June Experiential Learning Roundup | Trinity University
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June Experiential Learning Roundup

Friday, July 5, 2019
a collage of students participating in experiential learning

Tigers spend their summers conducting research, in internships, building businesses, and studying abroad

by Kale Ridge '21

Throughout this summer, more than 275 Trinity students are pursuing meaningful undergraduate research on campus, interning across the country, or studying abroad around the world—all part of lifelong learning found at the heart of the Trinity experience. Check out what our students have been up to during the month of June!

Oxytocin 

Devon Patel ’21 has been working to understand the cognitive effects of drug abuse by looking at how alcohol affects learning, memory, natural reward systems, and how consistent drinking in combination with stress affect different types of learning. The ultimate goal of Patel’s research is to use oxytocin as a form of therapy to alleviate and reduce the effects of stress induced alcohol addiction resulting from traumatic events. Patel’s research could result in a cheaper and easier way to treat addiction than methods currently available.

Surfactants 

Jordan McMurry ’21 began working on this project in the spring of her freshman year. Now in her second summer of work McMurry views the future of the project in a positive fashion. In layman's terms, McMurry is conducting chemistry research. In reality she is experimenting with different surfactants in order to produce a light which reacts only when disease is present. McMurry sees her work helping people around the globe in the future as it is a cheap and easy way to detect disease without specialized equipment making it the perfect tool to fight diseases such as HIV in resource limited areas.

On the "S-Curve"

When most accounting and finance double majors talk about an “S-curve”, they typically mean sales growth. For Jenna Flexner '20, it means a healthy spinal curve. This summer, Jenna is interning at mello{be}, a company that produces meditation cushions aimed at improving your posture. At the startup Jenna runs social media, works on the company website, helps with software, and is establishing accounting procedures for inventory. Jenna says it’s impossible to understate the value of her Students+Startups experience. Her internship hosts “truly went out of their way to ensure that I was making connections with the community around me.”

Fight Against Alzheimer's

Thomas Lauerman ’21 is using motion-capture equipment to fight Alzheimer's. Thomas, a computer science major from Frisco, Texas, is helping GaitIQ build an app that will enable a crucial early diagnosis of the disease. “My computer science skills are pretty much directly coming in handy,” Thomas says. “My experience has been awesome so far, on all counts.” This is Thomas’s first job in the field of computer science, so he says he’s focused on “getting into the groove” of working on deadlines for a large project. Thomas is most excited by brainstorming ideas for the app, and seeing them come to life. Thomas has also gotten to work with motion capture equipment during the development process. 

La Trinidad Methodist Church

Jamiless Lopez is conducting research here in San Antonio with Angela Tarango, Ph.D., to archive the history of La Trinidad Methodist Church in downtown. The church was founded in 1876 by Mexican store owners who immigrated to San Antonio. Now, almost 150 years later, the same families responsible for founding the church have descendants that are still active members. Although assimilation has taken place and families have moved further away from downtown San Antonio, the same families return every Sunday for service. Her work involves going through old archives and digitizing them, spending time with the people, and using oral history to research and better understand the communities ties to the church and their cultural identity. 

Philosophy for Children 

Andja Bjeletich '21 is attempting to create a program for children that serves to teach them philosophical ideas and break down the study into something that is not an elitist study. Rather than allowing the study of philosophy to be a realm of study accessible only to those born in an ivory tower, Bjeletich and Judith Norman, Ph.D., are attempting to bring philosophy to children. The pair see philosophy as something people use everyday, and describe critical decision making and logical reasoning as the very heart of philosophy. At this point Bjeletich has been studying philosophy and educating himself through books, camps, and other observations to help prepare philosophical curriculum with Norman that is both understandable and accessible for children. 

Shanghai Program

Held on the campus of China’s No. 3-ranked Jiao Tong University (SJTU), Trinity’s Shanghai summer program includes two weeks of daily lectures covering diverse topics relevant to the political and economic relationship between the People’s Republic of China and the United States of America. Led by professors Mario Gonzalez-Fuentes, Bladimir Ruiz, Tianxi Dong, and Rosana Blanco-Cano students will be required to complete an intensive course with masters students from Jiaotong University which will be followed up with an internship at various prestigious international companies. 

Global City Berlin

Peter O’Brien, Ph.D. led a group of students through Berlin, Germany, as they studied the effects of globalization on the contemporary world. Under O’Brien’s tutelage Trinity students participating in the Global City Berlin program studied how large-scale immigration, in particular, has brought together people of diverse nationalities, languages, religions, races and cultures who in earlier times would most likely not have inhabited the same space in order to better understand the modern disruption of the nation-state model via extensive ethnic and religious diversity. Check out the class blog.

Madrid Summer Program

The Madrid Summer Internship Program led by Katsuo Nishikawa-Chavez, Ph.D., is a six-week program to live, work, and study in Madrid, Spain. Launched in 2005, the course known as “The Spanish Economy and the European Union” appeals to students seeking degrees in Spanish, business administration, or economics. While studying abroad students have a programed activity every weekend that will allow them to visit locations around Spain including places such as Malaga, Salamanca, and Toledo. 


Kale Ridge is a rising junior and the writing intern for the Office of Strategic Communications and Marketing who can’t wait to fix his posture. He can be reached via email at kridge [at] trinity.edu.