HBCU students from six consortium partners learn about graduate programs

November 14, 2023 (Volume 47, Number 6)
Article by Michele Coffill

Trayon Miller wants to be the best teacher he can be. That's largely the reason the Talladaga College student traveled on October 31 to West Michigan from Alabama to join the HBCU/HSI Pipeline Consortium visit.

It was the first time all six consortium partners sent students, faculty and administrators to visit Grand Valley's campuses and learn more about graduate programs and internship opportunities with area companies.

Miller, an elementary education major, said he was keeping an open mind about the possibility of earning a graduate degree in a state culturally different from Alabama.

"I'm all about diversity when it comes to furthering my education," Miller said. "All of these different experiences will make me a better teacher."

The 50-person group toured campus, meeting graduate program directors and community and industry leaders. They also heard from current Grand Valley students who were once in their shoes.

Jourdan Watson and Danielle Patrick, both graduates of Fort Valley State University, spoke to visitors about their Industry Sponsored Graduate Fellowships (IGF). Through this program, participating companies sponsor a student by providing a paid internship and covering the cost of tuition. Watson is working at Gordon Food Service and Patrick at The Christman Company.

Patrick, who is pursuing an MBA, laughed when asked if her Grand Valley classes prepared her to work at the construction company. "I once ran a marketing meeting using the same type of analytical graphs in my presentation that we learned in class," Patrick said.

B. Donta Truss, vice president for Enrollment Development and Educational Outreach, said the trip was designed to connect prospective students with Grand Valley staff who are responsible for handling their application, housing assignments, financial aid and more.

"In fostering a diverse and empowered learning environment, we are not just educating individuals, we are preparing global citizens," Truss said. "The collaboration among our HBCU/HSI Pipeline Consortium partners enriches our community, bringing unique perspectives that are vital for holistic education. 

"Every student embarking on this journey with us is a testament to our commitment to cultivating an environment where different backgrounds and ideas converge, creating a dynamic learning atmosphere. It's about more than enrollment, it's about preparing our students to thrive in diverse settings and equipping them to become leaders in their respective fields." 

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This article was last edited on November 14, 2023 at 1:30 p.m.

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