October 20, 2022
The Bagley College of Engineering held its annual Summer Bridge program sponsored by Ergon, Inc. to support incoming Mississippi State engineering students.
The program, which ran from June 5 to July 8, is a five-week program for newly admitted engineering students in the Bagley College of Engineering. While attending, students completed an extended orientation about the college and had the opportunity to learn critical skills for academic and college success. The program was free for participants who received on-campus living facilities as well as access to instructors, textbooks and more.
Jean Mohammadi-Aragh, the director of diversity programs, said the Summer Bridge program is critical for the Bagley College of Engineering.
“The Summer Bridge program is one of the premier diversity programs. It really is a prestigious program to be accepted into,” Mohammadi-Aragh said. “There are two goals of the program. One is to support students academically. Becoming math-ready is the focus, but they also take other courses, work on an engineering project, participate in engineering labs, and learn study habits. The second goal of the program is community building. We want you to come to campus in the summer, when campus life is moving a little slower, and meet people, get familiar with campus and know that there's support for you when you enroll in the Fall.”
The Summer Bridge program is funded by Ergon, Inc. The company, headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi, has a wide range of operations, including sophisticated crude oil processing, thermoplastic resins, specialty asphalt products and road maintenance products. Ergon, Inc. also supported a hands-on project for the Summer Bridge program this year that concluded with the participants presenting their project in front of Ergon, Inc. engineers.
Mohammadi-Aragh said the Ergon, Inc. project was a highlight of the summer program.
“The standout activity this year was the hands-on Ergon, Inc. project. Ergon supported this project in so many ways - they came to campus to introduce the project in our first week of Bridge, took us on a tour of their facilities in Jackson and Vicksburg, MS, met weekly via video-conference for Q&A sessions, and attended the end-of-the-summer presentations,” Mohammadi-Aragh said. “We are so appreciative of Ergon’s efforts on that. The project was really fabulous. The participants learned a lot that they will carry with them as they enter their engineering classes.”
Bonnie Chapman, a Mississippi State chemical engineering alumna, is the Vice President of Product Stewardship at Ergon, Inc. and has been involved with the Summer Bridge program while working at Ergon, Inc.
Chapman said Ergon, Inc. recognizes the importance of programs such as Summer Bridge and the difference they can make for engineering students.
"As a company founded in Mississippi and employing engineers in a wide variety of roles throughout the U.S., Ergon recognizes the importance of growing the pool of underrepresented engineering graduates,” Chapman said. “The Summer Bridge program provides a refresher on topics critical to success in the engineering curriculum while forming a cohort of like-minded entering engineering students who want to excel and make a difference in their communities. We were impressed with their enthusiasm and with the excellent work done on their projects and presentations."
Photos from the event can be found at https://www.flickr.com/photos/msuengineering/albums/72177720301061522.
To learn more about the Summer Bridge program and other diversity programs offered by the Bagley College of Engineering, please visit https://diversity.bagley.msstate.edu/.