Immersive learning courses provide seniors with job skills

<p>Students Joe Schmidt, Gwyn Hultquist, and Brian Walker play a board game while professor Dave Largent watches September 16th, 2019. Largent created the immersive learning class CS4MS+ to teach computer science to K-12 minority students. <strong>Robbie Mehling, Photo Provided</strong></p>

Students Joe Schmidt, Gwyn Hultquist, and Brian Walker play a board game while professor Dave Largent watches September 16th, 2019. Largent created the immersive learning class CS4MS+ to teach computer science to K-12 minority students. Robbie Mehling, Photo Provided

In October 2020, senior creative writing major Grace Goze was paid to help create memes and playlists for Ball State’s Department of Modern Languages and Classics.

Goze is a paid student fellow at Compass Creative, an immersive learning experience where students manage the public relations of four different departments. Curating social media posts is just one of Goze’s responsibilities, as she also interviews Ball State alumni and creates graphics for College of Science and Humanities blog posts.

“The entire class worked on ‘Language Weeks,’ which was a month-long social media campaign to advertise language education here at Ball State,” she said. “We go over the analytics of our social media to track our growth, what posts are doing well and to create goals on how to continue growing and improving our content.”

Goze said Compass Creative, which she has been involved with since 2018, helped her secure an Honors College fellowship as social media manager, working “to make a Compass Creative-esqe environment.”

Goze said her time in the immersive learning program provided her with the experience necessary to apply for a Fulbright scholarship, which she plans to use to teach English in Luxembourg if she is chosen as a recipient. Although the Fulbright would take her away from Ball State, she plans to work with Compass Creative in the future.

Destiny Harvel is a senior photojournalism and English/creative writing major who has been part of Compass Creative since her junior year. Harvel is not currently enrolled in the class but works part time as the intake project manager. 

“I can use all my skills and things that I enjoy doing. I love social media, and I get to do that every day,” Harvel said. “I look at it like this is an internship, and I get room to make mistakes and mess up before I go into the real world.”

Senior computer science major Sean Wolfe has been involved in Computer Science for Middle Schoolers (CS4MS+) since the spring 2020 semester. CS4MS+ teaches computer science to elementary, middle and high school students in Muncie and the surrounding area.

Wolfe said CS4MS+ helped him develop skills important to potential careers. 

“I used CS4MS+ as a way to talk about my collaboration skills and being able to be a teacher and teach specific ideas,” Wolfe said. “It has definitely played a big role in my soft-skill development and even professional development.”

The pandemic has made it difficult for CS4MS+ to visit local schools, but Wolfe said he has still enjoyed the experience. 

“The biggest positive out of it is meetings are actually a little bit easier to schedule because we don’t actually have to go to the school,” Wolfe said. “We don’t have to account for traveling time when setting up these meetings, so that’s the nice part, but it is hard.”

Gabriella Fluhler, first-year microbiology PhD student, said her immersive learning experience with Fine Focus expanded her knowledge of publishing scientific journals.

Fine Focus is a scientific journal that features microbiology work from undergraduate students all over the world. The journal is written and published annually at Ball State. 

Fluhler was involved in Fine Focus as an undergraduate student but currently works on the editorial board along with other graduate students, which she said adds to her Ball State experience.

“Prior to the course, I wasn’t really aware of what happened to a scientific manuscript or a scientific article from the point it was written and published,” Fluhler said. “Through helping produce Fine Focus during the immersive learning course, I got to learn all about the process.”

With what these students have learned in class, they are ready to pursue their ambitions outside of college.

Contact Mackenzie Rupp with comments at msrupp@bsu.edu or on Twitter @kenzieer18.

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