People and Partners

Leadership Team

Mary Foltz, SSI Director

Mary C. Foltz is the Director of the South Side Initiative and an Associate Professor at Lehigh University in the English Department, Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, and American Studies. With SSI, Foltz has focused on public humanities projects with an emphasis on regional oral history collection, public history exhibitions, community archives, literary arts programming, and regional reportage about arts and culture. She works collaboratively with community partners on a number of humanities projects, including the Lehigh LGBT Community Oral History Project, the Latinx Oral History Project, Finding H.D., and the southsider.

Beyond this focus, Foltz contributes to collaborative projects focused on civic infrastructure, environmental health, and increased democratic engagement in civic governance. She has worked closely with community partners on the Pedestrian Bridge Project, a proposed ethics ordinance for the city of Bethlehem, and the Communities Film Series, which creates discussion of urgent regional issues through reflection on documentary films. As Director of SSI, Foltz speaks at national conferences and regional venues about the value of community-based research and collaborative projects in the humanities; she recently has participated in the Imagining America annual conference, the PA Council for the Humanities’ panel titled “Reimaging Community Engagement,” and the Northeast Public Humanities Consortium’s annual conferences. Foltz also publishes articles about public humanities work in Bethlehem and the Lehigh Valley in regional publications and currently is working on a collaborative scholarly writing project about the Lehigh Valley LGBT Community Archive.

Breena Holland

Breena Holland is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and the Environmental Initiative. Her primary research is in the areas of environmental policy and political theory and focuses on issues of valuation, justification, and participation in contemporary approaches to policy analysis and administrative rulemaking.

For the South Side Initiative, Breena is currently involved in two projects related to environmental justice in the South Bethlehem community. First, she is directing the Community Gardens Working Group, which manages and runs projects involving the six community gardens on Bethlehem’s south side. Second, she is leading the Asthma and Air Pollution Mapping Project, which carries out collaborative air monitoring research in order to identify and promote the use of pedestrian routes through the city of Bethlehem that minimize exposure to traffic-related air pollution.

Breena earned her doctorate and master’s degree in Political Science at the University of Chicago and she holds bachelor’s degrees from the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management and the Department of Jurisprudence and Social Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. Her book, “Allocating the Earth: A Distributional Approach to Protecting Capabilities in Environmental Law and Policy” (Oxford University Press, 2014) draws on “capabilities theory” to address substantive and procedural dimensions of environmental injustice.

Seth Moglen

Seth Moglen is a South Side resident and teaches in the English Department and in the American Studies and Africana Studies programs at Lehigh University. He is a literary critic, historian, playwright and public humanist. Click here for his personal webpage, where you can learn more about his work.

Moglen is currently writing a book, “Bethlehem: American Utopia, American Tragedy,” which traces the history of one iconic city, from 18th-century founding to postindustrial present. The book explores the egalitarian aspirations of the people of Bethlehem over the course of three centuries, as well as the structures of power that constrained those aspirations. This project has been supported by research fellowships from the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and the American Council of Learned Societies.

Moglen’s first play, Hidden Seed: Bethlehem’s Forgotten Utopia tells the story of the African, Native American, and European women who helped found the city of Bethlehem in the 1740s and 1750s. It was performed in Oct. 2019, as part of Touchstone Theatre’s Festival UnBound. A new production is now scheduled for Fall 2021.

Moglen is co-founder of South Side Initiative and he directed SSI from 2007 2013. He has been especially active in SSI’s Public Humanities activities, including the Women of Bethlehem Steel oral history archive and Finding H.D. and he helped to coordinate the Free Speech campaign in 2012-2014. Moglen has served on many nonprofit boards in the city of Bethlehem, including the Community Action Development Corporation of Bethlehem, the South Bethlehem Historical Society,  and the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley.

Advisory Board

Julia Maserjian

Julia Maserjian is the manager of the Digital Scholarship Team at the Lehigh University Library and Technology Services Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning. She teaches documentary history, theory and production for the Film and Media Studies department and has facilitated several documentary workshops for the Lehigh and Bethlehem Community.  She has worked in public history and digital projects for 20 years and has shepherded the development and launch of projects likeBeyond Steel: An Archive of Lehigh Valley Industry and Culture and Still Looking for You: A Bethlehem Place + Memory Project.  Her work with the SSI includes documentary audio and video production and collaborations with heritage and cultural organizations and the City of Bethlehem on preservation planning and historic interpretation.  Julia was a founding member of the SSI team and has been a leader in the initiative’s work since 2007.

Kim Carrell-Smith

Kim Carrell-Smith is a visiting assistant professor of Political Science and the Director of the Community Fellows graduate program at Lehigh University. She earned a master’s and Ph.D. from the University of Delaware and taught Public History at Lehigh from 1996-2019, specializing in community-engaged local history, while also becoming a local community activist and advocate for public education as well as racial and economic justice. In 2007, she was fortunate to be able to connect her academic and Lehigh Valley community experience to become the director of the Community Fellows Program at Lehigh, sharing her passion for exploring constructive community engagement with Community Fellows from three MA programs: Political Science, Environmental Policy, and Sociology.  

