O U R S T O R Y
The Udēēsa origin story is a remarkable tale of innovation, dedication, and a passion for African American history and culture. This groundbreaking initiative was born out of a desire to create a more comprehensive and immersive approach to learning about the African diaspora, and it has since evolved into a thriving platform that is making a real difference in the lives of young learners and educators alike.
The inspiration for Udēēsa began in 2015 when a Mountain Top fellowship program at Lehigh University broadened the traditional narratives surrounding African American history, heritage, and culture by creating space for our cohort to research and engage with the merits, intersections, and influence of Hip Hop and Entrepreneurship. This fellowship led to a series of experiments with immersive technology, including 360-degree photography and the creation of a mobile application for sharing 360-degree/Virtual Reality tours of Lehigh’s campus. Following these experiments, and new found appreciation for the interdisciplinary application of modern technology, Udēēsa was born. Our team, composed at the time of Asante Asiedu '17 (CEO) and Miles Davis '18 (CGO), traveled to Ghana in 2018 to explore the impact integrating VR into Africana Studies could have on teaching and learning experiences. This resulted in a coordinated effort with Lehigh’s Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL) to organize and showcase our findings at Lehigh’s first immersive technology expo, hosted by the Africana Studies program. The overwhelming interest and positive reception from the 360-degree media shared at this event, as well as from immersive media shared at the 2018 & 2019 Teaching and Learning Symposiums, validated our assumptions about the need/desire for more holistic and engaging content surrounding cultural education & the African Diaspora.
Since then, Udēēsa has continued to expand our team and resources, including the addition of two additional Lehigh Alumni, Badjessa Bahoumda ‘19 (CTO) & JohnDerek Daniels ‘19 (COO). Together we have created a collaborative online Catalog that hosts our growing collection of unique XR tours with hundreds of unique subscribers. Our team has participated in the NSF-I-Corps Program (2021-2022) to evaluate our approach to commercialization of the technology and have forged partnerships with non-profit organizations and communities such as the Library Company of Philadelphia, the Black Caucus Librarians Association, 4-H, Jack and Jill of America, and the Boys and Girls Club of America. Udeesa continues to be a growing resource for collaboration between schools and universities with age-appropriate XR resources and learning tools for educators, families, and students. This is where you can make a real difference.
Join us in supporting this initiative and help shape the future of cultural education and heritage. Join us in supporting the future of Udēēsa!
Translation "Take Pride."
To Take Pride in yourself is to take pride in your community and all you aspire to achieve.