Summit Presentation & Next Steps

Hi everyone, it’s Ally! Last week was an exciting time for Mapping the Student Engagement Journey. Hailley and I had gave our first presentation on this project at Penn State’s 2019 Student Engagement Summit. We started by explaining Hailley’s motivation to create this project and my motivation for becoming an Undergraduate Research Assistant. It was awesome to share our project with the Penn State community and express our enthusiasm about this research.

Hailley and I, right after our Student Engagement Summit presentation!

Presentation Takeaways

We had our audience brainstorm variations of each student engagement opportunity type. As a whole, our audience listed many examples of Undergraduate Research, Professional Experiences, and Peer Mentoring but listed less variations of Community-Based Learning and Self-Directed Student Engagement. These results were not surprising to me, as these lists aligned closely with the opportunities I’m most familiar with. This activity made me wonder how Penn State can better advertise student engagement opportunities that are less well-known. After all, some students may be more attracted to Self-Directed experiences than more structured experiences, such as clubs and organizations. Hailley and I talked about this more when we presented Harris’ map. During the interview process, Harris told us, “That was a big problem I had with Penn State…the way social life is structured here, it’s like ‘You have to join a club to have friends.'” I’m glad we could share this quote with faculty and staff. I hope this aspect of our presentation demonstrated that every Penn State student views student engagement differently, and that’s okay! Overall, I thought the Summit was a great place for our first presentation and I’m really looking forward to our next presentation opportunity. 

What’s Next?

At this point, we have six of 24 student interviews completed so we’re one fourth of the way through! Our goal is to have 12 interviews done before winter break. To accomplish this, we’re planning on emailing students from all the remaining colleges that we need students from. Sending all these emails at once may be tricky to organize. However, we think it’ll be a helpful way to recruit six more students before winter break. Next semester, we hope to finish the other 12 interviews before spring break. After that, we’ll have lots of coding, data analysis, and writing to do! I’m definitely enjoying the interview process but I’m also really exciting for the next steps. I have some experience with qualitative data analysis but I know this project will help me take my skills to the next level. I’m also really eager to see how all 24 interviews connect to one another and what overall takeaways Hailley and I will find for Penn State and other institutions. For now, Hailley and I have more recruitment emails to send out in the upcoming weeks. I can’t wait to get the next six interviews started!

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Head of Education & Outreach Services at Northern Kentucky University. When she's not in the library, Hailley is an avid oatmeal connoisseur, baseball scorekeeper, bike rider, embroidery queen, and reader of memoirs. Check her out on Twitter @hailthefargoats.

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