Program Helps Students Prepare for Careers
Science, Technology, Engineering and Math
Last updated 2/28/2019 at 7:47am
With enthusiasm for details and processes, Polk State College students in the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Program explain to faculty and staff members what they have learned through assistantships, lab experiences, and national conferences made possible by the LSAMP Grant, and how these skills will assist them in pursuing degrees and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).
The LSAMP Program, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), aims to diversify the nation's STEM workforce by increasing the number of STEM degrees awarded to minorities. At Polk State, the program provides students with mentoring, field experiences, research opportunities, and advising while connecting them to an extensive network of postsecondary and graduate programs that offer viable pathways to STEM degrees and careers.
"The goal is to get students acclimated to college and excited about the STEM opportunities available at Polk State and beyond," LSAMP Advisor and Senior Program Specialist John Fynn said.
The LSAMP Program at Polk State was founded in fall 2017 and serves more than 170 students on the Winter Haven and Lakeland campuses.
Jean Woody Luxama, who received his Polk State Associate in Arts degree in May 2018 and is pursuing a Biochemistry degree at Florida Agricultural Mechanical University (FAMU), credits LSAMP with putting him on a path to success. The first-generation-in-college student from Haiti received the guidance he needed to navigate college and pursue his dream of becoming a cardiac surgeon, thanks to the opportunities afforded to him through LSAMP.
"Coming to Polk State and participating in LSAMP was a turning point for me," Luxama explained. "Mr. Fynn helped me with my Polk State Educational Plan, advised me on which classes I needed for transfer, and connected me with resources that have assisted me on my college journey."
Luxama also noted his participation in the Central Florida STEM Alliance's 2018 STEM Summit at Valencia College and the Summer Undergraduate Research Program at the Medical University of South Carolina as highlights in his pathway toward graduation.
"These invaluable experiences have given me skills and a boost in my résumé as I pursue my bachelor's degree and career," Luxama said.
Deandre Smith, STEM Club President, echoed a similar sentiment. Smith, who is pursuing an Associate in Arts degree and aspires to transfer to FAMU for Pharmaceutical Sciences, has been an active member since LSAMP's inception.
"LSAMP provides students with mentors and experiences that help them with their higher education and career goals. This program gives students a strong support system and the motivation to pursue their interests," Smith explained. "We are instilling a passion for STEM in students because these fields provide great things for their careers, the community, and the world."