MSEN students tour southern universities this summer

Kesha Williams
June 19, 2015

While many teenagers are planning leisure activities for summer, a group of dedicated high school students are anticipating a week of college campus tours. They are participants in the North Carolina Mathematics and Science Education Network Pre-College Program (NC-MSEN) at Elizabeth City State University. The mission of the program is to increase the pool of students who graduate from North Carolina high schools with sufficient interest and preparation to pursue university-level majors that lead to careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and teaching (North Carolina General Assembly, 1986).For the past 29 years, the NC-MSEN program has been committed to providing high quality, year-round academic enrichment programs and activities that support average to above average students who have been insufficiently exposed to mathematics- and science-based courses and careers. ECSU is one of four universities in the University of North Carolina system that hosts the program on its campus. The NC-MSEN program has been housed on ECSU's campus for 28 years. Since 2009, 27 participants from this program chose to enroll as college freshmen at ECSU. Milton Bond, coordinator of the MSEN program at ECSU, said he is pleased with the progress students from this area are making. "Recently 88 percent of high school students participating in our program were surveyed. They indicated they were satisfied with the career awareness component of the program such as our guest speakers," Bond said. "Sometimes we invite ECSU faculty from math, science and technology departments to speak to these teenagers about career options in science, math, engineering and technology (STEM)," Bond said. "Some area schools offer STEM classes but MSEN provides the exposure youths need beyond the classroom instruction. MSEN participants learn which careers they can pursue and they tour the college campuses that provide degree programs relevant to STEM careers." This summer, students from area high schools will visit four college campuses to learn about their math and science degree programs. These MSEN participants will participate in the "Deep South College Road Trip," which runs from June 23 to June 26. Coordinators, teachers, students and chaperones will travel to universities in Alabama and Mississippi to tour Jackson State University, Mississippi State University, the University of Alabama, and Tuskegee University. Students attending include Renada White of Elizabeth City; Denvell Sutton of Elizabeth City; Joseph Richardson of Ahoskie; Alyssa Bartlett of Camden and Shaquel Phifer of Elizabeth City. The "Deep South College Road Trip" is not only part of the MSEN program, but a reward for these students who made a great impression on their MSEN peers at last spring's annual MSEN Day at Winston Salem State University. Approximately 80 high and middle school students from ECSU's MSEN program traveled to the competition. They ranked well in 23 competitions and earned 9 first- place medals, 8 second-place medals, and 6 third-place medals. Competitors came from all four universities that host MSEN programs on their campuses. Teams competed in categories ranging from 6th Grade Math - Calculus; 6th Grade Science - Physics; Engineering & Design; Oratorical/Public Speaking; Quiz Bowl, and more. Of the Pre-College Program sites ECSU placed first overall. "The 29th Annual MSEN Day gave our students an opportunity to compete for prizes and to build their courage. So much of the competition young people witness or engage in today is isolated to athletic competitions. These academic competitions are related to their future college majors and their careers," Bond said. "Excelling in college in the future and in STEM careers is the exact outcome this program is designed to achieve." For more information on MSEN, see the following link: http://www.ecsu.edu/academics/programs/msen/mission.cfm