Gazebo Gazette

The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) Gulf Park Campus provides undergraduate students with unique hands-on learning opportunities through its Experiential Learning program. The program creates opportunity and inclusivity among students, while encouraging each to reach professional and academic goals in their areas of interest.

Dr. Lauren Ray, Experiential Learning Coordinator at Gulf Park, helps students navigate different options to experience more at USM.

“Experiential Learning at Gulf Park stands out for its commitment to student success and lifelong learning,” said Ray. “By connecting students with hands-on learning opportunities, including internships, undergraduate research, field work, volunteering, study abroad, and job shadowing, students are able to build on the knowledge they acquire in the classroom and transform that knowledge into tangible skills and experiences that set them apart on the job market.”

The vision of the program is to allow students to explore, engage, experience, and excel. Through undergraduate research, students can dive into collaboration and knowledge that prepares them for life after graduation. Ray works with each student to determine personal and professional goals and to envision how experiential learning can aid with meeting goals.

Dr. Jacob Breland, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, commends Dr. Ray for her commitment to the Experiential Learning program.

“Hands-on, transformative experiences are a hallmark of USM programs. Having a dedicated person ensures that we maximize the partnerships with our external partners and promote the pathways to academic and professional development for our students,” said Breland.

Added Ray, “Experiential Learning at Gulf Park is invested in promoting and creating local opportunities for our Gulf Coast students, and this unique relationship with our community connects our students with local industry. By emphasizing the importance of reflection during and after hands-on learning experiences, Experiential Learning at Gulf Park cultivates a culture of active engagement and empowers students to become self-directed learners.”

There are many opportunities for students to learn more about Experiential Learning this semester:

Opportunities with the Honors College and Undergraduate Research

March 18th, 12:15-1:00, Gulf Coast Library Room 204

Hear from current Gulf Park Honors students to learn more about the Honors College and undergraduate research opportunities on the Gulf Park campus. This event will be offered in person and virtually. To sign up for the virtual event, please register here.

Industry talk with Joshua Brown, Chief Operations Officer of Keesler Federal Credit Union

March 25, 12:15-1:00, Gulf Coast Library Room 204

Attend this industry talk to learn more about KFCU, job opportunities, and best practices for students entering the industry. This event will be offered in person and virtually. To sign up for the virtual event, please register here.

Considering Graduate School?

April 1, 12:15-1:00, Gulf Coast Library Room 204

Join for Greet a Grad, an opportunity for graduate students to mentor undergraduates in a casual setting. Graduate students will offer their insights into the graduate student experience, and undergraduate students curious about graduate school. The event will have all of your questions answered! Students will have the opportunity to talk with others one-on-one and in a group setting.

Blue Tech Networking Event

April 10, 5:00-7:00, Gulf & Ship Island Building

Meet industry experts and practice your networking skills. Attendees will meet at the Lofty Returns sculpture on campus at 4:45 and caravan to the event at 5:00.

End of the Semester Celebration 

April 15, 12:15-1:00, Location TBD

(Contributed by Gabriela Shinskie)