In the Press

Mills Faculty and Staff Look Forward To Experiential Learning, Being Part of Global University System

July 8, 2022

Originally published on News@Northeastern.

OAKLAND, Calif.—Before Helen Walter graduated secondary school in her native England, she was accepted into some of the United Kingdom’s most prestigious colleges. But she chose to enroll at Coventry University.

Why? Because it required undergraduate students to spend a full year working in the industry of their choice before earning their diploma.

“Looking back, it was the Northeastern model of success,” says Walter, comparing the Coventry program two decades ago to Northeastern’s 100-year-old signature co-op experiential learning program.

Helen Walter, visiting associate professor of biology at Mills College, poses for a portrait. Photo by Ruby Wallau for Northeastern University

Walter’s decision paid off when she applied for her first job after graduation. “I was up against somebody who went to a much more prestigious university,” she says. “They had a much higher grade point average and a first-class honors degree, but they hired me because I had that experience.”

Fast-forward to today and Walter is now a visiting associate professor of biology at Mills College, which is expected to officially merge with Northeastern on July 1.