The University of Louisiana Monroe is hosting its annual program for academically advanced students. The President's Academy is a job training program where students select an academic track and spend a week shadowing professionals and working in groups to solve hypothetical problems.
Dr. Nick Bruno founded the President's Academy in 2012 to help give students an idea of what jobs their major encompasses and what it is actually like to work in those jobs. Dr. Joshua Stockley is an assistant professor of Political Science at ULM and organizes the President's Academy every year.
Once the students have a good understanding of their selected careers or fields, the organizers simulate a pandemic event. The students then have to work together to formulate a solution to their side of the problem.
The heavy emphasis on real-world scenarios and settings gives students an opportunity to experience working in their field and decide if it still interests them. "They get to shadow professionals throughout the week, to get a glimpse of what this career...occupation...workplace looks like," Stockley said.
The event simulates a pandemic outbreak of an unknown disease, and student teams from each track must formulate a response for their track. Medical students may treat sick patients while law students debate the rights of the sick versus the rights of the healthy.
The program features five academic tracks for students to choose from: computer science, health science, law, physical science, and unmanned aerial systems. Each track focuses on a different aspect of the simulated pandemic, and the students must decide the best course of action. Several professionals from local businesses guide the students, offering advice and hands-on training for their career.
Many local businesses send representatives, including CenturyLink, Escamilla and Poneck LLP, and ANGUS Chemical Company. Numerous medical organizations also contribute professionals to the program. These include United Health Conway, P&S Surgical Hospital, St. Francis Medical Center, and the Ouachita Council on Aging.
Stockley is most pleased by the emphasis on teamwork and leadership in the program. When the students address the problem they've been assigned, leaders often emerge who can delegate responsibility and get the team moving towards a solution. "They discover that not only are they smart, but they are able to work as a team, create ideas, get other individuals to buy into their ideas, and then collaborate towards creating a solution," Stockley said.
Students wishing to apply will need to either have a 24 ACT or 3.5 GPA and be an incoming sophomore, junior, or senior for the Fall 2018 semester. The student must also submit two academic recommendations with their application. The deadline for applications is May 7. Interested students may apply online.