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Office of Experiential Learning

Experiential Learning at the University of Dayton


The Office of Experiential Learning

Mission and Vision:

The Office of Experiential Learning (OEL) supports and promotes innovative, high-impact experiential learning (EL) across the University of Dayton (UD).  Committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, OEL believes that all students at UD should have access to experiential learning as part of their UD Marianist education for the whole person- mind, hands, and heart.

Through collaboration with EL practitioners and educators at UD, OEL fosters mindfulness and intentionality around EL and its transformative potential for students. OEL supports faculty and staff as they help students articulate and synthesize the lessons they have learned through hands-on, applied learning, and they ways they will make use of this experiential knowledge to make an impact in the world.

OEL Goals:
  • Develop and support faculty, staff, and student communities of practice around our common mission and vision for experiential learning
  • Assist in the coordination, implementation, and communication of EL efforts at UD
  • Ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion for EL, so that students of all backgrounds and identities have the opportunity to engage in rich EL opportunities
  • Support student success- personally, academically, professionally, and vocationally- by increasing student engagement with quality EL
  • Provide models and resources for EL best-practices, including EL assessment, reflection, mentorship, and advising
  • Support student-driven learning and student-centered design of EL by listening to student voices and perspectives
Karen Velasquez

Director of Experiential Learning

Karen Velasquez is the University of Dayton's first Director of Experiential Learning. She holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology and Education and a M.Ed in International Education Development from Columbia University, Teachers College in New York City. Karen is interested in how people learn through experience in diverse social contexts, and her work highlights the transformative impact of experiential learning on students lives. At UD she collaborates with faculty and staff who integrate innovative experiential pedagogies in their courses and programs, and she showcases students reflections on experiential learning through digital storytelling in her Experiential Learning Lab workshop. She is originally a Queens, New York City native of Colombian descent.
Rhyan Pearson

Program Coordinator and Peer Advisor

Rhyan Pearson is a junior majoring in International Studies and Political Science. In his role as Program Coordinator, he works to facilitate EL events across campus, including labs, workshops, and trainings. He also works with faculty and other departments to help them integrate EL in their respective areas through grants, events, and trainings. Rhyan also serves as Director of Special Programs for the Student Government Association and as President of the Social Justice Club.
Sophia Williamson

Graduate Assistant

Sophia Williamson is the Graduate Assistant for the Office of Experiential Learning (OEL) working on her Master of Arts in Communication, with Graduate Certificates in both Health Communication (HCM) and Strategic Public Relations (SPR). She completed her undergraduate coursework at UD in 2018 with a B.A. in Communication with a focus in Public Relations. As a Marketing and Media Producer, she films, edits, and creates video content for the OEL. In addition, she photographs and covers EL events on and off-campus.

Colleen Kelch

Social Media Coordinator 

Colleen Kelch is a senior communication major, with a focus in Public Relations, from Chicago, Illinois. She works to create and manage the social media accounts for the office and collaborates with her team members to produce informative and interesting digital content. She also connects with other departments and organizations to promote different events on campus. 


The Office of Experiential Learning

Roesch Library
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469