Experiential learning: Test-driving careers during internships

August 31, 2010

Over the summer, Larry Thomas ran a boot camp of sorts at Johns Hopkins main medical campus in Baltimore. The internship offered Thomas, a senior Exercise Science major, the opportunity to flex both skills and knowledge, while test-driving one of the many career possibilities in his field.

The Green Terror linebacker hasn’t changed his mind about becoming a personal trainer and high school football coach, but he wanted to explore other possibilities before he graduates next May. He welcomed the opportunity to apply his studies to corporate fitness at Hopkins Cooley center, for the medical institutions’ faculty, students and staff.

More than half of McDaniel graduates have completed at least one internship before they receive their bachelor’s degrees. Internships – in Baltimore, Japan, and all points in between – are typically opportunities for students to sample career options in their fields and to translate knowledge into action.

“I developed my own group exercise class from the ground up and instructed it once a week at the fitness center,” Thomas says of “Busy Bodies,” the high-intensity circuit training workout he designed employing aerobics and strength-training methods to “work out your body from head to toe.”

Participants exercised with resistance bands, brightly colored physioballs, body bars and aerobics steps to a background blend of hip-hop and alternative music.

“It was a great opportunity for me to apply my studies in the related field, and it was very satisfying to see something I put together in action,” he says, explaining that the title, the style of class, the exercises, the equipment used, the music, the time – everything was his choice.

Anna Harvey’s experience at the Boys and Girls Club of Westminster was different from Thomas’ but nonetheless valuable. The senior Psychology major learned that “behavior management has to be adjusted to the specific child.”

Hoping to be a school psychologist, Harvey wants to be able to focus on one student at a time.

“That way I can learn more about them and how to make their school and life experience a better one.”