Professional Development

Students have also seen the benefits of Experiential Learning after graduation, applying their tailored education to their professional lives. Professional development exists as a core goal of many Trinity faculty members who incorporate Experiential Learning in their classroom. Internships and research in both STEM and the humanities train students for a future work environment by giving them a sample of the work in their desired field. Some classes in economics, business, and sport management prepare students for their field by pairing student teams with a real client, giving them the experience of preparing a product or plan for a professional customer. These classes allow students to learn and make mistakes in a safe learning environment.







Sunshine Cottage

From 1969-1971, Trinity University’s education department worked in conjunction with Sunshine Cottage, a school for deaf children. Sunshine Cottage allowed Trinity students in education to obtain practical experience in a classroom. In 1969, June Grant’s “Speech Development and Auditory Training for the Deaf” class required students to teach a lesson to students at the Cottage. Students and their professors could then judge the effectiveness of their peers’ lessons through evaluations at the end of each class. The student-teachers taught at two academic levels: beginner and advanced.

1970: Sunshine Cottage
Trinity student Kitty Frickle teaches a speech lesson that she created to Sunshine Cottage students Donna Jo Barrett and Lisa Lopez.
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Mellon Initiative

The Mellon Initiative for Undergraduate Research provides students and faculty with opportunities to work individually in teams to conduct research in a shared interest or field. Over the course of a summer, students and faculty researchers can develop a product or presentation to showcase at an end-of-summer symposium to display the fruits of their research. In 2013, the Mellon Initiative received its first five-year grant that would secure funding needed for more research projects. The Mellon Initiative provides valuable research experience for students, assists them in determining a career path, and teaches them the skills needed to research and successfully manage time.

2016: Mellon Initiative
Benjamin Collinger, Class of 2019, attends an interfaith dialogue event at the Oblate School of Theology as part of his Mellon Initiative research titled “Developing a Religious Diversity Profile of San Antonio.” Collinger interviewed members of religious communities throughout San Antonio, under the guidance of his mentor, religion professor Dr. Simran Jeet Singh.

“[The Mellon Initiative] provides a holistic, diverse educational experience, a true liberal arts educational experience, where [students] get to do different types of academic work… and then they can decide what they really want to do with their lives.”

Dr. Chad Spigel Director of the Mellon Initiative for Undergraduate Research in the Arts and Humanities at Trinity University
1970s and ’80s Liberal Arts Internships
Before 1974, the business world desired interns that were highly specialized in their field and already knew the skills to succeed in the workplace. By the 1970s, trends began to shift away from field specialization towards leadership skills such as written and verbal communication and research. This change allowed liberal arts majors entrance into fields that once required specialized training. In 1974, Kris Kliemann experienced this first-hand when, as an English major, he obtained a position at a publishing house, a profession that frequently preferred trained interns. Kliemann quickly rose through the ranks, gaining a leadership position, demonstrating the desirability of a liberal arts background in leadership roles.