Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

Ryland White


This Capstone, The Heart of Experience: The Education of a Practitioner’s Journey, is an illustrative reflection of myself experiencing my learning cycle, taking the reader through my own journey of growth as an experiential education practitioner. To engage the reader, I first shine light on the context of what role experience played in my life as a form of education, specifically reflecting on my time living abroad in China and my cross-cultural work with Chinese youth in Manhattan, New York, emphasizing basketball’s involvement as a tool for engagement. I describe how such experiences helped me return to school. To portray my education at SIT Graduate Institute, I reflect on my application of David A. Kolb’s experiential learning theory and learning styles, bell hooks’ engaged pedagogy, social justice education, and facilitation roles while founding the student-centered poetry club A Nook for Rhyme Crooks. Through Paulo Freire’s teachings, my analytical reflection of my educational journey transforms into a newfound purpose of using alternative methods to educate the upcoming Chinese youth. I deepen my education further by choosing to work as the Global Leadership and Engagement Program Director for an organization called VIA: Volunteers in Asia during my practicum phase, continuing to operate within the East Asian-United States cross-cultural youth development demographic and implementing creative expression into the experiential learning cycle. Through reflection and analysis of my practicum experience, a reformation of biases result in a new realization about Chinese youth engagement and interest, culminating into a revelation regarding the education of basketball as experiential learning. I draw on philosophies of basketball particularly John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success and his peers to parallel experiential learning theory to support its substance with intellectual underpinnings that align with my own morals and beliefs of what I feel successful education is to be. To conclude, I present an original program design called Heart of Basketball: Leadership, Teamwork, and the Pursuit of Success, which is the manifestation of myself as a half-Chinese experiential education practitioner, what my life experiences have taught me, and what I believe to be the most impactful way to successfully cultivate experiential education for Chinese youth. This capstone serves as the final product of my landings as an experiential education practitioner, the fulfillment of my own learning cycle, and the ensuing segue into the next cycle of my transformation.


Adult and Continuing Education | Asian Studies | Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Community-Based Learning | Education | Educational Leadership | Educational Sociology | Humane Education | International and Comparative Education | Leadership Studies | Other Education | Sports Studies