When York University students were challenged to capture their experiential education in a photograph and submit it to the #MyExperienceYU photo contest, they did so in droves and their photos tell stories of vibrant, exciting and interesting learning experiences.
More than 450 entries were submitted to the contest, which offered prizes of $2,000 awarded to each contest category winner. The winners in the three categories – classroom, community and workplace – have been decided. Entries were submitted from all of York University’s faculties and included international exchanges, events, placements and internships. More than 2,500 votes were cast before the contest closed.
The contest highlighted the breadth of experiential education offered to York University students and provided an opportunity for students to document their memorable learning journeys. The winners are:
- Sadie Cahill, a third-year student in the Dance (BFA) Program in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design.
- Carolyn Ewins, a fourth-year student in the Biology (BSc) Program in the Faculty of Science
- Leandro Evangelista, a fifth-year student in the Psychology (BA) Program in the Faculty of Health.
Each of the winners shared some of their thoughts on experiential education at York, and their contest entries.
Sadie Cahill’s experiential education photo was taken during her second year of study in the Dance Program. The photograph, she says, offers a perfect representation of the traditional classroom boundaries she has pushed during her dance classes, which involve connecting her mind, body and soul. “Experiential learning has brought a new level of awareness to my education as I am able to physically feel movement and connect it to intellectually principles and emotional expression,” says Cahill, who notes that engaging in experiential learning offered in the Dance Program at York University has helped her not only to train and perfect her physical practice, but also to develop her artistry and individual expression within dance.
For her entry, Carolyn Ewins documented her experience during an international exchange to Monash University in Australia. Her #MyExperienceYU photograph was taken late in June 2018 during a 21-km hike in Tongariro National Park – New Zealand’s oldest national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The photo depicts the highest point of the Tongariro Crossing. “The hike was a grueling, full-day challenge, where we faced unexpectedly strong winds, blowing snow and sheets of ice,” says Ewins, who says the experience gave her a greater appreciation of the origins of the scientific studies and information that she learns in the classroom. “For centuries, scientists have endured extreme, inhospitable conditions to discover more about biology, and their work has allowed me to sit comfortably in a safe, heated YorkU lecture hall and learn about the things they found. It has also motivated me to pursue more international experiences and gain more field experience.”
Leandro Evangelista’s winning photo was taken in July 2018 during a trip to Radical Raptors bird rehabilitation facility in South Africa. Radical Raptors undertakes the rehabilitation of birds of prey allowing the injured birds to recover and return to the wild. Evangelista says he used the knowledge gained through this experience to enrich his internship with in the Nature’s Valley Trust (NVT) Birding Masters and Champions Program in South Africa. “Although I come from a psychology background, working with conservation and animals demonstrated to me how important our connection to our environment is,” he says. “I no longer look at psychology with an isolated, mind-dominated view.” He notes the theories and articles that he studied while in class have been animated by his internship experience.