Did you know that SAMRU has a learning fund dedicated solely to ensuring students can participate in experiential learning activities? If you are wondering just what an experiential learning experience is, we sat down with MRU student Megan Davidson, and she shared her experience using the fund!
Experiential learning can be defined as initiatives that allow students to apply concepts in practice to solve real-world situations, actively make decisions, and then reflect on the outcomes or consequences of their choices. This process is done through the Experiential Learning Fund program, and Megan will help explain what that looks like next.
Megan Davidson is a 3rd-year criminal justice student with a minor in Psychology. She is currently the President of the Golden Key Society and an internationally recognized honours and academic club. In the future, she hopes to pursue a master’s in forensic psychology and wants to work for the Government of Canada. In the Fall 2021 semester, Megan applied to the Experiential Learning Fund (ELF) to attend a 3-day international crime prevention conference hosted by an organization in Sweden. Luckily, she recorded all of the workshops and kept them to review. “The conference was an absolutely amazing experience,” reflects Megan, “I’ll definitely watch out for the time different next time I attend something, though 9 hours was a huge time difference!” Despite the time difference, Megan shared some benefits from participating in the ELF program:
“I got to connect with a lot of great professionals and peers that are doing research in the subject [correctional physcology] area I am planning on pursuing. It was a plus that I was able to connect and network with them through the conference!”
“I was able to see my peers in action,” says Megan, “the conference was meant for people at the level I want to be. There were speakers from 8-9 different countries at the international conference. The speakers got into the nitty-gritty of their research; it feels great to be around that energy. You know people who are as into the topic as you are.” Megan explained how she was exposed to the trends of research in the global community, allowing for her to absorb more information and be inspired by some of these new ideas.
“One of the biggest highlights of the conference for me was seeing how India approaches such complex problems [surrounding correctional facilities] and uses the same theory we’ve had for decades and centuries but infuses its approach based on the cultures of its society.”
The SAMRU ELF program allows students to experience learning outside the classroom while causing them to reflect on their experiences and how they contributed to their overall university journey. Students are asked to apply to the ELF by filling out this Google Form. “Dustin at SAMRU was great and helped me with any questions. Applying to the ELF doesn’t necessarily mean ‘write a 10-page paper; it was a few questions,” explains Megan and she would definitely do it again.
“I would 100% recommend for other students to apply, after finding out easy it is to apply for ELF, I want to reapply for the future. It is not a hugely daunting task, there are many opportunities out there for students to learn There are so many things we as students want to do. These are cool conferences that add so much to our education, but we may not necessarily pay ourselves so having the funding and support for SAMRU means a lot it is really important. I felt fully supported the whole way,” explains Megan. Many experiences are eligible to be funded through the ELF.
Students who are interested in pursuing learning opportunities and experiential learning are invited to visit samru.ca/elf for more information about the program.