Collaborative Experiential Learning Program Provides Diverse Range of Experiences
January 19, 2022
Jason O'Hearn
St. Thomas University Student Strengthens Connection to New Brunswick Through Experiential Learning Opportunity
January 19, 2022

New UNB Program Aims to Match Students with Community-Oriented Organizations

Real-world employment experience is often tough to come by for university students. UNB is now opening doors to students looking to take the skills learned in the classroom and utilize them across organizations and businesses in New Brunswick. These new opportunities aren’t only for students searching for work experience, but also those who are interested in positively impacting their local New Brunswick community.

This past summer, UNB launched their ‘EngagedUNB’ summer internship program campus wide, a Future NB initiative which aims to match 41 equity-deserving students with 31 community-oriented organizations and businesses across the province.

The program enables students to apply skills learned at school to projects ranging from website development, to data collection, all with the goal of improving the health and well-being of their communities.

Benefiting from the program this summer was Aritra De, a first-year international student from India. A software engineering student, Aritra was paired with the Asian Heritage Society of New Brunswick (AHSNB) and given the role of media coordinator. Aritra was able to use the technical skills gained in his UNB program to update the organization’s website, as well as create videos to promote different events throughout the summer.

It was a valuable experience that helped Aritra provide a clearer idea of what his future might hold.

“I look forward to a career in the software industry,” says Aritra. “This experience will act as a very good Launchpad for my future career.”

Casey Leonard is another student who benefited from the ‘EngagedUNB’ program, by working for the Canadian Rivers Institute last summer, an organization that works to understand and protect Canada’s water resources. Casey, a biology student, worked on the Striped Bass Project, helping research the effects of striped bass on salmon smolts.

Not only did this experience provide Casey the opportunity to put her technical skills to good use over the summer, but she also took advantage of the networking opportunity the role provided her and was able to expand her professional contacts.

“I met people from all over the world, not just from New Brunswick and Canada,” says Casey. “It gave me the opportunity to make a lot of valuable connections.”

The Future NB initiative fosters collaborative relationships between the business community and students across New Brunswick. Through experiential learning, students gain real world experience while contributing to the development of their community.

Partnering with Future NB on their efforts is RBC, who have made investing in experiential learning a key component of their RBC Future Launch initiative. RBC Future Launch is a $500 million commitment to bringing young people together with community leaders and partners across the private and public sectors to help youth prepare for the future of work.

These experiential learning opportunities have in some instances led to securing future employment. This is the case for Laine Harley, who took part in the ‘EngagedUNB’ Internship program last summer working with the Teen Resources Centre (TRC). The TRC is an organization that aims to create safe environments and mentorship programs for underprivileged youth.

Laine, a 21 year-old mathematics and statistics student at UNB, worked as the youth program coordinator helping create comfortable space for children to be themselves, while also applying her education through her work as a mentor and math tutor. She has now been able to use this experience to secure future employment at the TRC.

“This is the place that changed my career,” says Laine. “The TRC has offered me a part-time position during next fall and winter, and already been accepted for a summer position next year.”

For more information on the EngagedUNB summer internship program, visit the UNB Experiential Education website at or contact the Office of Experiential Education at

For more information on experiential learning opportunities in New Brunswick, interested employers and students can check out more success stories during RBC Future NB Week from January 24-28, 2022 at