February 19, 2018  

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Gulf Park Campus Hosts Students to Showcase Academic Programs

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High school juniors, seniors, and college transfer students attended Showcase, an open house event at The University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Park campus in Long Beach. The event was created for students to take part in actual hands-on lessons learned while earning a university degree. (Southern Miss University Communications photo by Shelia White)

While some students learned what it takes to be a nurse, others learned more about the film industry. These hands-on activities, among a number of others, were the highlight of today’s events at The University of Southern Mississippi’s “Showcase” held on the Gulf Park campus in Long Beach.

Showcase was an open house event created to give high school juniors, seniors, and college transfer students actual hands-on lessons learned while earning a university degree. These activities and lessons also showed students what their career could be like after graduation.

“This event was a wonderful opportunity to showcase our campus community to the students on the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” said Ann Billings, assistant vice president for student affairs and director of admissions. “Being involved in higher education, we look forward to developing the coast’s future.”

With over 100 students in attendance, Showcase organizers divided students by their academic interests, which allowed them more in-depth knowledge at any of the university’s six academic colleges. These opportunities included laboratory experiments, simulated hospital environments and historical demonstrations, among a variety of others.

“Having this event on our campus created a positive energy as our faculty and staff worked together to take pride in what our university has to offer,” said Dr. Frances Lucas, Southern Miss Gulf Coast vice president and campus executive officer. “We had a day full of smiles, laughter and pride. With so many great opportunities available, we ultimately wanted these students to understand the importance of higher education.”

Lucas, who first welcomed students from the three coastal counties, and as far as Knoxville, Tenn., was followed by an introduction from Academic Dean Tom Lansford and the keynote address, “Learning How We Think: Thinking How We Learn,” with Dr. David Holt, associate professor of geography.

Following their exploration of academic programs, the students attended an education fair in the university’s Student Union where they could visit with representatives from all six academic colleges. Student organizations were also on hand to talk with students about campus life.

“Being at Showcase, I really learned a lot about psychology and about the different career choices available to me,” said Tim Forrest of Long Beach, a senior at Christian Collegiate Academy in Gulfport. “One lesson I learned today is that people should not be intimidated when it comes to finding a career. As students, we should figure out our strengths and try to pinpoint our career choices from there.”

With the newly restored Gulf Park campus, Showcase provided students with an opportunity to explore the possibility of earning a university degree close to home. Billings described the event as if “Southern Miss Gulf Coast had been a nesting eagle and we just spread our wings.”

For more information about Southern Miss Gulf Coast, visit www.usm.edu/gulfcoast.