Engaged Learning celebrates graduating seniors

In its first year of existence, Engaged Learning saw a solid group of three seniors graduate from its outside-the-classroom learning experience program. This year, Engaged Learning will celebrate 40 graduating seniors at its second Engaged Learning Week event.

About 60 percent of [Engaged Learning] graduates go on to do graduate studies or have careers directly linked to their Engaged Learning project,” said Meleah Chriss-Harris, Assistant to Director of Engaged Learning at SMU. “Many Engaged Learning Fellows will go off to do incredible work in their life.”

Engaged Learning Week runs from Wednesday, Feb. 5 to Friday, Feb. 7. To kick-off the three-day event, Engaged Learning is hosting a coffeehouse party called “The Lucky Cup” at Cafe 100.

Provost Paul Ludden, Vice President for Student Affairs Lori White, and Embrey Human Rights Program Director Rick Halperin will be serving up free coffee and tea from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.. Engaged Learning seniors and staff will also exhibit projects and showcase their talent. Two lucky student attendees will receive a LYFEBox, a gift box centered around the college experience.

Thursday, the celebration continues with a Spring Symposium featuring the project of all graduating seniors. Each presentation will last just five-minutes and topics range from dance, theatre and film to biochemistry and applied physiology.

“We have students from every undergraduate school, with different GPAs, working on projects in the fields of research, service, internships and other creative work,” Chriss-Harris said. “These students are really passionate about their work.”

The drop-in symposium
begins at 9 a.m. in the Forum at Hughes-Trigg Student Center. At noon, attendees will be treated to a free lunch and mini-info session about Engaged Learning. Senior Engaged Learning fellow Jaison Thomas, who completed research on the literacy of homeless populations, is hopeful Thursday’s symposium will be an inspiring event.

“I’m looking forward to hearing and reading about my colleagues’ experience in their respective fields and expanding my horizons in subjects I am not familiar with,” he said. “A lot of students have wonderful and innovative ideas.”

BigiDeas enthusiast Paul Ludden will host a roundtable discussion entitled “
Engaged Learning: the Big Picture” Friday at Engaged Learning Week’s final event, an open house that takes place on the lower level of Clements Hall from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The open house also includes a free Buca di Beppo catered luncheon at noon and Joy of Mentoring Workshop at 1 p.m. Program Director Susan Kress will wrap up the event with a presentation on how-to submit a project proposal at 2 p.m.

Chriss-Harris said Engaged Learning Week also “educates sophomore and junior level students on how to apply.” The deadline to submit an Engaged Learning proposal is Feb. 15.

A project proposal is the first step in becoming an Engaged Learning fellow. Projects typically span two years and include four phases: proposal, project, presentation and publication.

Students are guided by a mentor for their projects and funded up to $2000 for their work that can take place anywhere around the world. Previous projects have taken place in 21 countries across Asia, Europe, Africa, the Americas, and even Australia.

“As the name implies, all participants partake in learning processes that go beyond the scope of the conventional classroom,” Thomas said. “Engaged Learning Week is a great time for students to showcase their projects and results with the SMU community.”

For more information, visit
smu.edu/EngagedLearning.

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