US Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine hosted the first Technology Awareness Program (TAP) Student Leadership Symposium at Jackson State University from July 12-14.
The three-day camp was designed to emphasize academic achievement, personal health and career development in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to high school students.
The TAP Student Leadership Symposium, which was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration, provided a forum for students to learn from industry-leading STEM professionals and college professors about topics such as cyber security, energy, and the armed forces.
Students also participated in college preparation sessions focused on goal setting, SAT preparation, and study skills.
“Attending the TAP camp and listening to the presenters has given me an idea of what I want to do with me life,” said Tyler, a 14 year-old freshman from Jackson, Mississippi. “I plan on attending college and becoming a marine biologist”
Emphasizing academic achievement to underrepresented students throughout the country is critical for the future of our nation. Only 58 percent of African-American students in Mississippi graduate high school, compared to 66 percent of Caucasian students. Nationally, only 56 percent of African-American students graduate high school, compared to 78 percent of Caucasian students.
“We started this program to promote and foster self-improvement in STEM,” said Ty Taborn, program coordinator of the TAP Student Leadership Symposium. “We realize that the camp was only three days long. However, our goal was not to teach STEM subjects to the students, but to expose the students to the rewarding career possibilities and provide them with real-life role models in these critical fields. After receiving feedback from the participating students, there is no question that we achieved our goal.”
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, STEM occupations are projected to grow by 17.0 percent from 2008 to 2018, compared to 9.8 percent growth for non-STEM occupations. STEM workers also command higher wages, earning 26 percent more than non-STEM workers. These fields of study will continue to play an increasingly larger role in the growth and stability of the U.S. economy.
The second TAP Student Leadership Symposium will be held from July 27-29 at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. For more information about the TAP Student Leadership Symposiums, please contact Joshua Zoldan at 410-244-7101, ext 130 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org