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Experience of a Lifetime

Friday, May 31, 2019
Collage of EXL opportunities

Tigers embark on unprecedented experiential learning opportunities in summer 2019

by Jeremy Gerlach

For 150 years, Trinity students have jumped headfirst into real-world experiences.

This summer, Tigers are taking on internships, launching businesses, immersing in international connections through faculty-led study abroad programs, and discovering new truths about themselves and the world through undergraduate research.

At Trinity, experiential learning is more than words on a whiteboard: it’s a spirit of collaboration and enterprise that has remained rooted in Trinity’s culture for more than a century. See how Trinity is using experiential learning this summer to cultivate a community of lifelong learners through the areas of entrepreneurship, internships, undergraduate research, and international engagement.

Chikanma Ibeh at Stumberg competition


At Trinity, entrepreneurs don’t have to wait to gain experience in the world of startups, and many Tigers actually launch their own businesses!

Summer Accelerator

Part of Trinity’s annual Stumberg Venture Competition, the summer accelerator program gives the winners of the competition’s first round a 10-week boost for their developing businesses. The accelerator provides free on-campus housing and $10-per-hour pay for up to three student founders per team.

These groups then refine their product over those ten 40-hour workweeks that summer, as well as through workshops with seasoned entrepreneurs who specialize in the areas where the teams need to grow. These five teams then compete for the grand prize of $25,000 in the final round the following fall.

This year, keep an eye out for coverage on the five finalists: StorySpread, heARTful, ProjecTech, La Escuela de Estella, and Skate Cuff, which represent an incredibly diverse set of products, services, skills, and interests. These include digital storytelling, electric skateboard anti-theft technology, mariachi education, accessible art galleries for people with developmental disabilities, and a high-powered motorcycle turn signal projection.

Interns work in Geekdom

Students + Startups

Since 2016, Students+Startups has placed Tigers right in the middle of San Antonio’s exploding startup scene.

The program matches students with internships at a variety of San Antonio startups for the summer. This initiative is funded by the 80|20 Foundation and run in partnership with Geekdom, a unique coworking space in downtown San Antonio. This year, nearly 40 Trinity students will intern with local startups, and for the first time ever, the program has accepted students from universities across the nation. In total, 69 students will be participating in Students+Startups this summer.

These companies include firms in engineering, coding and development, finance, accounting, data analysis, research and operations, marketing, communications and content, user experience and user interface design, and food science.

Students+Startups has also started accepting companies run by Trinity undergraduates as employers. In 2019, entrepreneurs from medical startup PATCH Technologies and caffeine dynamo Quick Sip Coffee (both Stumberg Venture Competition champions) even began hiring their fellow classmates through the program.

Students research in Utah

Undergraduate Research

At Trinity, undergraduate research is about more than crunching data doomed for the dusty back pages of an academic journal. From the University’s very first steps into undergraduate research, our students have made breakthroughs that enact real change.

These breakthroughs aren’t limited to fields in STEM or the humanities; in some cases, our students have tackled projects that bridge both! Regardless of academic field, Trinity’s support for undergraduate research empowers Tigers to dig deeper, all under the tutelage of qualified professors.

Grants from the Andrew W. Mellon foundation and Murchison Fellowships provide funding for summer projects in a variety of academic fields. Students stay in the residence halls free of charge and devote themselves exclusively to research for the summer. In summer 2018, these grants funded 138 students and 70 faculty mentors, representing more than 80 percent of academic departments on campus.

These student researchers present their findings at Trinity’s annual Undergraduate Research Symposium, held inside the Center for the Sciences and Innovation at the conclusion of the summer break.

Students in Madrid

International Engagement

In 2019, Trinity students are taking part in faculty-led study abroad programs spanning locations in Madrid, China, Germany, and Japan.

In Madrid, Tigers spend six weeks interning for Spanish companies, taking classes led by Trinity faculty, and spend their evenings immersed in Madrid’s vibrant culture. The program includes outings to Malaga, Salamanca, and Toledo, as well as the Champions League final, Europe’s premier soccer showdown.

In the Global City Berlin program, students stay in the city and visit loads of museums and monuments, experiencing the multicultural side of Berlin and learning how Berliners have integrated their society.

As part of the Shanghai Summer Internship Program students spend a week in Beijing and visit the forbidden city and the Great Wall. Then in Shanghai, students spend an intense class week studying at Jiao Tong University, the top business school in Asia, with Chinese graduate students as classmates, all while working on a collaborative project. Then, students complete internships all around the city.

In the Japan program, students spend their first week in Tokyo, then move to the Kobe and Osaka areas. Students take classes with Japanese students, led by Trinity faculty, at Kwansei Gakuin University. They also visit the Hiroshima peace memorial and meet a survivor of the attack, participate in a Zen meditation at a temple, tour a Toyota factory, and go to Kyoto and Nara.

Finally, through Ecological Civilizations of China, held in Zhuhai, students visit the campus of United International College, the first liberal arts school in China. They take classes with Trinity and UIC professors, study diversity and ecology and sustainability, do field work, and participate in cultural activities, such as traditional arts, Chinese music, calligraphy, Tai-chi, and archery.

ALE interns work in office


At Trinity, internships are about more than literally—and figuratively—making copies. Internships help Tigers unleash talent that is tough to replicate.

For generations, Trinity has connected its students to career opportunities through internships across Texas, the United States, and the globe. Regardless of academic major or presumed career field, Trinity interns have discovered why the University has always prided itself on experiential education: because there’s no teacher like experience.  


Founded in 2013, the Arts, Letters, and Enterprise (A.L.E.) program is Trinity’s one-of-a-kind connection between the liberal arts classroom and the professional world.

A.L.E. places Tigers in highly competitive, paid internships in nonprofits across San Antonio and other U.S. cities. In 2018, A.L.E. summer interns partnered with 21 nonprofits, ranging from arts enterprises such as the San Antonio Symphony to political offices such as Sen. John Cornyn ’73 (R-TX) and Texas state Rep. Diego Bernal (D). This year, 18 students will be part of the A.L.E. summer internship program.

In total, A.L.E. has generated more than 53 internships so far at 28 of these partner nonprofits and organizations in the community. Students selected for these opportunities have come from 29 total majors.

In 2019, this program grew to include school-year internships, thanks to new funding from USAA and strong institutional support.