Experiential learning encompasses any activity in which a student is actively engaged in their education inside or outside of the classroom. At Trinity, experiential learning includes undergraduate research opportunities inside and outside of the classroom, volunteer experiences, internships, study abroad opportunities, and more.

About the Blog

Welcome to the official Trinity University Experiential Learning Blog. My name is Allyson Mackender and with the help of photographer Anh-Viet Dinh, I will be your guide as we explore a variety of experiential learning opportunities taking place at Trinity.

First, we have to answer one question:

What is experiential learning?

Experiential learning encompasses any activity in which a student is actively engaged in their education inside or outside of the classroom. At Trinity, experiential learning includes undergraduate research opportunities inside and outside of the classroom, volunteer experiences, internships, study abroad opportunities, and more.

Under the umbrella of experiential learning, students are actively engaging with their academic and extracurricular interests, and taking time to reflect on these experiences to continue getting the most value out of these opportunities. Students have researched everything from Alzheimer's Disease to the forgotten San Antonio Federal Orchestra. In our school of business, one student spent his summer interning for Sweb Development, a local San Antonio office, and reflecting on the interpersonal dynamics he observed there. Another group of students worked with the entrepreneurship department to develop and market their own chewing gum.

Opportunities like these engage students in the active development of their creative and critical thinking skills. As the school year progresses, this blog will seek to answer the following questions:
  • What does experiential learning look like at Trinity University?
  • How does experiential learning help students discover new passions and grow as individuals?
  • What opportunities are out there for a student seeking to learn from hand-on experience?
  • Who are the students and faculty involved in these experiential learning projects?
By answering these questions and many more I hope to uncover the value of experiential learning and share the work that students at Trinity University are doing on campus, in the San Antonio community, and beyond.

For more information or for help connecting with experiential learning opportunities at Trinity University, call (210) 999-8321 or visit the Office for Experiential Learning in the Coates University Center.

About the Authors

Allyson Mackender

I was born and raised in Denver, Colorado but am currently calling San Antonio my home as I enter my senior year at Trinity University. After trying out nearly every major offered at Trinity, I decided to study English, building on a lifelong love of literature and art. However, the wide array of courses at Trinity has given me the opportunity to pursue various academic interests from geoscience to anthropology to economics.

In the fall of 2015 I studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark through the Danish Institute of Study Abroad (DIS). While abroad, my studies primarily focused on legal studies, public policy and the human experience, specifically within the academic study of the sex trade in Europe. My research while in Copenhagen culminated with a trip to Amsterdam where I completed interviews and collected observational data to ultimately form a policy proposal regarding Danish prostitution laws.

Now, as the content producer for the Experiential Learning blog I am able to speak with students about the wonderful research and ALE internships they are completing and the important applications of their studies. The students featured on this blog are completing undergraduate research with funding from one of the university's various sources. In addition to being the author of the Experiential Learning blog, I am the editor of the Trinity Perspective.

As I continue to report on the exciting work of Trinity undergraduates, I hope to capture the profound influence that experiential learning opportunities have on Trinity students. Through research and internships, students are given the chance to become experts in the field they are studying, to network with professors and professionals in their respective field, and to learn about and engage in their individual academic passions. My goal is to accurately display the importance of experiential learning opportunities by emphasizing its various benefits.

In addition to serving as the content producer intern for Trinity's Marketing and Communications department, I am also involved in various on campus clubs and organizations, including Sigma Theta Tau and Phi Sigma Pi. Additionally, I am the communications and special events intern for Gemini Ink, a local literary arts non-profit that helps writers create and share the human story. In my free time, I enjoy reading and writing creative nonfiction, searching for the best coffee in San Antonio, and spending time by the pool.

Claire Burrus

My name is Claire Burrus, and in addition to being the assistant writer for this blog, I am a sophomore student here at Trinity University. With a major in Environmental Studies and a minor in Political Science, as well as involvement in many student organizations on campus, I have engaged in many of the multitude of opportunities that the Trinity experience offers its students. You could say that I’m pretty enthusiastic about this university.

Getting involved at Trinity opens so many doors for students. With faculty-led study abroad trips, internships for credit, undergraduate research and service projects, there are opportunities for students to learn and grow both inside and outside of the classroom.The university provides a variety of vehicles to expand upon the skills that students develop.

In my young adult life, I have worked with many organizations, on and off campus, to develop skills such as these. From teaching nature study at a summer camp, to writing health and fitness articles, to developing a nutrition program at the university, I’ve created a pretty diverse portfolio for myself. Through my own experience with this type of hands-on work, I know how valuable it can be.

In writing these posts, I aim to broadcast the amazing work that Trinity students have done in areas such as these and many more. The Trinity experience extends much further than the classroom, and our incredible students can prove it.

About the Photographer

By now you’re probably wondering, who takes all of the beautiful pictures on the Trinity Undergraduate Experiential Learning Blog? I can assure you, it isn’t me. Anh-Viet Dinh, my partner in crime, is the man behind the creative shots that capture life behind the scenes in the world of experiential learning.

While Anh-Viet has an uncanny ability to find the perfect lighting, angle, or Photoshop edit, there is far more to the man behind the lense than just a pretty picture. Not only is Anh-Viet an excellent photographer, he is also a Trinity alumnus with a degree in biology.

While completing his undergraduate degree, Anh-Viet spent a year researching with neuroscience professor Tyisha Williams. Specifically, Anh-Viet studied novel protein markers for breast cancer based on phosphorylation status (adding and removing phosphate groups from DNA). Phosphorylation is known to regulate cell growth, enzymatic activity and protein-protein interactions. Students in the Williams lab continue to build on Anh-Viets findings. Results from this study could lead to the identification of novel treatment or prognostic markers for breast cancer. This research made Anh-Viet well aware of how cross-disciplinary experiential learning can prepare a student for a variety of unexpected career paths.

To see more of Anh-Viet’s photography click here and be sure to like his Facebook page.


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