What is Practicum?
All McBride students need to fulfill a three-credit “Practicum,” which emphasizes experiential education, cultural immersion, and course design. The practicum is similar to an independent study, but with a twist. The goal of the course is for you to pursue a worthwhile experiential learning opportunity – that is, to “learn by doing.”
Essentially, you will be challenged in two key ways: You must first design an experiential educational opportunity worthy of three McBride credits, and then do it. This asks you to think not only about what kind of experience you want to have, but also asks you to consider some of the larger aspects of good course design: what do I want to get out of this experience? What are my learning objectives? How will this experience benefit not just me, but a broader community? You have many options to develop an individualized study program that facilitates your own personal, intellectual, and professional goals. Possibilities include, but are not limited to: studying or interning abroad, engaging in research in science or public affairs, learning through service to your community, working as an intern in a way that interfaces the public, and many other options.
Figuring out what to do for practicum is a big part of the challenge. Take a look at this website, talk to people on campus, and keep your eyes out for practicum related events and presentations. Do some brainstorming. Set aside initial concerns about time and money and general feasibility, and begin instead with something that you genuinely want to spend time doing, something that brings you joy. Be sure to look over the practicum proposal form, and make an appointment with Justin Latici. Recognize that a good practicum often requires roughly a semester’s worth of preparation and several meetings as you begin planning for your adventure. Give yourself plenty of time.
If your practicum has expenses associated with it McBride can often offset some of those. Following are links to the Enrichment Award application and expense worksheet. Please also note the deadlines for these applications. Reach out to Justin Latici if you have any questions about the enrichment award process.
Enrichment applications will be reviewed twice per semester on the dates below, and early applications will receive priority consideration.
- For Summer and Fall Travel: February 15th and April 12
- For Winter and Spring Travel: September 13th and November 11th
Check out some of the fantastic work and experiences that other McBriders have done. Still looking for opportunities? Check out some of the following links that cover a range of opportunities.
- Colorado science and engineering policy fellowship
- Ethics bowl
My practicum was an investigative exploration of the exotic pet industry in the United States. I started my exploration by compiling information on laws, definitions, and statistics. I created parameters and definitions of my own to work with, as some terms I had to work with were rather subjective, such as “domestic” and “exotic”. I then began seeking out interviews with people involved with the exotic pet industry, such as those who own exotic pets and even a private zoo owner with hundreds of animals. I also visited a wide variety of exotic pet stores. During these outings and interviews, I paid the most attention to quality of care and the “why” of keeping the vast array of beautiful animals encompassed within the exotic pet industry. My “big finale” was when I attended the Nashville Exotic Pet Expo and to capture footage and gain a true understanding of the people who keep exotic animals, for better or for worse. All of my experiences were synthesized into a 50-minute documentary. I believe that this documentary encourages people to think critically about the commodification of complex, need-intensive animals and why we have such a fascination with wild animals.
My Practicum experience took me from Copper Mountain Ski Resort to Highway 114 over the course of 20 days. I crossed rivers and climbed peaks, all the while exploring who I was and what nature had to offer me. About half of the trip was spent alone, with occasional “good morning” calls from squirrels and one really good conversation with a marmot. The other half of the trip was spent with some of my closest friends and family. As much fun as I had, the trip had two clear intentions from the start. The first was to explore the ways in which humanity connects with nature in the hopes of revealing why American society loves to get outside. The second was to allow my mind to wander the trails my legs couldn’t quite take me on with the dream of being able to communicate why nature is so special to me. I sought answers to my questions both on the trail but also in a plethora of books, ranging from memoirs to poetry to history. I was even so inspired by the literature I read, that I produced my own works of poetry to commemorate and reflect on the trip. While my realizations about nature have years of refinement ahead of them, I’ve come to the conclusion that nature is special because it’s one of the few places where we can be ourselves without influence or recourse. Joy, exhaustion, excitement, adventure, awe, fear, nerves. Nature lets us experience all of it while showing us who we truly are. For more insight into my trip, visit my blog here.
For this practicum, I took my own personal experiences of foreign travel, that of study abroad in Japan and the Nepal Hike for Help trip, and attempted to write stories which held some connection between the experiences. In other words, I wanted the stories of both Nepal and Japan to have overlaps and connections. The connection piece was shown more clearly through song. For each set of stories, I wrote a set of lyrics as well as well guitar (and eventually production) which encapsulated some of the emotional experiences and lessons learned while living these stories. Although based around reality, much of the stories were also fictionalized to provide greater depth to the writing. To showcase the pieces and music, a website was made where all of the writing was stored and audio files for the music were embedded. In addition, voice overs of the stories were made to provide a fully audio based experience when moving through them (incomplete at the time of writing this, hopefully done at the time of you reading this). The stories are placed in a specific order, but the order in which they’re read doesn’t really matter.
