Ralph Jean-Noel

Ralph Jean-Noel






Africana Studies & Global Studies


On-Site Coordinator and Member of Planning Committee for LeaderShape at Lehigh, Student staff member at the Office of Student Leadership Development, Recipient and participant of the Lee Iacocca International Internship in Ghana (Summer 2014), Student Staff Office of Multicultural Affairs, Former Vice President and Treasurer of The Black Student Union, Founder and Past Chair of the Black History Month Committee, Founding Member and Past Chair of the Strive for Excellence Committee, Served as an Intern for Diversity Recruitment in the Office of Admissions, Founding Member of FBR, PreLUsion Leader (2012 & 2013).


Social Justice, Identity Development, and African Diaspora

Ralph is a senior here at Lehigh University. As a first generation college student with Haitian background, coming to Lehigh and staying was not an easy task. Arriving on campus, Ralph noticed an environment that was challenging, and needed a lot of change. So a lot of the work that he has done since his first year at Lehigh has been to change the campus climate and culture, rather than assimilating and accepting the status quo. He believes that is his driving factor. Since setting foot on campus, social justice has become an avid passion and interest for Ralph. Immediately he immersed himself in the duty of educating himself and others on their history, roots and issues regarding race, gender, culture, and inequality through his extracurricular activities. Being a black man, Haitian-American, and of African descent, studying about his own roots and history is something that has become very important to him. 

Recently, Ralph just completed a Sustainable Development Internship with the Lee Iacocca International Internship Program in Accra, Ghana for six weeks. As a member of the African diaspora, this opportunity was not only a great internship experience for him, but a powerful and spiritual journey back to a place related to his own history and roots.  One of Ralph’s favorite symbols in the Akan language of Ghana is SANKOFA. Sankofa means to “reach back and get it” in order to move forward into the future, represented by the Asante Adinkra symbols of a bird with its head turned backwards taking an egg off its back. To him, it means it is essential for people of color like himself to reach back and learn about our own TRUE history in order for us to move forward and have a successful future. Ralph intends on furthering his education after his Bachelor’s degree by applying for a Master’s program concentrating in Africana Studies, on the road to one day attaining his Ph.D.