Yanqi Liu, Computer Science and Engineering:

"We do a lot of projects in our classes, but we do them for a grade. The Mountaintop program allowed us to be fully immersed in a long-term project with a real audience, not just professors and classmates. My team was designing an app for parents and care providers that will produce a close simulation of how children with cochlear implants hear different sounds. It's amazing that we can apply our engineering knowledge to help them.

Initially, I joined this project because I wanted to strengthen my computer science ability. But being on a team has exposed me to so many different perspectives on what it takes to make something like this work. My teammates introduced ideas that we as computer science students wouldn't think about, and that made this app better."

Mountaintop projects are interdisciplinary deep dives that bring together faculty, students, and external partners. Teams take new intellectual, creative, and/or artistic pathways that lead to technical innovation and personal transformation.

"As an international student, working on this project gave me the opportunity to learn more about the United States. We went to the Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech in Philadelphia, and I was able to see the opportunities available for children with disabilities. It was the first time I felt like I was really experiencing the U.S. society and its values. It's impressive.

It was also the first time I’d worked so closely with my professors. They were so nice, and always there to help if we had problems. I ended up applying for graduate school, and I was able to ask them for letters of recommendation. They're important connections to have for my future career."