Stanford platform offers central location for off-campus learning

Celine Wang
In 2017, undergraduate Celine Wang helped create and install affordable remote monitoring systems for small-scale power plants on the Indonesian island of Sumba, under an Engineering in Service International Fellowship awarded by the university. She is pictured at the Palindi Wind Turbine farm with Mas Petu, a supervisor with IBEKA, the Indonesian nongovernmental organization devoted to improving the living standards of rural communities – including through electrification projects using renewable energy. (Image courtesy Celine Wang)

Students interested in pursuing internships, research projects, public service gigs and study tours – across the United States and around the world – will find an ever-growing list of activities listed on the new platform, Stanford Off-Campus Learning Opportunities.

Undergraduate and graduate students alike are invited to search the platform – known as SOLO for short – by keyword and/or by location – for programs off the Farm.

A search for “women’s rights,” for example, yields several international opportunities for Stanford undergraduates, including Project Dosti 2018 in India.

A search for “health care” and “China” yields a description of a 2018 fellowship at the Center for Experimental Economics in Education in Xi’an, China, for an undergraduate student with advanced proficiency in Mandarin.

A search for “sustainable agriculture” and “United States” yields a description of a 2018 internship at the TomKat Ranch – an 1,800-acre cattle ranch producing grass-fed, grass-finished, pasture-raised beef – in nearby Pescadero, for undergraduates and students earning coterminal degrees.

Pauline Larmaraud, the associate director of Stanford’s Office of International Affairs who led the university team that created SOLO, said the platform allows programs, centers, institutes, departments and schools to broadcast their off-campus learning opportunities simultaneously to the widest possible audience on campus.

“With more and more interdisciplinary efforts underway across campus, a lot of the off-campus learning opportunities are available to a wider group of students,” Larmaraud said.

“If someone is offering an internship in global health, for example, they would want to broadcast the opportunity to academic departments in the School of Humanities and Sciences, and also to the School of Medicine and the School of Engineering.”

On SOLO, students will find off-campus opportunities available under Cardinal Quarter, the full-time, quarter-long public service programs offered by the Haas Center for Public Service that are designed to integrate academic learning with field-based experience.

In addition, students can design their own off-campus learning experience through SOLO, by working with a campus partner to identify a project or activity, such as Girls Code Camp, a program created and carried out by Stanford undergraduate students in India.

Using SOLO, university staff members who manage off-campus learning opportunities can post opportunities, collect applications, award and prepare students for travel, and collect data for reporting purposes – all in one place.

“We are constantly pushing out new enhancements to SOLO to meet the needs of staff members posting opportunities on the platform,” Larmaraud said. “We’re also adapting the platform to accommodate the needs of new users who want to begin posting their opportunities on the platform.”

Currently, SOLO features more than 300 off-campus learning opportunities posted by more than 30 departments and other academic units. Last year, students submitted 2,200 applications on the platform, 1,200 of which were unique applicants.