In hosting a college fair for area Health Sciences and Technology Academy students, West Virginia University will open its doors to 160 future scientists, technologists, engineers, doctors and educators.
WVU’s College of Human Resources and Education will host two events at Allen Hall – one on July 17 and the other on July 24. Each event begins at 5:30 p.m.
WVU HR&E is partnering with eight in-state universities, the WVU Financial Aid Office and three student organizations to share the importance of higher education with the students, who are high school juniors. The state higher education institutions are: Bluefield State College; Concord University; Fairmont State University/Pierpont Career and Technical Center; Glenville State University; Marshall University; West Liberty University; and West Virginia Northern Career and Technical Center.
Dr. Charline Barnes Rowland, HSTA Summer Institute Director and WVU reading education associate professor, said only 56 percent of all high school students in West Virginia decide to attend college, but 97 percent of HSTA graduates attend.
The fair, she said, “encourages the understanding that education is still making a difference in their lives and that they should consider it as a future profession, too.”.
The fair also offers roundtable discussions with STEM professionals and WVU professors about their college preparation, career progression and research. The students will participate in a question-and-answer session with their WVU student mentors, many who are current STEM and education majors.
“The college night offers a safe space for questions where the students can ask all about the college experience: academics, housing and socializing, for example,” Rowland said. “Since many mentors are HSTA alumni, they understand the students’ perspectives. Without HSTA, many would not otherwise attend college so they know first-hand about going from the fear and doubt to success.”
In addition to the college fair, the students attend daily lectures and labs and evening social activities around campus to gain a comprehensive college experience.
To date, 1,399 successful HSTA alumni have attended college or professional school, including 13 current students in the College of Human Resources and Education.
HSTA is a curriculum developed through community leadership with multiple university partnerships and funded through the West Virginia legislature, National Institutes of Health, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Benedum and others. The program follows ninth through 12th grade minority and underrepresented students through their high school careers and into college, offering tuition waivers and preparing them for STEM careers.
To be eligible for HSTA, students must be African American, low income, first generation college students and/or rural West Virginia residents. If accepted, they are required to participate in a rigorous academic, extra-curricular and community service program throughout their high school years.
“HSTA allows for diversity in the college preparatory experience,” Rowland said. “Once they arrive at college they are fully integrated, but HSTA makes a difference because the students can fall back on their preparation from the HSTA Fun with Science, Forensics, Biomedical and Senior components.”
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CONTACT: Christie Zachary, Human Resources and Education