If the job does not offer them eyeglasses directly they could also use their salary to afford eyeglasses or could travel to where they can obtain them. Back home in Chicago, many people also have trouble accessing eyeglasses for themselves and their families. If your child attends a Chicago Public School, kindergarten through twelfth grade, then once a year they are eligible for a free vision test and a pair of glasses if needed and this program is made possible by doctors who volunteer their time to the Chicago Public Schools. If optometrists would volunteer more of their time to helping their communities then this could also be a program that could be set up in developing countries to at least give children access to free eye exams and eyeglasses.