June 12, 2007

College of Business and Administration program Minority high school students will visit SIUC

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Minority high school students from across the United States will visit Southern Illinois University Carbondale June 16-23 to explore business career opportunities available to them.

The College of Business and Administration will host the weeklong residency program for 55-60 students who will be sophomores, juniors or seniors in high school this fall at schools as far away as California. Michael L. Haywood, director of minority programs for the college, said the seminar introduces underrepresented student populations to the numerous and varied opportunities available in the world of business.

"The purpose of this is not only to help them see their potential within the business world, but there will be a large emphasis on ACT preparation as well this year," Haywood said. "The majority of minority students don't score as well on standardized testing so we'll provide intensive ACT preparation. We're going to get them ready for the test and ready for college."

In addition to ACT preparation, participants will take classes in leadership skills, networking, finance, marketing, business administration and accounting. Guest speakers will discuss suitable professional behavior and dining etiquette. The students will meet with various SIUC administrators as they learn about the business programs offered by the University.

The week will also include a trip to St. Louis where the teens will visit businesses, including The Boeing Co. and Edward Jones, to observe real world business and meet with business representatives. Combining workshops, practical study and real corporate interaction assures program participants learn and develop skills to help them take the first steps to become business leaders of tomorrow.

Haywood earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in health services administration at SIUC and praises his alma mater for its commitment to increasing minority enrollment through this program. He said the program, during which students live in residence halls, provides students a peek at what college is all about and the various career opportunities and professions that are open to them.

"Probably about 90 percent of the participants will be first-generation college students," Haywood said. "We want to emphasize to them how important a college degree is and will be in the 21st century and about the rewards it will have for them in their careers and for their future. This week will be an excellent motivator for the high school students."

Funding for the Exploring Careers in Business program comes from the Reflective, Responsive University Initiative, and Caterpillar. Seymour Bryson, associate chancellor for diversity, coordinates the Reflective, Responsive University Initiative.