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A Cluster Course matched with the support of alumni creates full-circle experiential learning

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Posted on Friday, January 29, 2021

The multi-faceted understanding and focus that a cluster course provides is just one of the many aspects that make a Westminster education so special. That aspect – matched with the support of our generous alumni – creates a full-circle myriad of experiential exploration.

Last semester, students in the Environmental Project Management Academy (EPMA), a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded cluster course, benefitted from the opportunity to weave together science and business, then gather feedback from alumni about their work. The grant was awarded to Dr. Helen Boylan, Director of the Center for the Environment at Westminster; Brian Petrus, Assistant Professor in the School of Business; and Dr. Alison DuBois, Associate Professor of Education and Chair of the Graduate School.

“Because of the pandemic, like other years, the EPMA program was not able to collaborate with an external community partner,” shared “Instead, the students studied the science and business of four entrepreneurial ventures associated with Westminster's outdoor resources: honey bees, maple syrup, Christmas tree farm, and industrial hemp as a cash crop. Alumni stepped in to help take their projects to the next level.”

Students pitched aspects of their projects with a brief oral presentation and a showcase of their videos for alumni and other stakeholders to evaluate and provide feedback. The Bee Team won Honorable Mention in the category of "Business, Policy, and Society" at the 2020 Student Symposium on the Environment. Watch the winning video here.

To offer feedback to students through this program in the future, contact Dr. Boylan at