Greetings from the Hinds Utica Campus! This past semester I had the opportunity to take 25 students to visit four-year colleges and universities with strong programs in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).In order to participate, students had to complete an Academic Success plan that laid out goals, objectives, obstacles and ways university faculty and staff could support them. When the students were asked what they wanted to learn from the tour, many indicated that they wanted to learn more about STEM, the different programs that fall under STEM and transfer scholarship information.
Our first stop when we made it to Baton Rouge was Pennington Biomedical Research Center. Pennington works to discover triggers of chronic illnesses. They employ many faculty, staff and post-doc students who discover cutting edge research on the triggers of various diseases such as diabetes, dementia, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Pennington Biomedical Research Center is also home of the only infant metabolic chamber. At Pennington, students met with scientists, engineers and other staff as they shared touching stories of their personal journey into the field of STEM.
The first university school, we visited in Baton Rouge was Southern University, affectionally known as Southern or SU. After a campus tour and learning about transfer student scholarship and requirements, we visited the College of Science and Engineering. There, the students met with faculty as they discussed academic culture and expectation as well as job outlook with a major in one of the STEM fields.
Says one student about the Southern University, “I like Southern University; it is a good college for STEM majors; not only will you learn the material, but they will help you find a good job in your field of study.”
After leaving Southern, we went to Louisiana State University (LSU - Geaux Tigers). There, we visited the College of Science and the College of Engineering and learned about scholarship information and transfer requirements. While at LSU, we also toured the school of engineering and we went on an engineering shop tour. There we met LSU students who were working on their senior projects for graduation.
After the tour, the students were given a survey about their experience. One student noted, “There are so many engineering programs to choose from and there is a flowchart to educate you on the classes that you need to complete.” They also talked about their study habits, personal lives and the area of Engineering they were passionate about and why.
After the shop tour, we went on a tour of the LSU Stadium also known as Death Valley. There we learned the history of the stadium and were the first group ever to see the promotional video for the Fall 2017 football season.
Overall the experience was awesome!
Dr. Erin Vaughn Jones is director for Intervention and Instruction Equals Retention and Graduation on the Utica Campus.