calm and collected. That's how Howard University student Christopher
Newman imagines he will be when he heads off for graduate school.
The mechanical engineering major's confidence
is being seeded and nourished while attending The University of
Southern Mississippi's Alliance for Graduate Education in Mississippi's
(AGEM) summer research program.
Now in its fifth year, the program started May
31 and ends August 1.
Its eight participants hail from Howard University,
The University of Arkansas Pine Bluff, The University of Mississippi,
Mississippi State University, Alcorn State University and Mississippi
Valley State University.
Sponsored by the National Science Foundation,
the goal of the program is to arm minority students studying science,
engineering, math and technology with valuable research experience
to assist in their efforts of earning a doctoral degree.
Teaming up with participants, university faculty
mentors also prep students on the graduate school admissions' process
and provide written and oral communication workshops to boost GRE
scores, leadership and interview skills, plus enhance life-saving
Besides the opportunity to perform graduate-level
research and exposure to personal and professional development opportunities,
AGEM gives participants a $3,500 stipend, free meals and board,
and unlimited access to the Payne Center and Cook Library.
Newman-the youngest in the program this year-said
he's learning many things, including the notion that it is never
too early to start looking for graduate schools to attend.
He said the knowledge he's gaining is invaluable
as he hopes to one day work for a major engineering consultant firm.
"I am gaining experience in the laboratory,
including the proper method of recording and analyzing data,"
said the freshman who is currently researching the phase separation
of liquid crystals and pre-polymers.
"The most important thing I have learned
is what's expected from students when doing research in a laboratory,
but the one thing I will remember most from this program is the
people - both participants and faculty. The faculty and staff have
been some of the most understanding and caring people that one could
Newman said a few of the participants are now
considering the Southern Miss graduate program, thanks to their
experiences this summer.
Some of those experiences included visits to
Stennis Space Center, Marine Life Oceanarium, and Gulf Coast Research
Lab. More fun is to come as the group is gearing up for an end-of-year
banquet and field trip.
AGEM summer project director Andre' Heath said,
"The program has been very successful in reaching its goals.
The past participants have presented their research at local and
national conferences as well as entered graduate school, physical
therapy school, nursing school, or have jobs in their related fields."
There is no fee to join the program. However,
participants are selected based on information received from their
applications and letters of recommendation.
For more information about the program, please
contact Andre' Heath at (601) 266-6593.