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Students from Praxis Partner School Learn About College Life on Tour of Campus

November 16, 2022
Students from Overbrook Educational Center on a tour of Bryn Mawr's campus.

More than 30 eighth-grade students from Overbrook Educational Center (OEC) visited Bryn Mawr’s campus recently to get a taste of college life. While on campus they took tours, were treated to a dance workshop, and enjoyed lunch in New Dorm dining hall.

The visit was part of a partnership between the school and Bryn Mawr’s Praxis program.

Praxis is an experiential, community-based program that integrates theory and practice through student engagement in active, relevant fieldwork that is integrated into academic courses.

Working with the students and faculty at OEC are students in President Kim Cassidy’s educational psychology course. The Bryn Mawr students spend at least two hours each week at the school, assisting teachers in a variety of ways and getting to see the theory they learn about in class put into practice.

Abby Fortune ‘23, a Growth and Structure of Cities major and psychology minor partnered with Senior Associate Director of Praxis Liv Raddatz to plan and coordinate the trip.

Fortune works with the music teacher at OEC and the Bryn Mawr visit was her first time meeting the eighth graders.

“I love event planning and getting different aspects of my life to overlap,” says Fortune. “As a member of the EdPsych course who is also a tour guide, I wanted to bring my resources in conversation with each other to plan the OEC visit.”

In addition to classmates, Fortune recruited other tour guides for the visit.

“Visiting my local university as a kid was incredibly influential in my motivation to work hard in high school and pursue a higher education. I hope we were able to provide a taste of the post high school options available to these students,” says Fortune. “The OEC tour was one of my favorites out of more than 70 tours I have given. They were engaged and asked excellent questions. One student shared at lunch that she never wanted to leave campus.”

Abby Fortune ‘23 talks with students in the Cloisters

OEC has been hosting Bryn Mawr and Haverford students for fieldwork in the course and other Praxis courses since at least 2015. Students in Professor of Sociology David Karen’s Sociology of Education course also do fieldwork at the school.

"Having Bryn Mawr College students come regularly to our school helps our students have college mentors who they can look up to and ask for assistance in class,” says OEC Principal Meredith Foote. “Extra sets of hands, fresh eyes, and positive young adults in our classrooms have brought joy, excitement, and much needed help to our school. 

"Seeing a college campus that is less than four miles away provides students with a goal to work towards. Students came back to our school motivated and excited to have had the experience of seeing a college campus. You can hear about college all day long but actually going to one and getting a tour from students like our partners at Bryn Mawr makes the thought and dream of college a reality within reach.”

A total of 87 students are participating in the Praxis program this semester. There are five departmental Praxis I and II courses and seven Praxis independent study courses this fall. The nature and extent of Praxis fieldwork varies in the different classes. Some students work up to 10 hours per week with an off-campus community partner as part of their course.

Last academic year, 10 different departments at Bryn Mawr offered Praxis courses and the College worked with 26 community partners in a variety of fields.