Postcard-style graphic with pictures from around world.

Experiential Learning Grant reflections

Caroline Fincher
’24 BSE in industrial engineering
Barcelona, Spain

Caroline Fincher

During my study abroad trip for EPICS, I was immersed in the culture and language of Barcelona, Spain. We were there to advance a coral reef restoration project by meeting with subject matter experts and communicating with Spanish students at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC). We had an excellent exchange of ideas as we discussed different projects and learned about each other. Outside of school related activities, I also enjoyed seeing historical sites, navigating the city, and learning new stories about Barcelona.

One thing in particular that stood out to me in the city was the influence of art in architecture and the respect artists and architects hold for one another. One very memorable architect that I learned about while in Barcelona was Gaudi. He is famous for these outlandish houses, the Park Güell, and for designing La Sagrada Familia.

One of his key features in architecture that sets him apart is the inspiration he drew from nature. From the staircases in La Sagrada Familia, inspired by falling Sycamore seeds, to archways in Park Güell that are designed to appear as the branches of a tree, nature is everywhere in his pieces.

Unfortunately Gaudi died before he could see one of his greatest accomplishments, La Sagrada Familia, and his designs for the remarkable church were burned in a fire. Luckily, he developed these ideas while talking to numerous other artists and architects and these people banded together to rebuild as much of Gaudi’s design as they could and drew inspiration from Gaudi’s other works where they could not.

Jasmine Kaur
’24 BS in information technology
Balkans and Mediterranean

My name is Jasmine Kaur and I am an Information Technology major at ASU. In the ‘22-’23 school year I was awarded with the Experiential Learning Grant, and I used this grant to help me pay for some of my airfare costs for a study abroad class I took.

My personal goal in life is that no person in this world should be scared that their
personal information isn’t secured on the web, and to do everything I can to provide that. I aim to work on research that specializes in cybersecurity, user security, and network security within the USA since there is a lack of this research topic in academia.

I seek to apply my writing and policy research skills to an organization that significantly influences cybersecurity policy. I know that I will be capable of addressing pressing policy issues, be willing to promote civil society and civic engagement, and create public conversations about politics and policies during my time at ASU and in my career.

One aspect of cybersecurity I haven’t been able to research at my time at ASU was state security relating to tensions with different ethnic groups. The course I was enrolled to take this summer with ASU allowed me to look at this topic and how it relates to cybersecurity within the Balkans and Mediterranean. I was able to analyze different historical interpretations and why they matter at museums, monuments, and other historical locations thanks to this course.

Skopje and Thessaloniki offered a singular opportunity to study nationalism and its effects on the physical landscape, including borders and the built environment. They do so because of their shared Ottoman past, ongoing tensions over identity politics, and shared economic and security worries as Europe faces new challenges.

Kelsie Herzer
PhD in civil / environmental / sustainable engineering
Boston, Massachusetts

In June, I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Boston, MA, to present my poster at the 2023 Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP) conference. This conference allowed me to connect with fellow researchers who share similar passions and foster relationships that can potentially lead to future research.

I presented on my poster titled “Kinetic and transcriptomic response of Geobacter lovleyi strain SZ during respiration of tetrachloroethene and uranium” which generated a lot of interest among the attendees.

One of the highlights of the conference was the chance to interact with other researchers who are also exploring the application of Nanopore technology for transcriptomic research.

This field is in its infancy, lacking a standardized bioinformatic processing pipeline. Therefore, having a community to exchange ideas and methods is invaluable for advancing nanopore technology effectively. Having a multi-faceted research community working towards a common goal also opens doors for potential collaborations and an expanded network.

Kylie Hartana
’25 BSE in biomedical engineering

This past summer, I had the incredible privilege of completing a process engineering research internship at the University of Kaiserslautern-Landau in Germany, and the entire experience fostered both my personal and professional growth. This opportunity allowed me to refine my soft skills, ascertain whether a future in research was right for me, and attend my first-ever research conference.

Conducting research in Germany enhanced my time management skills and fostered a greater sense of independence. The experiments for my research project were all time sensitive – I had to collect Aspergillus niger biomass samples three, seven, and ten days after beginning a culture. At first, this seemed simple enough, but I then quickly learned that there were several other constraints I had to consider.