Washington State University is committed to extending “knowledge through innovative educational programs” and mentoring students “to realize their highest potential,” as outlined in the Strategic Plan. LAUNCH, a key component of the Transformational Change Initiative (TCI), advances this vision of student success by facilitating students’ early connecting with and involvement in experiential learning.
The LAUNCH program, made up of workshops, gives students time and space in their busy schedules to think critically about their post-graduation goals and plan for experiences that will put them on the right path.
“These things are rarely talked about in a traditional class,” TCI Director Katie Forsythe said. “LAUNCH helps students sit down with their peers and think about who they are and what they want – it’s really their time.”
Though the program is supervised by Forsythe and Sam Swindell, one of the TCI grant Principle Investigators, it is facilitated by students, for students.
“This type of experience is a powerful opportunity for students to connect with other students,” Swindell said. “Students listen to other students.”
LAUNCH participants are mentored by LAUNCH Ambassadors who have experience with experiential learning, such as research, civic engagement, global education, creative activities, internships or intellectual competitions. LAUNCH Ambassadors’ first-hand knowledge of such opportunities gives workshop participants insider information and support for their experiential learning journey.
The first step of the program is for students to recognize their values and strengths. Once these are established, the LAUNCH Ambassadors mentor students by helping them identify opportunities that suit their interests and goals, as well the transferable skills for their future careers.
One of the last steps is for students to act upon their goals by pursuing opportunities that are best for them. This action can take the form of emailing a professor about research involvement, identifying and applying for an internship, or finding a study abroad program, to name a few.
The primary outcome of LAUNCH is to prepare students for post-graduate success.
“We’re not just trying to help students successfully graduate from WSU,” Swindell said, “we’re trying to support a truly transformative experience launching into new opportunities and using those opportunities to move forward.”
LAUNCH workshops are designed for first-, second-year, and transfer undergraduate students. Though originally a standalone program, LAUNCH is looking to connect with different departments and organizations on campus to facilitate student access to the program.
You can contact Sam Swindell and Katie Forsythe by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org if your department or organization would like to learn more about LAUNCH.