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Self-Driven Service Learning: Community-Student-Faculty Collaboratives Outside of the Classroom

    Authors: Verónica A. Segarra1,8,*, Alexandra A. DeLucia3,††, Alyssa A. DeLucia3,††, Renee Fonseca1,††, Michael P. Penfold3,††, Katlyn M. Sawyer1,††, Cecelia M. Harold3,9, Courtney Reddig3, Ashima Singh3, Ibrahim Musri4, Jacqueline C. Wright3, J. J. Leissing2, Samantha Dennis2, Mary Catherine Pflug5, Niki Fogle6, Monique Moore6, Sade Sims6, Kelsey Matteson3, Meredith Hein7
    VIEW AFFILIATIONS HIDE AFFILIATIONS
    Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Rollins College, Winter Park, FL 32789; 2: Orlando Science Center, Orlando, FL 32803; 3: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Program, Rollins College, Winter Park, FL 32789; 4: Department of Chemistry, Rollins College, Winter Park, FL 32789; 5: Department of International Business, Rollins College, Winter Park, FL 32789; 6: Department of Education, Rollins College, Winter Park, FL 32789; 7: Center for Leadership and Community Engagement, Rollins College, Winter Park, FL 32789
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Supplemental materials available at http://jmbe.asm.org
    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: Department of Biology, High Point University, 833 Montlieu Avenue, High Point, North Carolina 27268. Phone: 336-841-9507. E-mail: vsegarra@highpoint.edu.
    • †† These authors contributed equally to the work.
      8 Current affiliation: Department of Biology, High Point University, High Point, NC 2726,
      9 Current affiliation: Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461
    • ©2015 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2015 vol. 16 no. 2 260-262. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v16i2.940
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    Abstract:

    Service learning is a community engagement pedagogy often used in the context of the undergraduate classroom to synergize course-learning objectives with community needs. We find that an effective way to catalyze student engagement in service learning is for student participation to occur outside the context of a graded course, driven by students’ own interests and initiative. In this paper, we describe the creation and implementation of a self-driven service learning program and discuss its benefits from the community, student, and faculty points of view. This experience allows students to explore careers in the sciences as well as identify skill strengths and weaknesses in an environment where mentoring is available but where student initiative and self-motivation are the driving forces behind the project’s success. Self-driven service learning introduces young scientists to the idea that their careers serve a larger community that benefits not only from their discoveries but also from effective communication about how these discoveries are relevant to everyday life.

References & Citations

1. Arangala C2013Developing curiosity in science with serviceJ Civic Commit20110
2. Brownell SE, Price JV, Steinman L2013Science communication to the general public: why we need to teach undergraduate and graduate students this skill as part of their formal scientific trainingJ Undergrad Neurosci Educ121E6E10243193993852879
3. Corporation for National and Community Service Learn and Serve America (LSA)2013Strengthening STEM education through service-learning: highlights from the 2010 Learn and Serve America higher education STEM grantsCampus CompactBoston, MA[Online.] http://www.compact.org/resources/strengthening-stem-education-through-service-learning-2013Accessed 5 May 2015
4. Cress CM, Collier PJ, Reitenauer VL2005Learning through serving: a student guidebook for service-learning across the disciplinesStylus PublishingSterling, VA
5. Kendall JC1990Combining service and learningNational Society for Internships and Experiential EducationRaleigh, NC
6. Kozoll RH, Osborne MD2004Finding meaning in science: lifeworld, identity, and selfSci Educ882s:15718110.1002/sce.10108 http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/sce.10108
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2015-12-01
2017-11-24

Abstract:

Service learning is a community engagement pedagogy often used in the context of the undergraduate classroom to synergize course-learning objectives with community needs. We find that an effective way to catalyze student engagement in service learning is for student participation to occur outside the context of a graded course, driven by students’ own interests and initiative. In this paper, we describe the creation and implementation of a self-driven service learning program and discuss its benefits from the community, student, and faculty points of view. This experience allows students to explore careers in the sciences as well as identify skill strengths and weaknesses in an environment where mentoring is available but where student initiative and self-motivation are the driving forces behind the project’s success. Self-driven service learning introduces young scientists to the idea that their careers serve a larger community that benefits not only from their discoveries but also from effective communication about how these discoveries are relevant to everyday life.

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Figures

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FIGURE 1

The event logo for Cell Day—one of the ways in which students chose to tie all of the stations together and to give topic continuity to the event. On the day of the event, student volunteers wore a shirt with the Cell Day logo.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2015 vol. 16 no. 2 260-262. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v16i2.940
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