The TAMUS LSAMP 10th Annual Symposium was hosted in 2014 by Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) in Houston, TX at The Westin Memorial City Hotel. Students, faculty, and administrators from Texas A&M University (TAMU), PVAMU, and Texas A&M University Corpus Christi (TAMUCC) arrived on Thursday, February 13, 2014 evening for registration and students attended dinner at Bowlmor Lanes for the welcome and social. The symposium events took place on Friday, February 14, 2014. There was a Welcome breakfast where administrators and faculty imparted on the students some words of wisdom and advice.
The first event of the symposium were Graduate Student panel discussions divided into 3 discussion groups where graduate students talked about their graduate school experiences and responded to questions from UGR students. This session was used to give UGR a look into graduate school and also motivate them to consider graduate school in the near future.
“The students emphasized the importance of your research topic, but also the school itself and how both should be a factor in choosing a grad school and faculty mentor.”
The next event was the UGR Oral Presentations, during which the UGR students were broken up into two groups; College of Science and College of Engineering & Agriculture, and were judged within their group. The UGR oral presentations took the form of 2 minute “elevator speeches” with a PowerPoint slide as a visual aid; added times was given for questions when all students were finished presenting. After the UGR oral presentations there was a break for lunch.
After lunch, the second UGR session was entitled “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect”, during which Ms. Zamzam Jama spoke. Ms. Jama spoke on basic communication skills and how to connect with people from diverse backgrounds. Concurrently, the second BTD session was “PhD Personals: From Decision to Destinty” during which a panel of various professors (Dr. Tiffani Williams, Dr. Quincy Moore, Dr. Pam Holland Obiomon) and one professional (Dr. Maxine Madison) in industry provided perspective to the BTD students on the journey of completing a PhD and where their degree has taken them. After a brief break, the BTD Oral Presentation, consisting of five presentations for approximately 10 minutes were held. During the oral presentations the UGR students were given the option of attending the BTD presentations or attending an alternative session entitled “Summer Research Programs – Essential Components of the Graduate School Application Process” held by Dr. Karen Butler-Purry. During the summer research seminar, Dr. Butler-Purry spoke generally on REU’s and opened the session up for the attendees to ask the panel of previous-REU participants questions about their experiences.
“By observing small mistakes and also good speaking skills in others, it helps so that I get an idea of what works and what to avoid.”
The last session for UGR was “Outclass the Competition! Etiquette Training”, during which two professors (Dr. Kelvin Kirby, Ms. Rebecca Hankins) spoke on etiquette in the academic and professional sphere as well as electronic and in-person networking etiquette. The last session for BTD was “Networking, Personal Branding, and LinkedIn” in which Dr. Lavell Merritt spoke on his personal networking experience, online and in person, as well as advice on how to network and be memorable. The Symposium concluded with dinner, during which PVAMU classical dancers performed and awards and honors were given out to the students that placed in their presentations. After dinner, all three institutions departed to their respective locations via charter bus.
Activity Outcome & Success Story Nuggets:
The students indicated that they enjoyed the bowling outing and that it was a welcomed surprise. The UGR students in the graduate panels had many questions for the graduate panel and two of the panels ran out of time, indicating the success and high interest level the students had in graduate school. Additionally, many of the students took notes of the advice and information that the graduate students gave. During the UGR oral presentations many of the graduate and undergraduate students had thought-provoking questions for the presenters, which were answered well. The BTD students indicated that they enjoyed hearing about academia and industry opportunities after receiving their PhD, which they heard about during the PhD panel.