Youtube (there’s not much on it yet, but maybe around summer 2021): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0ME7lF6Ge0UfxEcHc60BOw
Interested in exploring the nuances of animal welfare, I spent ten weeks in the Netherlands and volunteered at a seal rescue center called Zeehondencentrum. Needless to say, it was an absolutely amazing experience! Not only do I now have an inordinate amount of seal knowledge, but I also learned so much about myself and the relationship between humans and nature. While at the center, I had the opportunity to speak with the seal nurses, observe a pod of seals in their natural habitat, clean seal enclosures (lots of cleaning), and even hold seal pups during umbilical cord checks. After returning from the Netherlands, I wrote and self-published a short story which summarized my biggest takeaways from the experience. Overall, my practicum taught me both the good and more challenging aspects of animal rehabilitation, and I now have a new appreciation for seals, animals, and nature.
Contact Info: firstname.lastname@example.org
For my practicum I decided to combine my passions for art, music, psychology, and philosophy and put together my first solo music performance with almost entirely original material. The performance, called the Wizard, the King, & the Fool is a medieval theater style psychological exploration, which, inspired by the theories of psychologist Carl Jung, uses music and AI generated art amongst other mediums to channel, observe, and integrate several distinct ‘archetypes’ of the ‘collective unconscious’.
The performance is split into several acts, in each of which a different archetype (i.e. the Wizard, the King, and the Fool) are embodied. Within each act, the positive and negative aspects of each archetype are explored through different songs. Furthermore, the perceived negative aspects of one archetype (e.g. manipulation in the Wizard) become the positive aspects of the next (e.g. ambition in the King) in an effort to create harmony between them. As the performance progresses, layers of the psyche are peeled back and more of the subconscious is revealed.
The point of the performance is to demonstrate the process of individuation,“the psychological process that makes a human being an ‘individual’-a unique, indivisible unit or ‘whole man,’” (Jung). Through my practicum I learned individuation is a never-ending process which requires continued observation, acceptance, and understanding of unconscious parts of ourselves, of which music and art is merely a tool for doing so.
For a more in-depth explanation of my practicum and the process I went through, please visit wizardkingfool.com!
For my practicum, I taught myself how to bake bread. I baked ten different loaves over ten weeks and gave each loaf to somebody I cared about. Some weeks I baked alone, some weeks with a family member and some weeks I had to chat with my recipient over zoom. My experience gave me the opportunity to, most importantly, have one-on-one time with the people I love and to also see my relationships from an outside perspective. I learned about my place in my relationships, and how I can learn from the people that surround me.
For my practicum, I wanted to investigate the world of fashion and the value that goes into fashion design. I was very lucky to be able to accompany a traveling McBride class on their trip to London, one of the world’s fashion capitals. While I was there, I toured different design studios as well as several fashion exhibits at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Upon my return to Mines, I used some of the new skills I acquired to create a piece of clothing inspired by values I see exhibited on the Mines campus. I am very happy with my project because not only do I have a new piece of clothing to wear out and about, but I also discovered the world is a big place and I can’t wait to explore more of it!
Here’s the link to my blog. Everything should be up and running now:
I went to Nepal to utilize various technologies in conjunction with monkhood practices to create a documentary that explored the possibilities of elevating age-old philosophies with modern ‘spirit tech’ (brain reading, writing, VR) devices.
I noticed sometime at the beginning of the Fall 2022 semester that I was spending a lot of time on my phone (predominately social media). Accompanying this increase in social media usage I also noticed a rise regarding my dissatisfaction in my own mental and physical health. For my Practicum I set out to conduct an experiment with myself as the test subject in order to qualitatively and quantitatively describe the effects of social media on my own mental and physical wellbeing.
For my practicum I did an investigation of the Norteño culture of Northern New Mexico by researching the history of the area as well as interviewing family members that have spent their lives there. I focused my investigation around the central themes of sense of place, familial structure, and shared values. What I found was that the cultural identity of Norteños was centered around a strong connection to the land that have been rooted in hundreds of years of survival and farming dating back to Spanish conquistadores and Native Puebloans. I was also reminded of the importance of family gatherings and the cohesion of a family unit based on mutual respect and loyalty. Lastly, the aforementioned themes were tied together in shared values of land stewardship, family above all, and the preservation of our culture and language. I had a great time completing this practicum and hope to continue my investigation in the future as well as document my journey for others to explore and learn about my home and people.
For my practicum I wanted to explore three different cultural hubs around the Denver area, including Lebanese, Ethiopian, and Cuban cultures. Exploring the idea of the authenticity of these restaurant’s dishes through a variety of different lenses. I wanted to have a conversation with them over food that allowed me to hear and experience their culture. Those conversations then helped me open a doorway into their culture in Denver and give me more insights into how this cultural hub formed in Denver. Through this experience, was able to “explore my world” without leaving the Denver area and help guide people on how to do the same in other areas. Feel free to explore my website here: https://startranchvet.wixsite.com/my-site
My name is Charles Nissen, and my practicum was how flow state impacts my every-day life, in an experimental manner. I started with the Introduction and a heavily researched topic regarding the psychological phenomena that Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi introduced, and the impact it had on athletes, musicians, and artists. From there, I started creating scientific articles about my experiences with flow-state, taking note of the initial conditions and variables, in every experience. I then compiled these experiences into a lab-report style of conclusion to publish my findings in a manner that was easy to follow for the general public, so that any user can take my experiences and help incorporate these causes of flow-state in their life.
To view the rest of the practicum cohort page...
click this link