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Mississippi public universities prepare STEM workforce



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From the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics employment in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) occupations to grow by 10.8 percent between 2021 and 2031, more than double the growth rate of non-STEM occupations, which are expected to grow by 4.9 percent. STEM occupations also pay more. The median wages for STEM occupations in 2021 was $95,420, compared to $40,120 for non-STEM occupations.

Mississippi Public Universities are meeting the STEM workforce demand by offering programs that prepare students to enter STEM occupations prepared to contribute positively from their first day forward.

Close to 50 percent of Alcorn State University students are in STEM related majors.

Alcorn recently announced the expansion of its partnership with IBM to launch the first IBM-partnered Cybersecurity Leadership Center at a Mississippi HBCU. Initially, IBM and Alcorn collaborated on the IBM Skills Academy, an educational and outreach program developing cutting-edge technological skills aligned with evolving industry demands and trends. The learning tracks address advanced topics as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, blockchain, data science, and quantum computing. The grant allows students and faculty to expand the tangible skills they need for today’s IT workforce and the jobs of the future.

Alcorn State University’s Department of Mathematics and Computer Science offers a bachelor’s degree in mathematics with a concentration in data science. This degree program explores the latest technology trends and theories that will make students marketable in today’s industry, and organizes research activities to prepare students for leadership, scholarship, and service.

Delta State University is the only state university in Mississippi that offers a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science. Environmental Science is an interdisciplinary and integrated science that embraces biological, chemical and physical aspects of the environment and their effect on organisms. The degree program offers four concentrations, including General Environmental Science, Wildlife Management, Geospatial Information Technology and Agribusiness. Recent graduates work for assorted federal and state government agencies and private industries, including Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Geological Survey, Center of Toxicology and Environmental Health and more.

Jackson State University‘s College of Science, Engineering and Technology is ranked 7th nationwide in producing African American engineering graduates. The College recently partnered with Microsoft to jumpstart the company’s new TechSpark initiative designed to accelerate digital equity and support inclusive economic opportunities within the STEM field. A primary focus of this initiative is to also provide collaborating partners with digital skills training, job opportunities, and industry-relevant computer science education.

Mississippi State University is on the cutting edge of research and integration into the nation’s airspace, serving as the national lead university for the FAA’s Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems and as the FAA’s UAS Safety Research Facility. MSU’s Raspet Flight Research Laboratory is home to a fleet of the largest and most capable uncrewed aircraft in academic use and conducts research on behalf of federal agencies and commercial industry. The robust aerospace research taking place exposes students in the field to emerging trends and technologies, helping the next generation of Mississippi’s aerospace industry take flight.

Mississippi State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine equips its veterinary students with 50-plus surgeries on average as primary surgeon at the time of graduation, which is markedly more surgical experience than the national average. CVM students have a 98% pass rate on the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE). CVM’s Shelter Medicine program performs approximately 6,000 surgeries for shelter animals every year, providing a valuable service to the shelters across the region and giving students a wealth of hands-on experience.

The College of Nursing at Mississippi University for Women was founded in 1971 and has produced thousands of graduates who have successfully moved into the nursing workforce and are impacting the profession of nursing in Mississippi, the United States and the world.

Mississippi Valley State University‘s Department of Mathematics, Computer & Information Sciences is challenging students who have an aptitude for math & science or simply prefer to pursue a degree in a stimulating, challenging area to pursue Bachelor of Science degrees in Mathematics and Computer Science, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Education degree in Mathematics Education. The mathematics curriculum leads to a degree which qualifies the students for research, industrial employment, and related jobs. The Mathematics Education curriculum leads majors to take courses for certification as public-school teachers, while the Computer Science curriculum is designed to train students in business applications, and the other curriculum is designed for scientific and/or research activities.

The Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Mississippi prepares students for the interdisciplinary world of bioengineering, where technology and medicine meet. Biomedical engineering students choose a track of study in biomolecular engineering, biomedical systems, or bioinformatics. Graduates of the program can enter careers in medical device design, biotechnology, pharmaceutical research and sales, biomedical imaging, and telemedicine, among others. Biomedical engineering also provides the skills and knowledge needed to pursue a medical degree.

The University of Mississippi Medical Center‘s Center for Telehealth is one of the nation’s two federally designated Telehealth Centers of Excellence. In June 2020, the Federal Communications Commission awarded UMMC’s telehealth program a $1 million grant to expand services to meet the changing needs of patients during the pandemic. As the state’s only academic medical center, UMMC prepares future health professionals and scientists through its seven schools, and many of them remain in Mississippi improving the state’s health care system and engaging in innovative research for tomorrow’s treatments.

As one of only 146 universities in the nation to earn the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education’s “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity” designation, The University of Southern Mississippi produces top graduates in fields such as polymer science and engineering, biological sciences, forensics, computer engineering, and many other STEM fields. USM leads Mississippi with 27 Goldwater Scholarships, a national honor that recognizes the next generation of great research scientists, and boasts of one of only 10 bachelor’s degree programs in the nation in ocean engineering.

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