Carnegie Mellon University

Experiential Learning: Action and Reflection

At Dietrich College, put your education into action through experiential learning opportunities.

Internships, undergraduate research, study abroad and community service are all opportunities to gain hands-on experience and transform theory into practice. Reflecting on what you learn during the process is also an integral part of your education. Every Dietrich College student completes at least one experiential learning activity as part of their general education requirements.

Meet Your Peers

Jendy DeLeon

Research for the Good of Science & Society

Jendy DeLeon, a member of the class of 2026 majoring in psychology, became involved in the Research Training Program during her first year at Carnegie Mellon.

"I saw the Research Training Program as an opportunity to become involved in something greater than myself. All of the research opportunities offered through the Research Training Program have implications for the greater good of science and society as a whole.

Learn more about the research training program

Anika Joshi

Growing through Community Engagement

Anika Joshi, a member of the class of 2026 majoring in statistics and machine learning, put her passion for social engagement and community-centered uses of data into action as part of the first cohort of Community Engagement Fellows.

"I have always been involved in the community in some capacity but I really wanted to learn more about the nuances of community engagement and do so in a setting with peers that have the same passions as me. I thought that the fellowship would be a great way to see how to apply what you learn in the classroom to the real world.

Learn more about the community engagement fellowship

Eric Molto

Embracing the Pittsburgh Community

Eric Molto, a member of the class of 2025 in the Department of Social and Decision Sciences, embraced the opportunity to stay in Pittsburgh over the summer by interning at Module, a design-build company that makes right-sized, energy efficient houses using prefab construction. Each of Module’s homes are built to Zero Energy Ready Home standards set by the U.S. Department of Energy. 

“Getting your tasks and assignments done and building a relationship with a superior is something that I found to be incredibly rewarding. I learned how to build people skills and ask for help when it was needed, which allowed me to feel much more prepared for future occupations I will encounter.” 

Learn more about the Pittsburgh Summer Internship Program

Ethan Sterkeson

Researching Human Connection

Ethan Sterkeson, member of the class of 2026 majoring in psychology, jumped into research as a first-year student, assisting in studies focused on interpersonal touch and sleep quality, as well as reciprocal self-disclosure, the process by which sharing about oneself encourages others to do the same.

"CMU and Dietrich College have helped support my work by creating opportunities for any student (even a first-year with little experience) to participate in research. Through this I have learned more about how research works, gained experience that can be applied to future opportunities, and created connections with faculty and other students in Dietrich." 

Learn more about undergraduate research opportunities

Aiwen Chen

A Philosophy of Mindfulness

Aiwen Chen, a member of the class of 2024 majoring in neuroscience and philosophy, brought her investment in mental health and mindfulness to her Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) by researching the ways mindfulness and meditation affect stress levels. 

"I'm very interested in the problems of mind and body and how philosophers approach those questions. I want to work in mental health to best help people relieve the pain of their mental health issues.”

Learn more about summer undergraduate research fellowship grants


Dominique Powell

Uncovering What People Seek in a Mate

Dominique Powell, a senior in biological sciences and biopsychology, created a test to understand how people select mates as part of her Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship.

“Science is meant to be descriptive rather than prescriptive, and focusing exclusively on heterosexual people is not representative of reality. My research seeks to include the LGBTQIA+ community in conversation about how people pick partners. Because while it's the same, it's different.” 

Learn more about summer undergraduate research fellowshipS

Undergraduate Research: Why is it important?

Research and creative projects are at the heart of the CMU intellectual community, and they include significant work in the humanities and social sciences. From your very first year, you can participate in the thrill of discovery and creation of new ideas.

Explore a few of the options here:

Internships: Classroom Learning Meets Real-World Experience

Whether you choose an internship based in Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C. or another part of the world, it will be an experience that contributes additional context and meaning to what you’ve learned in the classroom.

Opportunities include:

Study Abroad: Gain a Global Perspective

Kady Yip holding their hands in the shape of a heard in front of a blue mural

There are many opportunities to study abroad for the summer, the semester or an entire academic year.

Community Engagement: A Vital Component of Learning

At Dietrich College, we believe that serving the community is an important part of your growth as both a student and a citizen of the world. Through these engagement opportunities, you’ll enhance your cultural understanding as well as your problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.

Opportunities include:

  • Community Engagement Fellowship Program: a unique program designed to equip students with the leadership skills needed for social change, the Community Engagement Fellowship Program provides students with academic training and experiential learning opportunities which cumulatively build toward developing the capacity for community-based leadership. 
  • Service Learning: because some of life’s most important lessons take place beyond the classroom.
  • Capstone and Practicum Courses: these classes encourage you to engage with corporate or nonprofit partners and make an impact on the world. Read more about these courses in the stories below.