Perkell Collie, an 11th grade student of Cyber Learning Center, was the only Bahamian student to attend St. Cloud State University’s Advanced Program in Technology and Science in Minnesota this summer. However, she was joined by a delegation of students from countries like Greece and Africa for the three-week residential program offered from July 15 to August 3 to 10th and 11th grade students interested in technology, science, mathematics or engineering.
Tuition, academic fees, books and room and board were all provided.
According to the university’s website, the focus of the program was to provide “scientific research for students from historically underrepresented groups and expose them to career options in technology.” It also allowed students to meet positive role models in those fields.
In fulfillment of one of the requirements, Perkell was enlisted into the program by Cyber Principal Sharon Greene after she was contacted by her teacher Sandra Russell-Flowers based on Perkell’s high science aptitude. During the program, however, she had the option of putting a project together on petro fuel, computer studies, autism, rats, farming or saliva. She chose the latter for her research, data college and 13-page paper, which was done in collaboration with Dr. Bruce Jacobson and entitled: “Examining Enzyme Reactions in Different Foods.”
Perkell also participated in the university’s Culture Night and prepared corned beef and white rice for the other participants. The purpose of the exercise was to see how well-rounded and sociable the students were about sharing who they are and where they are from. She also contributed a drawing themed “One World Connected by Science and Technology” that was featured on a T-shirt that was given to them.
When Perkell graduates next year, she has decided to attend St. Cloud where she will qualify for a partial scholarship, and after completing her studies there she will move on to the University of Minnesota.
Nevertheless, the visit to Minnesota was not all about work and no play. Perkell and her mother, Angie Collie, enjoyed the state’s scenic routes particularly Lake Itasca, engaged in ice skating and visited the Mall of America. Ms. Collie described Minnesotans as friendly, and she even invited to diner by Bahamians she discovered there.
Ms. Collie explained that she stayed to make sure that the university was secure for her daughter, and was pleased to learn that it was. She said that each student received their own telephone line; male and female students were housed separately in the dormitories; chaperones were always present; curfew was enforced; and it is a smoke-free campus.
“The main thing I want Abaco to know is that because Perkell did so well, portrayed Bahamians as friendly and was an ambassador for The Bahamas, she opened the door for other students to go there and to receive scholarships,” Mrs. Collie proudly stated.
Dr. Robert Johnson of St. Cloud’s Ethnic Studies Department plans to visit Abaco with his wife Nurse Practitioner Icephine Johnson soon to promote the free advanced summer program and St. Cloud State University to Abaco students.