Physio Psych Service-Learning
Each semester, my Physiological Psychology students complete a two-part project in which they apply their knowledge to the community through acts of service. The project is meant to be simple but powerful. Students volunteer for organizations twice during the semester and follow both with short papers in which they 1) link physiological concepts to their experiences, then B) propose three physiologically-founded improvements.
Service-learning is characterized by a deliberate connection between academic curriculum and community service. Students’ service is a component of course curriculum and becomes a vehicle for learning course material. Students reflect on their service, relate it to coursework, and evaluate what they are learning. Service-learning also provides students the opportunity to hone job skills.
While certainly appearing a daunting and time-consuming task at first, most students earn 100% on their papers (after rough draft corrections), appreciate the "push" to get out of their comfort zones, use their knowledge outside of the classroom, and create unforgettable, enriching experiences for all parties involved. These assignments are NOT grammar, APA-style, punctuation, or syntax-heavy. Instead, these papers are journalistic. We look for conceptual application and love a narrative. In fact, the last paragraph of each paper prompts students to discuss their opinions and thoughts about the experience. For some of our favorite organizations this semester (spring 2019), check out this page: Physio Psych Service-Learning Organizations
Anonymous Course Evaluation Comments:
- "At first I was apprehensive to the whole assignment. It sounded a bit intense, as the course carried on I felt more and more prepared for the assignment. I absolutely loved the assignment and feel it 100% made me take this class out of a text book and apply it to the world around me."
- "Overall, this was an enjoyable experience. I got to interact with a lot of really cool families, eat a lot of popcorn and watch one of my childhood favorites. The days before this opportunity, I was feeling pretty down and stressed from a number of different things but being able to meet and socialize with all these friendly people really boosted my mood and helped me stabilize myself. Observing all the kids playing and living life so carefree has really led me to start considering what ways I can get my mindset back to a similar state as when I was younger, even if life is a million times more stressful now."
- "I think it’s a wonderful thing to implement in courses in general and I hope more courses do so, I’ve enjoyed stepping out and applying my knowledge towards helping others, it makes what we do in class more memorable and worthwhile."
- "I used to volunteer all the time in high school and, due to my own mismanagement of time/priorities, I stopped volunteering once I hit college. Having this assignment force me back into the volunteering world was amazing. I had forgotten how much I loved it and didn't realized how much I missed it until now. Thank you for that."
- "I liked the fact that the assignment required us to see how the content really does apply to the real world. The content isn't just an academic section to study, but a real-life experience that people go through every day."
- "I'm excited to know that I made a difference!"
ASU Brain Fair
Psi Chi Graduate Student Panelist
- Represented TTU's Cognition & Cognitive Neuroscience division; described central themes in cognition/neuroscience, major areas of lab research, and career possibilities.
- Helped organize, schedule, lead, and facilitate discussion in weekly brown bag meetings for the cognitive division.
- Student Government Graduate Student Representative
- Cognitive Division Visit Day Coordinator
- PhD Candidate Housing/Transportation
- Mentored undergraduate students with school experiences such as career options, research experience, applying to graduate school, writing tips, interviews, etc. Also responsible for inviting guest speakers and aiding in recruitment/attendance.
- Served as an invited panelist and speaker over teaching suggestions for graduate student instructors. Hosted teaching workshops, provided personalized teaching feedback, facilitated discussion with small groups of graduate students who qualified for the three-day intensive program.
- Invited panel speaker, provided advice over experiences as a teaching assistant for beginning graduate instructors at Texas Tech University.