(JACKSON, Miss.) — A $75,000 grant from 3M will help Jackson State University provide students with a Pathway to Academic and Technology Success through the university’s summer bridge program.
PATS will immerse students in a number of topics that will help them make an easy transition to college, prepare them for academic success, and place them on a trajectory for a STEM-based career.
The program will also include a mental-health element, and participants will have access to a network of experts and opportunities for collaboration and mentoring.
“Student-athletes and band members are among the university’s biggest ambassadors,” says Associate Provost Brandi Newkirk-Turner, Ph.D. “Even with hectic schedules, overall, both groups excel academically and have been successful in managing their academics and their athletic or musical talent. Still, it is important for the University to continue to seek ways to support these students in their academic endeavors.”
PATS is the result of an ongoing collaboration between the Divisions of Academic Affairs, Athletics, and Research and Economic Development.
The group’s overall aim is to impact diversity, equity, and inclusion in science, technology, engineering and math innovation by enhancing students’ academic preparedness and technical skills using essential tools and resources that will aid them in being successful students and future professionals.
“This partnership will provide solutions to engaging student-athletes and band members in innovative activities that will have a lasting impact on their academics and future careers,” says Almesha L. Campbell, Ph.D., assistant vice president for Research and Economic Development.
Furthermore, Campbell says, the goal is to propel students to the highest academic level of success while providing them with the technological skills to compete in the global marketplace.
Associate Athletic Director Hakim McClellan says the grant provides much-needed support to the university’s student-athletes and Sonic Boom band members.
“It will give us a great boost in ensuring our students matriculate successfully,” says McClellan. “Partnerships of this magnitude are what motivates and drives me to work hard for our student-athletes.”
The director then references the Division of Athletics’ motto, “Building on Tradition and Blazing New Trails,” created by Vice President of Athletics Ashley Robinson.
“This grant will definitely help us blaze new trails,” says McClellan.
When it comes to STEM, JSU has been known to make waves. The university’s chemistry program produces the third highest in bachelors degrees, second highest in masters degrees, and third highest in doctoral degrees in physical sciences awarded to African Americans in the country.
Newkirk-Turner, who is also a professor of communicative disorders, adds that the PATS program is timely because the future of work is being shaped by artificial intelligence, automation, and other technological advances. Thus, students from all disciplines must be prepared for this significant shift.
“One of the objectives of JSU’s strategic plan, “Elevate,” is to ensure that we promote a student-centered university that enhances student experiences and provides enriched support systems and related programs, which provide increased opportunities for student success. I believe that the PATS program will contribute significantly to this objective.”
Information regarding how students can apply to the PATS Summer Bridge Program is forthcoming.