New Hope High School seniors Nathan Nabors, 17, Connor Rose, 17, Kelsi Speed, 17, and Austin Robinson, 18, study pamphlets at a college fair hosted by Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science at the Trotter Convention Center Monday. Nabors is the son of Jackie and David Nabors of New Hope; Rose is the son of Lynn and Stan Rose of New Hope; Speed is the daughter of Donald Speed of New Hope; Robinson is the son of Lynn Robinson of New Hope. Photo by: Deanna Robinson/Dispatch Staff
Columbus High School seniors TaMaryann Hemphill, 17, Lydia Dent, 18, Tanyla Thomas, 17, Amaya Gaines, 17, and Diamond Rogers, 17, all look at college pamphlets at a college fair for area high school students at the Trotter Convention Center Monday. Hemphill is the daughter of Gregory Hemphill of Gulfport and Dorsey Williams of Jackson; Dent is the daughter of Cassandra Dent of Columbus and Jessie Warren of Starkville; Thomas is the daughter of Keisha Thomas and Derek Porter of Columbus; Gaines is the daughter of Sameca and Lovrent Gaines of Columbus; Rogers is the daughter of Tyshon Rogers and Tiquellia Ledbetter of Columbus.
Photo by: Deanna Robinson/Dispatch Staff
Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science senior Gary Nguyen, 17, talks with Judd Williams from Mississippi State during the job fair at Trotter Convention Center in Columbus Monday. Nguyen has been accepted into the Honors College at MSU. He has also been accepted to Ole Miss. “I'm just waiting to hear on scholarships,” Nguyen said. He is the son of David Bennett and Dianne Nguyen.
Photo by: Deanna Robinson/Dispatch Staff
September 19, 2017 10:43:51 AM
Judd Williams has been all over eastern Mississippi talking to high school seniors at college fairs about admission at Mississippi State University.
But he said Monday's event at the Trotter Convention Center -- where 1,200 students had access to information and representatives from more than 50 universities -- was one of the largest and best fairs he's seen.
"This is an incredible step in the right direction for college fairs in Mississippi," he said. "... I definitely think this fair could serve as an example to the state."
Administrators from the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science organized the fair to give Lowndes County students the chance to talk to university admissions counselors about everything from majors and scholarships to how to schedule guided campus tours.
It's something MSMS provides for its own students every year, school executive director Germaine McConnell said. But this is the first year the school has opened the fair to students from all over the county.
"One of the things that we hope to do at MSMS is provide service to the local community," McConnell said. "... This is one more way of doing that."
The size of the fair and number of students in one place makes it easier both on admissions counselors at universities and guidance counselors at high schools, Williams said. There's one fair for everyone instead of eight different fairs at eight different schools. And Lowndes County, with two public school districts and several private schools, has hundreds of high school seniors who need college information.
More than 50 universities sent representatives to chat with those students and answer their questions. East Mississippi Community College had a booth, and both University of Mississippi and MSU had multiple tables set up, some just dedicated to one department or program.
But students could also talk to representatives from as far away as University of California-Berkley and the University of Rochester in New York.
Benjamin Toll, a representative from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., spoke with about 15 students Monday morning. Students particularly were interested in the university's majors, especially the engineering and journalism programs.
Toll knows most Mississippi students don't plan to go to school as far away as Washington, D.C. George Washington could probably fill its classes with students from Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey and California alone, he said.
"But that's not the class we're trying to build," he said. "... We're really strategic about hitting all the regions in the country."
Representatives from the Army, Air Force and Marines were on-hand, as well.
Columbus High School senior Diamond Rogers plans to study psychology, and she and her friends flocked to the MSU table when they arrived about 8:30 a.m. But when they left a couple of hours later, she was clutching pamphlets from Jackson State University and Vassar College in New York.
"(At Vassar), they let you do only your major," she said.
Her friend and fellow senior Amaya Gaines is surer than Rogers that she wants to go to MSU, where she plans to study veterinary medicine. At the college fair, though, she talked to university representatives about school's admissions process and Honors College.
"They told me about (campus) tours, the programs, the requirements," she said.
New Hope High School senior Kelsi Speed has always wanted to attend Mississippi University for Women's nursing program. But at the fair, she realized she could keep dancing if she attended MSU, which Williams said has a partnership with MUW that allows potential nursing students to get their undergraduate prerequisites in Starkville and then go to MUW's nursing program as graduates. Now Speed thinks she might apply to MSU instead -- depending on whether she makes the dance team.
"I think this was an amazing opportunity," she said.
Her fellow New Hope senior Nathan Nabors, who plans to study engineering at MSU, agreed.
"We have a plan," he said. "But there's a bunch of people who don't know what they're going to do and this kind of gives them a chance to know their options."
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