There was something of all that in a powerful day of community service and faculty outreach that connected students from two area high schools with the School of Business Administration.
“With this under my belt, I do not feel so scared about going to college,” said Pine Ridge High School senior Cierra Van Wagenen.
“It was a great outreach to the community,” said Adam Blair, BA ’05, an English teacher at University High School in Orange City. “Most valuable” was faculty members speaking with students about the wide range of career opportunities within each discipline, he said.
A campus visit for high school students to meet professors and ask questions is an important opportunity to connect with the local community and explain what a Business School education means, said Dr. Jennifer Foo, professor and chair of Finance.
“It may help motivate students who never thought of college as a possibility, even if Stetson may not be their choice,” Foo said. “In that sense, it’s a community service if only to inspire high school students that college is a desirable goal to attain for themselves.”
Dr. Monica Jeancola, assistant professor of Accounting, agrees.
“Being able to speak with college professors first hand hopefully will make these students understand that college and Stetson are goals that are attainable,” said Jeancola, “and that we as professors are approachable and willing to help them with the process of transitioning from high school to college.”
“I thought the professors were down to earth,” said Travis Pinnock, a junior at University High, “not like the ones you see in movies or hear stories about. It seemed like they valued what you had to say and treated you like an individual, not just another person in an auditorium.”
“Most times when students visit a school,” said Blair, “they don’t have the opportunity to sit and interact with the professors on such an intimate level. This was a great opportunity to see the real thing.”
More than 100 high school students from University High and Pine Ridge High in Deltona toured campus, then filled Rinker Auditorium on Jan. 23 to meet and hear a dozen Stetson University administrators and Business School faculty who stepped out of classrooms and offices to offer a glimpse into the next level of education. Professors from each department gave an overview of business studies and career opportunities in their discipline and responded to student questions. Afterwards, students attended a lecture by Dr. Greg McCann of the Family Enterprise Center.
“Stepping into Dr. McCann’s class gave me a glimpse of what real college should be like,” said Pine Ridge sophomore Sammantha Hutcherson. “It was truly inspirational, and most of all, fun!”
Pine Ridge’s economic breakdown includes a high percentage of students who come from low-income homes and many whose parents and grandparents never went to college, said Marianne Blair, BBA ’06, MAcc ’07. The Pine Ridge accounting and business teacher is an adjunct business professor who has helped coordinate the visits since they began in 2010.
“Our goal at Pine Ridge is to inspire students to consider the possibility of college and inevitably attend,” said Marianne, who is married to Adam. “The Stetson field trip allows the students to get a glimpse of the college life and hopefully see themselves in that world one day. Speaking to professors on a one-on-one basis and hearing a college lecture as a high school student has proven to be an invaluable experience year after year.”