Through Bryn Mawr’s Praxis Program, students integrate theory and classroom practice with active, relevant fieldwork in a way that goes beyond most traditional internship experiences.
There are three levels of Praxis courses, which require increasing amounts of fieldwork. Praxis I and II courses are offered within a variety of academic departments and are developed by faculty members in those departments. Praxis III courses are independent studies and are developed by individual students, in collaboration with faculty and field supervisors.
On May 6, students engaged in Spring 2014 Praxis III courses celebrated a semester of learning with a poster session in the Campus Center.
Among those presenting were sociology majors Hayley Burke ’15 and Sasha De La Cruz ’15, who, inspired by their experience in the 360° Women in Walled Communities, created a reading group for incarcerated women at the Riverside Correctional Facility in Philadelphia.
“After this semester I can’t imagine not doing this sort of work,” says Burke, who will be earning both her bachelor’s in sociology and master’s in social work from Bryn Mawr. “Praxis provides a space within a liberal arts education where students can take the skills they’ve learned and begin to apply them in a professional context. For people like me who want to do very on the ground, person to person-type work in the future, the Praxis program is a support structure that perfectly bridges that gap between theory and application.”
For Karen Manzone ’14, her Praxis III experience with the Chester County homeless shelter Safe Harbor has led to a job with the organization once she leaves Bryn Mawr.
“I’m a psychology major and I was always interested in the mental health issues associated with homelessness,” says Manzone. “What I found when I got here and started working was how interesting the psychology issues involved in things like getting people to support a cause are also and how much my Bryn Mawr education had prepared me to do that sort of work.”
Senior Marissa Jackson’s placement with the ACLU has actually led her to rethink her career plans of becoming a lawyer.
“I realized that I wanted to be out with the people I’m trying to help not in an office or courtroom,” says Jackson, who will be moving to New Orleans to work for the organization Grassroots Campaigns.
For more on the Praxis Program, including student and faculty resources, visit the program website.