Growing Through Service Learning

by Lauren Becerra, Administrative Assistant for Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences Program

Last semester, the MSBS Class of 2018 participated in a team service learning project as part of their Humanities course. The goal of this project was aimed at helping students mitigate their biases in order to better align their thoughts and behaviors with their professional values and the core values of RVU.

Service learning is a unique teaching tool that combines learning goals and community service in ways that enhance both student growth and the common good. There are many benefits for the students, both professionally and personally. Some of these benefits include improving students’ ability to apply what they have learned in “the real world,” a positive impact on academic outcomes (such as demonstrated complexity of understanding and critical thinking), and a greater sense of personal efficacy.

This experience also gave the MSBS students a great opportunity for important self-reflection at the completion of the project through written critical reflection. Below, some of the students share their experiences.

“Our MSBS group (pictured at right) had a great time working with the Free to Bre1athe Foundation at a 5K Run/Walk to raise money for lung cancer research. We heard inspiring stories from lung cancer survivors and other volunteers working the event. We learned that lung cancer claims more lives each year (but has less research funding) than breast, colon, and prostate cancer combined. There is a stigma that lung cancer patients are mainly cigarette smokers but up to 15% of lung cancer patients have never smoked in their lives.”

“My team (pictured at left) 2volunteered at The Mission for Volunteers of America to help feed the homeless. Overall, I think we found this experience to be very rewarding and eye-opening. We were reminded that not every person has a place they can call home; I think that had a powerful effect on all of us. Basic necessities, such as having a roof over your head, and food on the table is something we all take for granted and I think interacting with these individuals really put life into perspective for us.”

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“Our group (pictured at right) volunteered at Parker Adventist Hospital during the Fall 2017 semester. Some of the departments we worked in included the emergency department, the maternity ward, the cancer center, and the mail room. We learned how important the various roles and impacts a volunteer can have within the hospital, whether it be interacting with patients and their families or assisting the medical team.”

“[We] volunteService Learning Project 2ered at Shalom Park Nursing Home (pictured at left). One of our most memorable conversations involved a 97-year-old woman who had lived through World War II and whose family had helped shelter Jews during the Holocaust. One member of group recalled, ‘I was indeed reminded of how much adversity the people of her generation endured when they were in their early twenties.’ Our visit was a reminder that ordinary people have much more to offer than we often think, if we only take the time to listen.”

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