The ROTC program at Jackson State University and the College of Science, Engineering and Technology hosted the West Point Leadership Ethics and Diversity (WPLEC) Workshop on Friday to help prepare youth from area public schools for careers in STEM.
The goal of the workshop was to show the relationship between effective ethical leadership and science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Breakout session were led by cadet college students.
Dr. Joseph A. Whittaker, associate provost/vice president for Research and Economic Development at JSU, urged young participants to focus on ethics, morals and discipline. He also described STEM as part and parcel of the future.
“Everybody’s talking about STEM. They’re also talking about diversity and inclusion,” he said. “As cadets you know very well about the focus on discipline,” which he said also involves studying, having good habits and managing time wisely.
Col. (Ret.) Paul L. Willis is director of the Army JROTC for Jackson Public Schools. He helped to bring the U.S. Military Academy at West Point to JSU. He also emphasized the importance of STEM and ethical leadership.
Meanwhile, Dr. Freddrick Murray, deputy superintendent of Jackson Public Schools, said the event benefits many of its students. He told them “you are our greatest hope for tomorrow. Learn about ethics, morality and STEM and understand what it takes to move to the next level.”
Keynote speaker Tia Larsen-Calcano, a doctoral student at the University of Central Florida, is a researcher focused on Human Factors – the science relating people to technology. She specializes in human automation interaction, such as spending an exorbitant amount of time figuring out what should be the ideal size, shape and color of a hazard light.
Larsen-Calcano said big decisions should not be taken lightly. “Do your research, make a plan and follow it. The first few years out of high school will be the hardest, but as we make mistakes we grow. This is the time when you determine what your moral compass will be.”