The Experiential Experience

ELD2013SMall-32Before coming to Albertus Magnus I had never heard the term “Experiential Learning.” Truth be told I wasn’t even sure I heard people correctly when they used the word “experiential.” Many people around campus confuse the word with “experimental” so I was a bit apprehensive when I was required to attend Experiential Learning Day (ELD) my freshman year. I soon learned that experiential learning is learning by doing and includes direct experiences outside of a traditional academic setting. During ELD students present their accomplishments in curricular and co-curricular activities. Experiential learning takes many forms at Albertus Magnus including practica and internship, service-learning, independent scholarship, research and student teaching.

ELD2013SMall-107At my first ELD in 2011, I attended a presentation on “Discovering the Real Dominican Republic.” During the talk the presenter shared her experiences interacting with Dominicans living below the poverty line. When you think about the Dominican Republic you think about beautiful beaches and a paradise oasis. In reality over 30% of the population lives in extreme poverty. I remember thinking how the idea of traveling in college is so important. This presentation was more influential than I could have ever expected   and came, into play when picking my classes for this semester.

I am now a second-semester junior and planning to go on a spring break, service-learning trip to Canada. The trip is a component of a service-learning across borders course I am currently taking. During our trip we will volunteer with five different agencies. When we return our class will present at this year’s ELD on March 26. The day’s events run from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

ELD2013SMall-3ELD does not only showcase student’s volunteerism and study throughout the world. All types of presentations are welcome. Some students share their internship experiences with television programs like Entertainment Tonight and the Insider, while others share artwork and independent and faculty- mentored research projects dealing with issues such as transit racism, e-waste, Afghani art, healthcare in Peru, pharmacogenomics and market analysis. By sharing these experiences students learn from one another and think about opportunities and projects they may have never discovered on their own. Student presenters get to practice public speaking skills, learn how to prepare conference posters and gain valuable experience that can be put on their resumes.

ELD has become an influential part of the Albertus Magnus College experience. This year students will resent on topics such as a Habitat for Humanity build in Hawaii, a research practicum with the Yale School of Medicine section of Infectious Diseases, public education reform and recognizing the variables that impact intimacy within a relationship, to name a few. Professor Lisa Furman, associate professor of psychology in the Master of Arts in Art Therapy program, will offer a lecture on Ethical Considerations: Clients with Cognitive Degeneration in Art Therapy Research and Treatment. An art show, reception and book signing will follow the lecture.

For more information on experiential learning and other events planned this spring (Business Etiquette Dinner, Money Smart Week and the Veritas Learning Series) please visit us on the web at

Danielle - HeadshotDanielle Thuerling
Experiential Learning and the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence Intern
Communications major
Class of 2015

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