Experiential Learning at Mount Aloysius College is a method of instruction in which students learn the content of the curriculum while actively participating in and reflecting on experiences that benefit both the community and the students.

Tied into the College’s Mercy values and history of community engagement, Experiential Learning develops the “whole” student and creates global citizens.

Mount Aloysius College continues to develop its program through a committee, monies available for projects, and/or an Annual Experiential Learning Expo.

Mountie Spotlight

MAC Gives Students Opportunity to Research & Present

Two Mounties went beyond the classroom and presented their research on Disney Dads.

Mountie Spotlight

Learning Through Service

Business Administration students had the opportunity to learn through service projects while helping their community.

Mountie Spotlight

Name That Plant

Leanne appreciated the beauty of MAC’s campus and wanted to educate her peers on the environment that surrounds them!

Mountie Spotlight

Internships That Count

Bryan Buzi impressed a huge IT consulting firm during his Information Technology program internship and landed a full-time career!

Community-Based Learning

Community-based learning bridges academic learning and real-world civic engagement focused on community need. This engagement can include anything that makes an impact beyond the course itself, including: direct service-learning, indirect service-learning, research-based service-learning, and advocacy service-learning.

Direct Service-Learning involves person-to-person service projects where the students’ actions directly impact the individuals receiving the service from the students.

  • Tutoring
  • Arts lessons for the youth
  • Presentations on violence and drug prevention
  • Helping at homeless shelters

Students who volunteer with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program learn the benefits of direct service learning by assisting members of our local community with filing their taxes.

Indirect Service-Learning focuses on broad issues, environmental projects, or community development projects that have benefit the community or environment, but may not necessarily benefit the individuals with whom the students are working.

  • Compiling town history
  • Restoring historical structures
  • Restoring ecosystem

MAC students engaged in indirect service learning through the American Red Cross’ Sound the Alarm event, at which students canvassed homes to provide information on fire prevention and safety.

Research-Based Service-Learning involves students gathering and presenting information on an area of interest and need.

  • Writing guide to translation services
  • Water testing for local residents
  • Creating brochures for nonprofits
  • Mapping state lands

Advocacy Service-Learning involves educating people about topics of public interest.

  • Public forums
  • Public information campaigns
  • Draft legislation

Mountie students showed advocacy in action by moderating a debate for local political candidates.

Previous Community-Based Learning Projects

  • Leanne Cardoso-Bastos made a wildflower walk here on campus
  • Adam Millheim sampling at a Hughes Borehole near Portage
  • Katie Ellenberger walking a dog from the Cresson Doggie Lodge for community service

Sample Experiential Learning Projects


The intended goals of student participation in practicums include: gaining further knowledge about the field of study, acquiring new skills for career development, developing critical reflection and analysis skills, and developing an understanding of the challenges facing small businesses. Students may participate in one of three types of practicum:

Community Practicums are focused on reflection to increase knowledge, develop skills, clarify values, and develop the capacity to communicate in a community. These practicums are major-specific or interdisciplinary and can count for up to three credits.

Integrated Practicums offer practical field experience that allows students to develop their skills within their major. These include time in the classroom learning material and on-site or virtual hours working on a project with a community organization.

Work-Based Learning

Work-based learning is intended to give students the opportunity to gain experience in their field while still learning in the classroom. The various forms of work-based learning provided at the Mount include traditional internships, professional development training, job shadowing, and mentorships.


Certain programs at Mount Aloysius require a student to complete an internship before graduation. These opportunities help students blend the knowledge they learn in the classroom with real-world experience. Typically, students complete 135 hours of internship work within one semester. The goal of the internship program is for students to gain insight into a possible career path while learning about the industry. Micro-internships are short-term, project-based opportunities that last between five and 40 hours. They could be a part of a course or a standalone opportunity.

Mountie Julianna Wright, ’20, learned just how important internships and work-based learning can be when she interned with JWF Industries in Johnstown, PA.

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