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High School Students Explore SUNY Plattsburgh Programs

expeditionary studies faculty cfes

About 90 high school students from around the North Country spent a recent day with faculty at SUNY Plattsburgh, learning about academic programs.

Tenth, 11th and 12th graders selected two majors from 16 offerings as part of College for Every Student Brilliant Pathways Explore College Day.

“We’re trying to get exposure to career and college pathways for our local students in Clinton, Essex and Franklin countries,” said Sarah Hackett, lecturer in teacher education and graduate MST program leader.

Information About Internships and Jobs

Students from seven high schools previewed majors like nutrition, environmental science and mathematics. Hackett said a vital piece of the faculty presentations was an overview of internships and the types of jobs available to graduates in each degree program.

“I think that’s something that students struggle with,” Hackett said. “They hear anthropology, but they don’t know what does that mean for me in terms of ‘what do I do for work after?’”

The North Country Rural Postsecondary and Economic Development program paid for the visit. The RPED program will run for three years in 10 area schools.

‘A Lot More to Offer than I Thought’

The faculty chose how to promote their programs, Hackett said.

“Some of the professors did hands-on activities,” she said. “They ran their session as if it were a class. Robotics did a robotics activity. In art, they did some drawing.”

“There’s a lot more here to offer than I thought that there was,” said Mya King, a 12th-grade student at Beekmantown High School. “Talking to the professors gave me a great understanding, and now I have a better idea of what I want to do when I get here, hopefully.”

King said she plans to apply to SUNY Plattsburgh.

political science cfesThe political science department’s session used a combination of a college class-type discussion and a presentation showing all the class options for law and justice or political science majors.

‘Incredible Opportunity to Present Program’

“It’s an incredible opportunity for us to be able to present the program,” said Lucia Manzi, assistant professor of political science. “This is an opportunity to explain what it is we do here and hopefully pique students’ interest.”

Manzi led a discussion with students, asking them how they learned about politics. She then showed a video montage from social media that showed women in Iran standing up to the authoritarian regime by refusing to wear headscarves as required by law.

“This major gives them the opportunity to explore these topics,” Manzi said.

Dr. Daniel Lake, associate professor and chair of political science, talked about how the major could lead to careers in public service, nonprofits, advocacy and law. SUNY Plattsburgh students can intern in the nation’s capital through the Washington Internship Institute, Lake said, adding that scholarship money is available to help pay for those experiences.

‘Looking to Engage Students’

In the expeditionary studies department’s session, students examined ice- and rock-climbing gear, wetsuits, maps and charts.

We’re looking for things that would engage students, so we brought some of the equipment,” said Steven Maynard, associate professor of expeditionary studies.

Maynard and Dr. Vincent Carey, chair of the adventure sports and expeditionary studies department and professor of history, talked about the degree requirements and senior expedition trips. They also answered student questions.

“Most of our classes use an outdoor classroom,” Maynard said, answering a question about a typical class while a photo slideshow showing students climbing mountains and paddling in kayaks played on the projector screen.

‘Looks Like a Good Place’

Ian Mulverhill, a 10th-grader at Franklin Academy in Malone, said he selected the expeditionary studies session because of his interest in sports and being active.

“The administrators (faculty) here are nice, and it looks like a good place. My dad came here too,” Mulverhill said. “There are so many different programs you can go into.”

Hackett said plans for the spring 2023 Explore College Day are already in the works. She hopes to expand participation and bring 150 to 200 high schoolers to campus to learn about academic offerings and the student experience.

“We’re hoping that it will happen every semester,” Hackett said.

— Story, Photos by Senior Communications Specialist Felicia Krieg

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