SEEC-ing greater possibilities for Arkansas

by Chancellor Margaret Ellibee
University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College

University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College was honored to host the annual Women in STEM workshop on Sept 27, a day-long event with the goal of increasing engagement and educational attainment levels of minority women in the STEM disciplines. During lunch that day, STEM attendees were the first to learn about a new program - the Student Entrepreneur Education Collective, or SEEC. SEEC is an exciting partnership between The Venture Center and UA-Pulaski Tech, providing entrepreneurial reinforcement for students enrolled in its Entrepreneurship program. Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson congratulated members of the newly formed partnership and celebrated alongside the STEM Workshop.  

UA-PTC’s STEM Success works with more than 90 young women every semester, exposing them to new ideas and opportunities, expanding what is possible in their lives. The college’s entrepreneurship programs challenge students from all walks of life to start with an idea and, using careful planning and execution, bring those ideas into practical and profitable realities. STEM success, business studies, and many other examples in college curriculum overlap and complement one another in myriad ways. Like the concept of STEM itself, this integrated set of college curricula is too complex to boil down to a single idea or proposition. But, it all points toward personal growth, so the idea of expanding possibilities is a most powerful one.

So, what is possible?

Relationships through mentorships are possible. Students can benefit from working closely with educated and creative business creators to gain practical experience in the real world. Innovation, creativity, drive, as well as soft and technical skill acquisition, is transferred between the student and the entrepreneurial mentor. 

Profound personal growth is also possible. The high-tech, entrepreneurial focus gives students a sense of the practical application of their academic pursuits and encourages them to implement what they learn in endeavors unique to them. Utilizing their talents and ambitions in new ways, students will cultivate confidence and expertise.

Governor Hutchinson noted, “Entrepreneurs are the backbone of Arkansas. By supporting the imagination, courage, and drive of our student entrepreneurs, we will continue to build a better Arkansas for people across the state.”  

 Our Governor sees the value of student entrepreneurs, and how crucial the mission of SEEC is to educating, collaborating, and accelerating their learning. The partnership between The Venture Center and UA-PTC makes this vision a reality.

Looking forward, how do “we” – higher education and business - cultivate a greater sense of the possibilities for new and dynamic educational opportunities?  Is it possible we engage smart, ambitious students to develop to their fullest potential even if they’ve been marginalized in some way? Is it possible that our metro economy will thrive as today’s students become tomorrow’s business owners and employers?

 Ladies and gentlemen, the answer is “yes.” You’d better believe that with partnerships like The Venture Center and with programs like SEEC, anything is possible.

 

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