High School Scholars Visit U of A to Gain STEM Skills, Give Performance June 15

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For the eighth year in a row, nearly 30 rising high school juniors from Georgia, Oregon, Alaska and across the nation are visiting the University of Arkansas to take part in the Math, Science and Engineering Academy pre-college outreach program — known as M-SEA — in partnership with Fort Valley State University in Georgia.

The students were welcomed to campus by Yvette Murphy-Erby, vice provost for Diversity and Inclusion; Todd Shields, dean of the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences; Pat Koski, associate dean of the Graduate School and International Education; Department of Geosciences professor emeritus Van Brahana and professor Steve Boss; as well as Chancellor Joe Steinmetz.

"I believe the willingness of our upper administration to participate in this welcome event demonstrates their sincere commitment to increasing diversity and inclusion on our campus," said Jo Ann Kvamme, assistant director of the of Environmental Dynamics Program and co-coordinator of the M-SEA program.

Students then learned about the admission process, visited the U of A's Center for Multicultural and Diversity Education, visited the Honors College, and attended classes in geosciences taught by Van Brahana and Steve Boss, and electrical engineering classes taught by Robert Saunders. The students also participated in field trips to Savoy Research to learn about geology and hydrology, to the Harry D. Mattison Power Plant to learn about electrical engineering and power generation, and to Walmart Corporate Headquarters in Bentonville to learn about 'big data', marketing, cyber security and new innovations.

Each year the M-SEA program culminates with the students creating and performing songs, skits and clever dialog that demonstrate the complex principles they have learned in the classroom and field.

The 2018 M-SEA performance is free and open to the public. It will take place from 1:30 to 3 p.m. on Friday, June 15, in Giffels Auditorium on the second floor of Old Main.

M-SEA is part of the Cooperative Development Energy Program at Fort Valley State University (CDEP) initiated more than 30 years ago to aid in the introduction of academically talented minority and female students to the fields of energy, mathematics, earth science, biology, engineering and computer science. The mission of both programs is to work together to create a pipeline focused on the recruitment and placement of these scholars for professional careers in the energy industry.

The University of Arkansas became a partner in 2010 with students attending the M-SEA program on its campus every summer since 2011. To date, 154 students have participated in this program at the University of Arkansas. Twenty-seven participants have matriculated to our campus, with 20 graduates so far. Additionally, six students chose to attend graduate school at the University of Arkansas — five in geosciences and one studying mathematics.

To remain in the M-SEA program, students must maintain a B average in all math and science classes and receive at least a B on the exit test each summer. After successfully completing the program, students are offered a full scholarship to Fort Valley State University to study biology, chemistry or mathematics. Students will complete their coursework in three years taking 20-plus hours a semester.

Students successfully completing these degree requirements may then transfer to a partnering institution — including Georgia Tech, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Pennsylvania State University, University of Texas-Austin and University of Arkansas — to complete a second bachelor's degree in engineering, health physics or geosciences (only geosciences and engineering are offered at the U of A). Students will maintain their scholarship with adequate GPA for the following two years, then receive both bachelor's degrees.

"The program is a win for everyone," said Isaac J. Crumbly, founder of the two programs and Fort Valley State University's vice president for career and collaborative programs. "Fort Valley is able to attract and nurture talented students, who may otherwise not have considered a profession in STEM fields. Partners, like the University of Arkansas, draw transfer students who have a proven track record of academic success in STEM disciplines. However, the biggest winner is the student who has been mentored through high school, exposed to career choices, receives a scholarship for two bachelor's degrees and guidance as they progress into either graduate programs or the professional world."

Crumbly, two team members of CDEP and five college student counselors from Fort Valley State University provide student support and additional guidance as the nearly 30 M-SEA students learn new concepts and materials. Staff and counselors also help the students prepare for their closing ceremony. 

For more information on the Cooperative Developmental Energy Program or M-SEA programs, please visit www.fvsu.edu/academics/cdep.  

About the Cooperative Developmental Energy Program: The Cooperative Developmental Energy Program has been operational for over 30 years under the direction of Fort Valley State University's Vice President for Career and Collaborative Programs and founder, Isaac J. Crumbly, a native of Forrest City, Arkansas. Crumbly was the recipient of the 2014 Bromery Award for Achievement in Advancing Diversity in the Geosciences from the Geological Society of America, was the 2010 recipient of an honorary doctorate from the University of Arkansas, and has dedicated himself to making a significant increase in the number of minority and women entering the energy field.


Jo Ann Kvamme, assistant director, Environmental Dynamics Program, and M-SEA co-coordinator
Department of Geosciences
479-575-6603, jkvamme@uark.edu


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