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Hands-on Learning

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Students wearing waders holding poles and nets in a stream.

Learn by doing and solving real problems

We believe in experiential learning, which to us means getting out in the world and getting your hands dirty and your feet wet. It takes practice to develop the skills that employers look for, which is why so many of our courses have field experiences and labs. Research opportunities can also define your career path; they’ll help you build networks and find out what you really enjoy doing — and what you don’t. Overseas study trips offer the chance to apply what you’ve learned and see solutions at work on a global scale.

Female student holds and looks at a glass beaker filled with sediment and liquid.

“Adventure learning” leads students to the highest peaks

Three people stand in front of a weather station on a mountaintop, with snow on the ground.

Meteorology instructor Dave Carroll and student volunteers have placed and continue to maintain weather stations atop the highest mountains in Virginia and West Virginia to learn more about weather patterns at higher elevations. Students must pack all the equipment and hike to each site — sometimes going where there are no trails — to reach the solar-powered, remotely accessed stations. The sites take readings every 10 minutes and then translate the data to a website.

Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?

Being successful in business requires more than just a great product. You need vision, creativity, teamwork, and hard work. Each year, students enrolled in the Wood Enterprise Institute (WEI) design, produce, and market a wood-based product to customers. Past ventures have included charcuterie boards, beer flight holders, and dog bowl holders.

Challenge yourself through the Leadership Institute

One of greatest opportunities that you have for learning in college is getting to know yourself. Self-awareness is one of the keys to effective leadership and the beginning of a yearlong journey for each year’s Leadership Institute participants, culminating with a weeklong trip to Washington, D.C., and other locations to network with leaders and policymakers.