Program aims to entice grad students


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Emerge, an MU Graduate School program designed to give underrepresented or underserved racial and ethnic groups the opportunities to prepare for graduate school, held its annual Fall Preview Weekend Oct. 25 through 28. Ten prospective graduate students participated in departmental visits, workshops, information sessions and social events during the preview, which is an all-expenses paid program.

Interested students had to apply to the program, and the Graduate School selected candidates based on their applications and their compatibility with the various MU programs, said Norma Jackson, Graduate School student recruitment and activities coordinator.

"The goal of the program is to bring students who might not otherwise have an opportunity to MU's campus to give them a preview of what it's like," Jackson said. "To give them an opportunity to meet with the directors of graduate studies, the department chairs and the graduate students in the various programs so they can see what it takes to be a graduate student at MU and see if they're a fit or not."

Participants arrived on Thursday and spent Friday visiting academic departments and taking part in three workshops. The workshops included a graduate student panel, a meeting with the deans and a session educating students on how to get into MU's Graduate School.

"The thing I most appreciated was the departmental visits," said Amber Bolton, a senior psychology major at Alabama A&M University. "You can read stuff on the Internet, you can look stuff up, but to be able to have a source of knowledge right in front of you to ask questions was really beneficial."

The preview was Bolton's first visit to MU.

"The program seems tailor-made," Bolton said.

Others, such as April Allen, participated in Emerge's six-week summer research internship and used the weekend to confirm their interest in MU's program.

"This is my No. 1 school for graduate school," said Allen, a senior nutrition and hospitality management major at Alabama A&M. "I really want to come here in the fall next year. I'm very impressed with the campus and the faculty."

Senior Hampton University psychology major Bianca Jones said she interned at MU.

"My mentor and I have a great relationship," she said.

Although participants appreciated the faculty, Talisha Cottrell, a junior psychology major at Alabama A&M, said she also enjoyed learning from current graduate students.

"They just gave me a background of the program and how it works from a graduate student's perspective, what I can expect," Cottrell said. "I really appreciated it."

But the students' visit wasn't all business. The program also showcased MU's campus and downtown Columbia.

"I was really impressed by the campus itself," Jones said. "It's a beautiful campus."

Jones said she was also impressed by the resources available to students at MU.

"A lot of things are here that my school doesn't have," she said.

Jackson said she won't know how successful the preview was until applications for MU's Graduate School start coming in next year, but numerous students told her they intend to apply for admission to MU. She said several participants plan to apply for the summer research internship. She said the program has drawn many participants back to MU in the past, and this year looks should be the same.

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