As senior year approached for Angelica-Mae Corral, she was very anxious and overwhelmed when it came to figuring out her next step after graduation. She was majoring in general biology with a minor in two fields — environmental science and resource management and education, learning and society. She knew she wanted to go into teaching; she just had to find the right path.
“The resources available were very minimal,” she explained, “So after talks with my adviser and mentor Jenee Myers-Twitchell [faculty in the College of Education], and other undergraduates in similar positions as mine, I thought it would be great if there was a crash course for students to figure out what they want to do in teaching.”
So, Advocates Proposing Purposeful Learning Environments (APPLE) was born.
Corral is one of more than 120 UW undergraduates who will be presenting at this year’s Spring Celebration of Service and Leadership on April 28. The annual event showcases student work that enriches and benefits local non-profit organizations, schools and campus programs.
“My project [APPLE] is an undergraduate student club dedicated to those interested in education,” Corral said. “… We have been focusing our efforts on helping our members and other undergrads prepare for post-college life, particularly those who are interested in careers in teaching. To do that I collaborated with the Pipeline Project and another senior undergrad, Stephanie Gove, in developing a seminar dedicated to exploring the different pathways to teaching. We hope to well-inform our students in all the options they have, and to inspire them to choose the one that fits them best in becoming a teacher.”
Corral will be going to UCLA to become a biology teacher through its Secondary Teacher Education Program. But while putting together the project, she found that there are many paths to a career in teaching.
“I think the most challenging part was choosing which programs and pathways to highlight. There are so many ways you can get into teaching, whether it is a traditional graduate teacher education program or an alternative program like Teach for America and Peace Corps. It was important for us to highlight the spectrum of ways. But it is hard to highlight them all, or get adequate information about each.”
Michaelann Jundt, the director of the Carlson Leadership and Public Service Center said, “Students’ engagement in campus and community life is at the heart of the Spring Celebration. In a year in which we saw participation in community programs and service-learning increase by 50 percent, we are excited to bring students together to share what they are contributing and what they are learning.”
Also interested in education, freshman Dawn Tuason will be at the Spring Celebration presenting her experiences volunteering in Forks, WA during spring break. She went as part of the Pipeline Project’s Alternative Spring Break Literature Project.
“College students travel to various locations in Washington during their spring break to mentor students in the art of book making,” Tuason explained. Students like Tuason helped younger students create a book using stories that the students wrote throughout the week.
“It’s a chance to tell a student that they don’t have to be anyone but themselves, that they can act their age and dream of a world they would love to be a part of and how they would make it a better place to live.”
During the 2008-2009 academic year alone, more than 4,200 UW students participated in University-sponsored service learning programs like Alternative Spring Break. The UW was even on the 2009 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, which is the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement. UW is the only public, four-year institution in Washington state to receive the recognition this year.
The Spring Celebration shows first-hand the diversity of community issues in which undergraduates are involved — from literacy to mentorship to global development and the environment.
“I like how the Spring Celebration of Service and Leadership allows me to showcase my projects to the community,” said sophomore Bryan Dosono, who participated in the 2009 Spring Celebration. “It was also a great way find out about other opportunities that my peers have initiated within the University District and the greater Seattle area.”
Dosono will also be presenting this year about his work with InterConnection. According to its website, it is a non-profit whose mission is “to provide computers to underserved people and communities around the world. From our Seattle-based computer recycling and reuse programs to schools and organizations far and wide, we make a connection that makes a difference. We create opportunity through computer reuse.”
The sophomore said that he came across InterConnection while doing some research online.
“I really value its mission statement,” he said. “My favorite experiences with InterConnection are when I tear apart old computer hardware and salvage the components that are still functional and intact. These salvaged components will be reused to refurbish other second-hand computers that will be internationally shipped to low-income communities… like schools in Chile, Kenya, and Vietnam.”
Charles Atkinson is another student presenting his work at the Spring Celebration. The senior in Biology and Public Health is in the process of filming a documentary about homelessness in Seattle.
“It examines the institutional causes and effects of homelessness,” said Atkinson. “The goal of this project is to educate the greater public about homelessness and to inspire action toward a permanent solution.”
He had previously worked with the homeless in many capacities, “most recently teaching a weekly resume workshop at the Downtown Emergency Services Center. My experience working with the homeless inspired my commitment to human rights and social justice causes. When faced with the widespread injustice and ignorance of a society that builds its prosperity on the backs of the poor, you have to act.”
Atkinson said that his favorite part was interviewing people on the street.
“The individuals that I have worked with are unique and inspiring. We are working together to raise awareness about homelessness and inform public policy to end it. It’s not ‘helping’ in the traditional sense of the word.”
He plans to complete the film by the end of this quarter.
These students and many more will be presenting at the Spring Celebration of Service and Leadership. The event is 3:30 — 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 28 in the Mary Gates Hall Commons.