Professor Carrell-Smith’s commitment to transformative community work and social justice initiated in her childhood, growing up as a (white) minority student in her neighborhood and schools in Dayton, Ohio during the turbulent civil rights period. She learned firsthand that constructive civic engagement and the action of individuals can effect positive change.  

Community Fellows connect their academic training to their “real world” community-based education as they tackle significant work within a nonprofit organization, public school district, or local government, over the course of one year. Through core classes with Professor Carrell-Smith and visiting community “experts,” Fellows learn about constructive civic engagement, and they can and DO effect positive change in the Lehigh Valley each year. Professor Carrell-Smith is honored to be part of that process.

Karen Beck Pooley

Karen Beck Pooley teaches courses through the Department of Political Science Department and the Environmental Initiative on city planning; housing, community development, and economic development policy; and urban agriculture. In addition, she is a Senior Associate at czb LLC, a neighborhood planning firm that analyzes local conditions and develops and helps implement revitalization plans for communities across the country. For the South Side Initiative, Karen teaches a workshop course each spring focused on a community-based issue and advises SSI’s Student Project Implementation Group. Karen has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Wellesley College, a Master of Urban Planning & Policy from New School University’s Milano Graduate School, and a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania. She has also worked for the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Allentown, New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, and the Institute for Children & Poverty.

Olivia Landry

Olivia Landry is the Director of Film and Documentary Studies at Lehigh and teaches in the Modern Languages and Literatures Department. With a focus on contemporary Germany and Europe, her courses and research delve into topics of social justice, protest, and minoritized and immigrant communities as they are represented and performed in film and theater.

Lehigh University Partners

SSI is a university-wide initiative that has embraced the participation of faculty, students and staff across campus – including the departments, programs and offices listed below.

Office of the President

Office of the Provost

Faculty Participants from the Following Academic Departments & Interdisciplinary Programs

  • Africana Studies Program
  • American Studies Program
  • Art, Architecture & Design
  • Department
  • Biological Sciences Department
  • Chemistry Department
  • Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Community Fellows Program
  • Counseling Psychology Program
  • Creative Writing Program
  • Earth & Environmental Sciences Department
  • Economics Department
  • Educational Leadership Program
  • English Department
  • Entrepreneurship Program
  • Environmental Initiative
  • Globalization & Social Change Initiative
  • Health, Medicine & Society Program
  • History Department
  • Integrated Product Design (IPD) Program
  • International Relations
  • Journalism & Communication Department
  • Latin American Studies Program
  • Modern Languages & Literatures
  • Music Department
  • Political Science Department
  • Religion Studies Department
  • Science, Technology & Society Program
  • Sociology & Anthropology Department
  • Theater Department
  • Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program

Other Academic, Co-Curricular, and Research Units

  • Arts Lehigh
  • Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship,
  • Creativity & Innovation
  • Engineers without Borders
  • Faculty Development
  • Gipson Institute for 18th Century Studies
  • Humanities Center
  • Lehigh Earth Observatory (LEO)
  • Lehigh Environmental Advisory Group (LEAG)
  • Lehigh University Art Galleries
  • Library & Technology Services
  • Media Center
  • South Mountain College
  • Social Science Data Center
  • Sustainability Initiative
  • Visiting Lecturers Committee
  • Zoellner Art Center
  • Creative Inquiry & Mountaintop Initiative
  • Other Administrative Units

  • College of Arts & Science, Dean’s Office
  • College of Business, Dean’s Office
  • College of Engineering, Dean’s Office
  • College of Education, Dean’s Office
  • Admissions & Financial Aid
  • Communications & Public Affairs Office
  • Community & Regional Affairs Office
  • Community Outreach & Special Projects Office
  • Development Office
  • Dining Services
  • Facilities Services & Campus Planning
  • Government Affairs Office
  • Research and Sponsored Programs Office

Student Affairs Units

  • Community Service Office
  • International Students and Scholars
  • Jewish Student Center
  • Pride Center
  • Multicultural Affairs Office
  • Center for Gender Center
  • Center for Community Engagement

Student Organizations

  • Black Student Union
  • The Brown and White
  • The Brown and Black
  • Global Citizenship House
  • Green Action
  • Leadership Lehigh
  • Progressive Student Alliance
  • South Mountain College

Community Partners

Local Business Partners

Clothesline Organics
Deja Brew
Euro Yogurt/Hard Bean Cafe
Fox Optical
Home and Planet
Loose Threads
Saraceno Design
Skate Zone
Wildflower Cafe

Local Educational Partners

Bethlehem Public Library
Broughal Middle School
Donegan Elementary School
Fountain Hill Elementary School
Liberty High School
Moravian College
Muhlenberg College
Nazareth High School
Northampton Community College

Local Media Partners

Bethlehem Press
Brown and White
Express Times
Morning Call
WLVT (PBS Channel 39)