For this assignment, my partner Sharda and I met up in Cafe Parnassus to discuss our interests in Experiential Learning opportunities. She explained that her current academic interests were scientifically-oriented and that she was intending to major in Neurobiology and minor in Chemistry. At the moment, she participates in undergraduate research with a neuroscience lab and is an editor for the journal Grey Matters. She is hoping to begin writing for them in the upcoming quarters.
Although Sharda is already doing research in neurobiology, she would also like to gain experience by working in a chemistry research lab. She feels that she is not familiar enough with the field yet so as to be able to narrow down her interest to a specific subtopic. For this reason, I believe that looking at the different opportunities offered in CHEM 199 or CHEM 299 research projects may be beneficial. Juniors and seniors may also participate in higher level labs, which are shown on the same website [http://depts.washington.edu/chem/undergrad/ugresearch.html]. Topics being studied range from malaria to inorganic molecules to the malfunctioning of chemical signaling between cells in different diseases. Therefore, there are plenty of options, with varying time commitments, that she would be able to choose from.
In addition to undergraduate research, Sharda is hoping to find a service learning opportunity related to neurobiology and psychology. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) immediately came to mind. This is a grassroots organization, which relies heavily on volunteers to help raise awareness and educate members of the local community about mental health challenges and stigma. It also works to provide referrals and support to those suffering. Even if she is unable to commit to a weekly volunteering time slot, there are individual events such as NAMIWALKS, which she could talk part in, although they would not qualify as an Experiential Learning activity. [http://www.nami-greaterseattle.org]
Lastly, Sharda expressed interest in going on a study abroad trip to Europe. The greatest challenge she faces when considering this opportunity is the time commitment because completing a major in Neurobiology and a minor in Chemistry doesn’t leave her with much wiggle room in terms of required courses. In order to accommodate this busy schedule, I think the four week summer trip to Rome would be a great option. It is a way to fulfill many Honors credits, experience a new country and culture, and to do so while not interfering with mandatory classes, often offered only autumn through spring quarter. Additionally, there are Honors classes offered during summer B-term, which she could take if she is looking to tackle even more courses in July and August. A description of the 2017 trip to Rome is not yet available, but this is the link to that of the 2016 study abroad, which is likely similar in nature [https://depts.washington.edu/uwhonors/international/rome-summer/].
I enjoyed conversing with Sharda, and during the process of researching opportunities she might enjoy, I also stumbled upon a couple that I would love to participate in. It was a productive interview.