Praxis III Students Celebrate a Semester of Learning with Poster Session

Posted May 17th, 2012 at 3:48 pm.

Through Bryn Mawr’s Praxis Program, students integrate theory and classroom practice with active, relevant fieldwork in a way that goes beyond most traditional internship experiences.

There are three levels of Praxis courses, which require increasing amounts of fieldwork. Praxis I and II courses are offered within a variety of academic departments and are developed by faculty members in those departments.  Praxis III courses are independent studies and are developed by individual students, in collaboration with faculty and field supervisors.

On April 30, students engaged in Spring 2012 Praxis III courses celebrated a semester of learning with a poster session in the Campus Center.

Among those presenting was biology major Brooke Willis ’13, who did research at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital on a cellular molecule that may be useful in the treatment and understanding of stress and depression.

“In addition to the work I was doing in the lab, there was a lot of existing research that I had to be familiar with,” said Willis at the poster session. “The Praxis program gave me the time I needed to have a deeper understanding of the work I was doing.”

Willis plans to continue her work this summer and to use it as the basis for her thesis.

“I’m pretty sure this is the sort of work I want to do with my life, and the Praxis program helped me find that out,” Willis adds.

History of art major Jillian Payne-Johnson ’12 didn’t need to travel far to get the hands-on experience associated with her Praxis III course. She completed her fieldwork at the College’s Collections, working with Curator/Academic Liaison Brian Wallace.

Payne-Johnson, who hopes to become a curator one day herself, worked closely with Wallace in preparing and publicizing the Georg von Peschke exhibit and researching artists in a new collection that the College is considering acquiring.

“When I started Brian called me his student assistant; now he calls me his friend and colleague,” said Payne-Johnson at the poster session. The experience was invaluable, she said.

Jessica Tan’s Praxis III field placement was spent with PennEnvironment, a statewide, citizen-based environmental-advocacy organization.

During her time with PennEnvironment, the group’s activism centered on opposition to the expansion of Marcellus Shale drilling throughout Pennsylvania.

“This was a perfect opportunity for me to combine all my interests,” said Tan, a junior. “Because I’m an economics major and a biology minor, I see both sides of the argument.  I understand that corporations want to increase production and revenue but I also understand the environmental effects.”

For more on the Praxis Program, including student and faculty resources, visit the program website.

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