Bosque Students at Service Learning Conference

Five dedicated Service Learning Bosque student leaders—Jordyn ‘21, Mya ‘21, Hawthorn ‘22, Luc ‘22, and Livi ‘22— participated in the International Association for Research in Service Learning and Community Engagement (IARSLCE) conference last week. The conference was organized by UNM's Office for Community Engagement Initiatives and took place at Hotel Albuquerque. Bosque School’s Service Learning Director Ms. Anna Rutins said that the sessions “pushed our students out of their comfort zones.” Bosque School students were the only high school students in attendance; the rest of the conference was composed of professionals and graduate students. It gave our student leaders an opportunity to learn from professionals in our community and understand the importance of research in Service Learning. Bosque School student leaders were able to attend the conference because of the connection Ms. Rutins has with the Director of Engagement Initiatives at UNM, Dr. Monica Kowal. “I am so grateful for the opportunity our students had to attend this conference,” said Ms. Rutins. Learn more about their experiences:

“Being a part of this conference meant going out of my comfort zone and establishing relationships with adults in various sessions. Recognizing that I was a student in a room full of educators, researchers, and Service Learning entrepreneurs meant I had to put my social skills to use and be willing to engage in discussions. I knew that being a part of the Bosque community has prepared me to deal with these situations; it was just a matter of getting adults to trust what I was saying. Especially considering there is a stigma around teenagers often not knowing what we are talking about. One of my favorite parts of the day was sharing the work I am doing at school, and the reactions I received were amazing. I had to step back and realize that I share the same passion for Service Learning as these people from many different states. I realized that I was doing close to the same work as the conference speakers. I left the conference feeling confident and more knowledgeable.” ~Mya ‘21

“The IARSLCE conference taught me many things about being a Service Learning leader and an involved student. At first I felt very intimidated being in a room full of adults sharing countless data sets that support the work we do at Bosque nearly every day through Service Learning. As the conference progressed, I realized there was a lot to learn from the data that was presented, though it wasn't apparent at first glance. I learned that it is important to always have clear and constant communication, build a culture of transparency, and always reflect on the experiences of which you are a part. I feel as though Bosque has always taught me these things, but this conference was able to teach me how I can apply it to many other things as well.” ~Jordyn ’21

“The conference overall was a good experience. I feel I gained a lot of information about Service Learning and through the themes discussed in my groups. The workshop that I first attended reinforced fundamentals of not only learning the importance of social justice, but also the results of acting on those issues. The second speakers helped me think about the demographics we serve and our identities in regards to them. I questioned ideas of identifying with a served population while still feeling disconnected. This helped me specifically to think about how we talk and act with our community partners such as Crossroads for Women. I noticed immediately that we were the youngest participants at the conference, but I still felt I was able to engage and contribute.” ~Hawthorn ‘22

“The IARSLCE conference was a really good experience for me. Being a leader of the Bosque Art Therapy Society (BATS), initially I didn't see that many connections between my work with BATS and this conference, but as I went to different lectures, I learned things that I could most definitely apply to my work with BATS. I also attended lectures where my first impression was that I would get very little out of it, but it ended up yielding great new ideas for BATS and for Bosque's Service Learning programs as a whole. The information that I gathered in the conference is valuable to BATS because I learned about being able to use the power of students' abilities to push them to their maximum potential in Service Learning.” ~Luc ‘22