Week 6: Center for Engaged Liberal Arts (CELA)

Ready, Set, Oberlin! A week-by-week guide to prepare for your arrival

Issue #6

Center for Engaged Liberal Arts (CELA)

A staff member coaching students

Explore, Experience, and Launch with the Center for Engaged Liberal Arts (CELA)

By Tania Boster, Arts & Science Director of Experiential Learning

Experiential education—learning that occurs outside of the traditional classroom—takes many forms at Oberlin. Here, you can address real-world challenges by conducting research with your professor or by working with local nonprofits and community organizations. You can explore a career, travel internationally, learn to think like an entrepreneur, and much more. 

The Center for Engaged Liberal Arts (CELA) is the place to connect with professional staff and peer mentors who will help you put your academic learning into action. Visit us on the ground floor of the Mudd Center, where you can explore internship and study abroad opportunities, work on your learning portfolio, learn from community organizers and nonprofits, find a research mentor, design your Winter Term project—and integrate all of these opportunities into your academic experience.

Here’s just a sample of what you’ll find in CELA: 

Undergraduate Research

A faculty member and student in a lab.

Obies have opportunities to work closely and directly with their professors to ask questions, design projects, and participate in cutting-edge exploration across the humanities, arts, and social sciences, as well as the natural sciences, computer science, and math.

Learn more about undergraduate research.

The Bonner Center

The Bonner Center is Oberlin’s hub for connecting the classroom to communities engaged in social change and public service. You can partner with nonprofit, public sector, and non-governmental organizations in a range of fields, from the arts and public humanities to food and nutrition security, education, environmental sustainability, global health, and more.

Learn more about the Bonner Center.


Oberlin’s entrepreneurship programs connect Obies with alumni, friends of the college, and local specialists in innovation and business. Through real-world activities and expert coaching, you’ll be challenged to hone your intellectual and artistic passions.

Learn more about Entrepreneurship.

Study Away

Students studying abroad.

Every year, over 250 Obies study away during the summer, semester, or full year. This can be an important way of gaining the experiences, knowledge, and skills necessary to engage with a globally interconnected world. Oberlin offers 125 semester or year-long programs in over 40 countries on six continents. Regardless of your major, there’s a study away program that’s right for you.

Learn more about study away.

Winter Term

All Obies have the chance to pursue an interest outside of Oberlin’s regular course offerings through a four-week immersive experience in January. Winter Term projects can be done independently or in a group and can take place on campus or anywhere around the world. At the annual Winter Term Festival of Ideas, students join together to share and celebrate their projects.

Learn more about Winter Term.

Career Development and Exploration

Students at Sony Studios

Put your liberal arts skills into action! The Career Development Center offers one-on-one and group advising to help students find meaningful opportunities in their desired field.

An internship will help you learn about a career through direct experience in that field. Oberlin will help you find and fund an internship for the summer or during the academic year.

Career Communities connect Obies with other students, alumni, parents, and faculty who share an interest or expertise in a particular field. You’ll gain skills and experience along with course credit and a summer internship.

Learn more about the Career Development Center.


Oberlin’s Fellowships and Awards office works with students applying for nationally competitive programs in a range of fields, from science to music performance to politics. Oberlin has more than 220 alumni of the Fulbright Student Program and is a top producer of Fulbright awards nationally.

Learn more about Fellowships and Awards.