From July 20-21, Trinity’s Center for Experiential Learning and Career Success (CELCS) and Academic Affairs hosted the 2023 Summer Undergraduate Research and Internship Symposium in the Center for the Sciences and Innovation. More than 200 students, under the guidance of more than 90 faculty and staff mentors, gathered to celebrate the end of 10 weeks of hands-on learning.
“Whether an internship or research experience, hands-on learning allows our students to utilize the variety of skills and knowledge gleaned through the liberal arts curriculum,” says Katie Ramirez, director of CELCS. “Summer research and sponsored internship programs like those we offer are known as high-impact practices, offering a platform for immersive and transformative learning. Students engage in meaningful research or internship projects that bridge theory to practice, allowing them to develop critical thinking, hone skill sets, explore career paths, make connections, and more.”
While students got to make connections with their mentors and employers over the summer, during the symposium, they got to connect with fellow students and alumni. In addition to the traditional live oral sessions and poster presentations, this year’s event featured an alumni panel of former summer researchers and interns Maeve Armand '23, Taylor Black '23, and Malik Ross '23, who each summarized the value of their summer experiences with one word—growth, authentic, and inspirational, respectively.
“This year, we decided to change from a traditional keynote to a panel format, allowing students to learn from former participants' journeys, accomplishments, and pathways. Having navigated these experiences in the past, panelists were able to share their unique perspectives and practical advice,” Ramirez says. “Hearing reflections and thoughts from those further ahead in their journeys shows the various ways summer experiences can impact and connect to students' future goals.”
The undergraduate researchers spent their summers researching topics across all disciplines alongside their faculty or staff mentors. These research projects were sponsored by Trinity programs such as the Murchison Fellowships, the Mellon Initiative, and the McNair Scholars Program, as well as the prestigious National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. From cutting-edge scientific breakthroughs to innovative advancements in various disciplines to deep dives into cultural and regional storytelling and even highlighting music and the performing arts, these research students displayed the breadth of interdisciplinarity and curiosity that are embedded in the Trinity experience.
Bridging the gap between academia and industry, students participated in internships offered by Trinity’s Arts, Letters, and Enterprise Program; Donahue; Mexico, the Americas, and Spain/Alvarez; the Stumberg Accelerator; and Trinity-affiliated private donors. During their presentations, student interns shared their insights, challenges, and success stories from the invaluable real-world business and nonprofit experience they gained this summer.
The Summer Undergraduate Research and Internship Symposium is a yearly reminder that hands-on learning is at the heart of the Trinity experience and is a unique opportunity for faculty, staff, and students to come together and celebrate their successes.
“This was the second symposium in-person since COVID,” says LadyStacie Rimes-Boyd, J.D., associate director of Campus Relations for CELCS. “The symposium is such an important event because it is one of its kind on campus—solely dedicated to the undergraduate research and internship experiences of Trinity students. We are extremely proud to once again usher it into existence and see it flourish.”