High School Scholars Visit U of A to Gain STEM Skills, Give Performance This Friday

Above: Scenes from the 2018 M-SEA performance. This year's performance is at 1:30 p.m. Friday, June 14, in Old Main's Giffels Auditorium. Below middle: This year's M-SEA group. Below bottom: Fort Valley State University President Paul A. Jones.
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Above: Scenes from the 2018 M-SEA performance. This year's performance is at 1:30 p.m. Friday, June 14, in Old Main's Giffels Auditorium. Below middle: This year's M-SEA group. Below bottom: Fort Valley State University President Paul A. Jones.

For the ninth year, rising high school juniors from Georgia, Oregon and Alaska 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 23 students were welcomed to campus by Yvette Murphy-Erby, vice chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion; Calvin White, associate dean of the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences; Department of Geosciences professor emeritus Van Brahana and professor Steve Boss; Romona West, assistant director of recruitment and outreach for the Graduate School and International Education; as well as Chancellor Joe Steinmetz and Fort Valley State University President Paul A. Jones. 

"I believe the willingness of 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 Environmental Dynamics Program and coordinator of the M-SEA program along with Boss.

While at the U of A the M-SEA students learn about the admission process, visit the Center for Multicultural and Diversity Education and the Honors College, and attend classes in geosciences taught by Van Brahana and Boss and in electrical engineering taught by professor Robert Saunders.

Fort Valley State University President Paul A. JonesThe students also take field trips to Savoy Research to learn about geology and hydrology, and to the Walmart Corporate Headquarters in Bentonville to learn about electrical engineering and power generation, and about big data, marketing, cyber security and new innovations.

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

The 2019 M-SEA performance is free and open to the public. It will take place from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Friday, June 14 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 over 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, 173 students have participated in this program at the University of Arkansas. Thirty-one have matriculated to its campus, with 21 graduates so far. Additionally, seven students chose to attend graduate school at the U of A — six in geosciences and one in 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 G.P.A 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 22 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 minorities and women entering the energy field.

Contacts

Jo Ann Kvamme, M-SEA co-coordinator
Department of Geosciences
479-575-6603, jkvamme@uark.edu

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