139 Students Partake in Experiential Learning’s Summer Programs


This summer, through Experiential Learning, 30 students participated in the University of Puget Sound’s 10-week long internship program with 23 different organizations. 109 students took part in the summer research program.

Through the internships, the university connects students with various organizations within the Tacoma community. “This program allows students to have a career in nonprofit or government, which they wouldn’t otherwise be able to [financially],” Renee Houston said, the Associate Dean for Experiential Learning and a professor of Communications at Puget Sound. Through the university, interns are paid for their work during the summer.

After interning this summer, five students were offered continuous employment through the organization they worked with.

Interns are also connected with various Puget Sound alumni. For one hour a week, alums visit students to talk about their career and networking.

According to Rebecca Pettitt, students have a wide range of organizations to intern with, such as “well-known music production companies, county coroners, physical therapy clinics, large financial companies such as Russell and non-profit organizations such as Emergency Food Network here in Tacoma.”

Experiential Learning is also trying to make more programs and summer research available abroad. “Students have pursued internships through Madrid Summers [study abroad program] or accredited programs like IES Abroad,” said Pettitt. IES Abroad, or International Education of Students, is a non-profit organization that administers study abroad programs to U.S. college students.

Another option for students is to work with a Puget Sound faculty member on a research topic in their proposed field through summer research, including the arts, humanities, or sciences. Students do not have to choose a subject that is within their major or minor.

Summer Research allocations allow for students to conduct their study abroad if that’s of interest. Jae Bates, a senior at Puget Sound, pursued an independent oral history research project in South Korea on Korean adoptees. “I was able to research with English speakers,” Bates said. “I connected through a Facebook group and made interviews with participants, who were all adoptees. According to Bates, the funding was sufficient enough to live independently and pay for necessities such as food and transportation.

To apply for the funding from the university to research abroad, students must propose a research topic, a thorough annotated bibliography related to their subject of choice and a list of classes taken to show their qualifications of conducting research independently in another country.

Despite starting up at the university only two years ago, Experiential Learning has already given undergraduates opportunities to independently research or be involved in the Tacoma community, encouraging critical thinking skills. “The common thread across all Experiential Learning programs is reflection,” Houston said.

Interested students can apply for these summer programs now through Career and Employment Services.

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