EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING PROGRAM
About the Washington STEM Experiential learning Program
Experiential learning is simply learning through experience. Students and employers work cooperatively to develop intentional learning objectives which relate the skill-based work or service experience to academic knowledge gained in the classroom. These learning objectives distinguish experiential learning from regular part-time employment.
Community college students typically have few opportunities to engage in experiential hands-on learning—such as internships, co-ops, or research—that helps lead students at four-year colleges to success. When offered, experiential learning opportunities typically follow a “one-size-fits-all” model without taking into consideration unique student or employer needs.
The Washington STEM Experiential Learning Program was initiated at Olympic College in August 2012 to develop and implement a flexible model for experiential learning that allows community college students pursuing degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) to obtain hands-on, real-world experiences early in their education and concurrently establish sustainable and mutually beneficial relationships with regional employers and the broader community.
- I am a student at Olympic College. How do I get involved?
- I am an employer in the region. How do I get involved?
- I work at another college or university and am interested in developing a similar experiential learning program. Where can I get more information?
Student ExperiencesMs. Becky Tuoto—Intern, Building Bridges to Bioengineering Program, University of Washington
Ms. Becky Tuoto is a member of the Olympic College Mathematics, Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) Program and has one year remaining at Olympic College before completing her Associate of Science degree. She plans to transfer to the University of Washington and major in Bioengineering or a related field.
Ms. Tuoto recently participated in a summer internship through the Building Bridges to Bioengineering Program at the University of Washington. She is working directly with Dr. Lara Gamble, Research Associate Professor, on fundamental research towards the preparation and characterization of DNA and protein microarrays.
Everything is fantastic here! Being here has allowed me to truly experience what it's like to be in research. So far I have gotten to make three different self-assembled monolayer on gold samples, observed and helped with the X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) analysis, learned how to use CasaXPS software to interpret the XPS data, and attended weekly group meetings. Dr. Lara Gamble has even invited me to attend the Nesc/Bio workshop here at UW later this month, where I will have the opportunity to learn even more about surface analysis.
Ms. Hanna Reynolds, Student Conservation Association Intern, U.S. Forest Service
Ms. Hanna Reynolds is also a member of the Olympic College MESA Program and has two quarters remaining at Olympic College before completing her Associate of Arts degree. She plans to transfer to the Western Washington University and major in Archaeology.
Ms. Reynolds recently participated as a summer Archaeology Intern in the Klamath National Forest (Yreka, California) through the Student Conservation Association and U.S. Forest Service. Her duties include inspecting public lands for cultural resources, and recording descriptive data with text, photographs, sketches and maps developed using GPS and compass pacing.
The Historic sites around here are from around the 1940's when there was a lot of gold mining in this area. There's so many around here, it’s really cool to see them, especially when there is evidence of the miners’ old campsites. Other Interns should definitely do this, it’s really cool and I don't have to pay for anything, not a cent! Plus, I get more experience in archaeology and with the Forest Service. I even get to volunteer with the other departments when I have days off, (wilderness biology and recreation). Spread the word!.
OC Wins $129,000 Washington STEM Grant
In the News
OC to Launch Dozens of STEM Internships
Grant helps Students Dream of Space
Rev: July 7, 2014 Karen Osborn