June 21, 2006

College hosts minority high school students

by Sun Min

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Minority students from four states are visiting Southern Illinois University Carbondale to explore careers in business.

The College of Business and Administration this week is hosting a residency program for 50 minority high school students from Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Missouri. The seminar introduces underrepresented populations to the vast opportunities available in the field of business.

"We need to motivate them to reach their potential and contribute to the business world," said Michael L. Haywood, the college's director of minority programs. "If you look at corporate America and business as a whole, there is not much diversity. It's a profession that's honorable and lucrative and business is global so there will always be opportunities in business whether it's working in a corporation or as an entrepreneur."

Program participants take classes on ACT preparation, leadership skills, networking, finance, marketing, business administration and accounting. Special speakers are also addressing appropriate professional behavior and dining etiquette.

In addition to the workshops, the students travel to St. Louis, where they are touring and observing business operations in the real world. By combining workshops with actual corporate interaction, the program teaches and develops skills that will create the next generation of business leaders.

The students will also meet with SIUC administrators to learn about the University's programs in business. Funding for the workshop comes from Chancellor Walter V. Wendler's Reflective, Responsive University Initiative. Seymour Bryson, associate chancellor for diversity, coordinates the grants.

Haywood received his bachelor's and master's degrees in health services administration from SIUC. He praises SIUC's commitment to increasing minority enrollment and through this program, he is proud to be a part of that tradition. "Some of the students will be first-generation college students so we want to expose them to what college is and what career opportunities exist in the professions that interest them," said Haywood.

Enhancing diversity is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.