About Us

1.    What is Experiential Learning?

Structured education activities that challenge participants to reflect upon, think critically about, and learn from their experience.

2.    What is the Minnesota Association For Experiential Learning?

MAFEL is a unique regional organization and professional forum fostering the development, promotion, and supervision of internships, community service learning, and field experience learning.

3.    Why did MAFEL begin?

Founded in 1975, MAFEL organized to create vital links between education, nonprofit, business, and government communities interested in promoting and supporting experiential learning. In 1980, MAFEL received nonprofit tax-exempt status.

4.    Who participates in MAFEL?

Members may include internship coordinators, site supervisors, career counselors, faculty at area colleges and universities, volunteer coordinators, human resource professionals, and individuals interested in experiential learning.

5.    What are the goals of the organization?

To promote internships, service learning, and experiential education as a means for students to enhance connections between academic learning and the world of work and service.

  • To create and strengthen partnerships between sites and education institutions.
  • To advance the practice of experiential learning by addressing common problems, developing new learning models and assessment tools, promoting principles of good practice, and asserting influence as a network of education, public service, and corporate professionals.
  • To serve as a resource network for sharing information and ideas, and serve as a forum for members' professional growth and development.

If you'd like to know more, feel free to contact any of us:

                          MAFEL Executive Committee

Co-Chair (School)

Patrick Smith

Assistant Director of Business Development
Carlson School of Management

After being born, raised, and schooled in Wisconsin. I decided to move to the Twin Cities and take part in the vibrant non-profit world that is so much more robust in Minnesota than it is in other areas around the US.  I started working at Goodwill/Easter Seals in St. Paul with their ex-offender and special needs population.  After a few years of working with those populations I decided to move to the Government sector and work with individuals that are looking for work because of job loss.  This was in the fall of 2007 right before the recession hit.  During the next few years I saw an average of 18,000 job seekers each year and taught classes, helped 1:1 for their job search, or was just a person to talk to.  During this time I was also attending St. Cloud State University and completing my graduate degree in Higher Education Administration.  After I completed my degree I have worked at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Hamline University and my current position at the University of Minnesota-Carlson School of Management.  In this role I work with current graduate students on helping them connect to employers and to help employers build their overall brand on our campus.  

Co-Chair (Site)

Sadie Ward

Human Resources Generalist                                        

The Guthrie



I joined MAFEL in 2014 around the same time I became the Human Resources Coordinator at the Ordway. MAFEL connects me with a huge network of professionals that have allowed me to not only learn more about best practices and industry standards, but consistently provides me with practical pieces of advice to improve the internship program I oversee and the interns I supervise. Experiential learning can be critical to shaping the foundations for an individual’s career. Internships, fellowships, and experiential learning are important to make sure our future professional are trained and informed about their career path.



Aric Bieganek

Career and Alumni Advisor

McNally Smith College of Music



Aric grew up in Central Minnesota with a background in the Arts. In 2002, Aric earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Songwriting at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. He has since built a career in the music industry as a performer and music educator in New York City, Western Massachusetts, and the Twin Cities where he resides in Richfield with his wife and daughter. In 2014, Aric earned a MA in business from Concordia University (St. Paul).

Currently, Aric is Career and Alumni Advisor at McNally Smith College of Music, where he works daily with students and alumni in helping them define, refine, and achieve their career goals. Aric has enjoyed his experience as a MAFEL member since joining the McNally Smith Career Services team in 2016 and believes that experiential learning is a very important piece of the puzzle for students as they explore their careers in a real world setting.


Lela Sanchez Oslin                                        

Placement Coordinator | Academic Advisor                                           

Department of Business & Economics                                                    

Bethel University                                                             

Office:  651.638.6286 | Fax:  651.635.8712                              


        Membership Chair                                             

Kathryn Wegler

Volunteer Services Coordinator

Minnesota Children's Museum



Kathryn is the Volunteer Services Coordinator at Minnesota Children's Museum and works across a spectrum of ages and opportunities to engage with all volunteers who donate their time and skills to the organization. In addition to coordinating adults and pro-bono volunteers, she manages a robust internship program and has managed MCM’s nationally recognized high school Play Team volunteer program. She is a strong proponent of internships and experiential learning, and her current role in volunteer leadership began with a HR/Volunteer Management internship at the Guthrie Theater.

She received her certificate of Volunteer Leadership from the Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration in 2015, and has since become a MAVA Trainer, training volunteer management professionals in the essential elements of leading volunteers.

Web & Social Media Coordinator                                           

            Liz Drake

Talent Acquisition Director 
Thomson Reuters

Liz has a wide range of career experiences working across multiple industries from small non-profits to large, multinational corporations.  For the past 15 years, Liz has focused her career on Talent Acquisition in the technology sector, partnering with companies to find, attract and hire their most valuable asset - their people.  Liz currently holds the role of Director, Corporate Technology Talent Acquisition at Thomson Reuters where she and her team hire technologists at various stages of their careers, including interns through executives.   Liz is a strong advocate for Thomson Reuters’ perspective that those who develop technology should reflect those who use technology – that means EVERYONE.  Casting a wide, inclusive net to attract diverse talent and establishing partnerships with organizations to support this are key to success.  Liz is passionate about working with young adults and has developed internship and new college grad programs, working closely with local high schools and colleges to bridge the gap between academia and industry.  She also enjoys conducting student workshops on Job Search Preparation to dispel common fears and provide guidance on driving a successful and fulfilling career path.  Liz is actively engaged in STEM outreach, raising awareness, in particular with young women, around the endless possibilities a career in technology offers.

Liz holds a Bachelor degree in Family Social Sciences and a Masters in Human Resource Development from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.