2024 Undergraduate Research Showcase

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Jennifer Mallette


Many adults are returning to higher education to “skill up” and need support in the classroom to succeed in their writing and communication goals. Two approaches, flexibility and experiential learning, would allow adult learners to leverage the experience they bring to the classroom. Supporting adult students who desire experiential learning opportunities in writing helps them gain specific expertise, strengthens critical communications skills, and prepares them to advance in their career goals. However, many adult learners are unable to access experiential learning. If universities prioritized making experiential learning opportunities truly available to all students and supported faculty in every department to have the resources to offer these experiences, it would increase the equity of experiential education.

My experience as an undergraduate adult learner put me in a unique position to explore this research question: What is the experience for the undergraduate adult learner around experiential education, and how can we increase opportunities for access? I have seen and experienced inequities in the system and will be researching what the barriers are and provide recommendations for improving access. My goal is to share my findings with CCCC attendees to provide a comprehensive look at the experience of the undergraduate adult learner so attendees working in the field of writing studies can identify gaps and barriers in their programs to specifically support adult writers across.

Starting in January 2024, I will conduct primary research with adult learners through interviews and surveys. This project will evaluate experiential education barriers specifically related to writing and communication for the adult learner and evaluate how the results speak to the national data. Additionally, faculty will be interviewed regarding their efforts to help adult students achieve this integration. With my faculty mentor, I will submit IRB for approval in December of 2023. Primary research, interviews, analysis, and coding of data should be completed by the end of March 2024. This presentation will focus on the preliminary data and implications to share with CCCC attendees.


This research was funded by the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Grant.