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Voices in the Field: Building Opportunity and Introspection into Student Learning

Voices in the Field: Building Opportunity and Introspection into Student Learning

Voices in the Field has been an ongoing project for four years at Wind River High School (Fremont County School District #6) to instill in seniors a focus on research, careers, and networking. Malinda Garcia Clapp along with the English and Language Arts (ELA) team have been ensuring that students are able to build an appropriate capstone presentation from start to finish.

During the fall of the academic year, students are connected to professionals and professors from multiple Wyoming community colleges and the University of Wyoming through presentations at the Voices in the Field conference. The conference provides students the opportunity to ask questions about what various career fields are like and to hear information on what type of education is needed to enter those fields. In the spring, students develop a research plan with questions in relation to their field of interest and then interview professionals in that field. Students also intern for a brief period of time to learn some of the skills necessary and some of the information that others in the organization may be able to provide. They then present their capstone research presentations to professors at the University of Wyoming during a campus visit, which is facilitated by the Wyoming School-University Partnership.

The campus visit was a bit different for 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions still in place at the University of Wyoming for the VitF students. Thus, the WSUP worked with the capstone instructors to develop a virtual visit. This visit included presentations from two University of Wyoming organizations (University Counseling Center and McNair Scholars) as well as an opportunity for the seniors to present their capstone projects to professors. The visit took place in the week of April 12th and the students wrapped up the week on the 15th by showcasing the work they had done throughout the semester.

Many students highlighted changes in plans due to realizations that the field did not match what they ultimately wanted to do as a career. Some also explored how they wanted to combine their interests with other knowledge bases to develop positive advancements in their career field of interest. UW professors noted afterwards how impressed they were with the work that the students had put in for developing research questions, finding internship opportunities, and analyzing the key takeaways from that time period. Some professors even stated that they wished for programs such as this to happen statewide as they see students sometimes entering into majors or fields without the opportunity to see whether the culture is right for them.

Recently, Voices in the Field was also part of the “Profile of a Graduate” program noted in the Internship article also presented in the June WSUP e-newsletter. This yearly capstone has worked to grow the interests of the students and hold space for voices of professionals in a wide array of occupations. During this process, students are challenged to think critically about what their interests are and what skills and qualities they bring to the class and internship environment. Such an experience is one that highlights bringing communities and schools together to foster student development in an educational and career-oriented manner.

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McWhinnie Hall, Room 213

Dept. 3374, 1000 E. University Ave.

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 307-766-3274


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