Professors share their plans for summer break


Finals week and warm weather — the formidable combination that taunts students with dreams of pools, parties, vacation, travel, relaxation and, most importantly, sleep. But as these hang just out of students’ reach, what are professors looking forward to?

Students spend free time anticipating and planning eventful breaks. Marking their calendars, they await the dates that mean no homework, grades or stress for the allotted time.

For Lehigh professors, however, summer vacation does not necessarily equal a break from academics.

Constance Cook, a professor in the department of modern languages and literature, plans to occupy herself this summer with ancient Chinese studies, as she will travel to Germany and Russia with a luggage of knowledge of excavated texts from ancient China.

Cook is going to a humanities consortium funded by the German government. The government will pay her to read and write two research papers, speak at conferences and assist with some publications. She spent last summer in Germany and said she found it is a great place to do scholarly work.

She said the purpose of her trip is to study fate, divination and freedom.

Before the start of the fall semester, Cook will be traveling to Russia to present a paper at a conference at the European Association of Chinese Studies. Cook also has two books that have been accepted by publishers and she will work to have them revised during her trip.

Douglas Mahony, an associate professor of management in the College of Business of Economics will be straying from his typical summer routine of traveling for conferences.

Mahony will not be on campus but will be teaching an online Management 143 class for the first summer session. This is a three-credit class that is part of the undergraduate curriculum requirement for all business students.

“I will be sailing up the coast to Connecticut for about a week in May,” Mahony said.

He plans to spend most of July and August at his family summer home. Mahony’s academic work will not cease, however, as he plans to spend his time in Connecticut at the library continuing his research.

Arup Sengupta, a professor of environmental engineering, will guide students to careers in engineering and research as he plans a summer of both work and play.

Sengupta’s summer will be filled with research, writing papers, advising students, traveling and working within the technology world. His research will work to apply the science of technology to mitigate problems that have been plaguing the field for quite some time.

His summers are typically oriented around research and working with students within the lab and outside of the traditional classroom setting, as he advises them along their journey toward becoming engineers.

Students who work on research with Sengupta this summer may travel abroad to collect data and transfer it back to Lehigh.

Sengupta, however, knows the meaning of “work hard, play hard.” He said every summer he hosts at least one picnic at his house, playing soccer, frisbee, volleyball and games of ping pong or occasionally enjoying rounds of miniature golf.

Whether traveling, teaching a class or doing research, Lehigh professors appreciate the joy of summer just as their students do, while making sure not to abandon academia altogether.

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