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Experiential Learning Showcase by Emily Geno

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On Thursday and Friday, April 10th and 11th, Fintel Library was filled with poster presentations and exhibits, displaying the work of over 200 Roanoke students who completed experiential learning projects this semester.

Attendees wandered around students’ displays of internships, service-learning projects, research, and creative/artistic works, and were encouraged to ask questions about students’ experiences. Roanoke students showed the many interesting things they have done this semester, from creating historical exhibits in the Bank Building to tutoring and mentoring children in local schools.

Dr. Rich Grant, the Director of Experiential Learning at Roanoke, emphasized the importance of experiential learning by saying, “Some students are already able to connect the dots between course work and experiential learning opportunities and many take full advantage of what we offer… We call these students ‘power-users.’ They come in as freshmen planning to study abroad. They dive right into research and intern at local businesses. We want all our students to have the opportunity to be power-users. We want them to come in expecting to participate and finding the opportunities and guidance they need to do so.”

According to Dr. Grant, showcases like this one help students articulate their experiences to external audiences. The showcases also advertise the great work that Roanoke students are doing, and they help build the culture of Roanoke College as one that is intellectually engaged. Those in attendance enjoyed viewing and hearing stories of all the work Roanoke students have done this semester.

I myself was able to participate in the showcase because I went on an Alternative Spring Break trip to Nicaragua. I presented my experiences to faculty, staff, and the other students in attendance. When I had to articulate what I had learned over and over, I processed it even further and I realized how grateful I am for the opportunity Roanoke had given me. It was very intriguing to see all the things Roanoke students are capable of and the wide variety of topics they are interested in. I think that the whole event proved that Roanoke College students are setting the school apart, one experience at a time.