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Pre-College Program Motivates Teens

September 2, 2009 – What do I want to be when I grow up? For Tamara Clegg, the answers were found in the North Carolina Mathematics and Science Education Network (NC-MSEN) Pre-College Program at NC State University. Beginning in the sixth grade, Tamara participated in the program that is designed to prepare underserved students for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and education.

Today, she is one of the program’s success stories. For seven years, Clegg participated in the NC-MSEN Pre-College Program at NC State University. After high school, she earned a BS in Computer Science from NCSU and is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Georgia Tech.

Recently returning to speak to students at their annual awards ceremony at NC State, Clegg felt it was her duty to share her experiences with the next generation.

“My experiences in the Pre-College Program exposed me to the many opportunities math and science careers have to offer. I was exposed to role models who showed me that these careers were attainable, and provided me with help whenever I needed it,” says Clegg. “It is important for them to see someone like me who has gone through the program and is now working in a related field. I used to be one of them.”

“The program has had numerous success stories like Ms. Clegg since its inception in 1986,” says Braska Williams, Coordinator of the NC-MSEN Pre-College Program at NC State. “It is great that she came back to share her story with them.”

The NC-MSEN Pre-College program at NC State enrolls 450 middle grades and high school students in year-round math and science enrichment activities such as a Saturday Academy, a math-science competition event, parent workshops, an awards program, a leadership retreat, various field trips, and summer enrichment programs. NC State’s program serves students who attend schools in Franklin, Granville, Johnston, Nash and Wake counties.

The program lives up to its mission to support under-served students who are interested in attending a 4-year college or university leading to careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. In fact, 97% of the students from the program go on to a 4-year college/university and 80% of those students major in education, math, science, engineering or technology. NC State is one of nine universities in the state to offer the program that has been funded by the State Legislature since the middle 1980’s.

More information is available online.

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