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JSU’s first-generation students receive test-taking survival kits from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Pictured (l-r): Noel Gardner, Ph.D., director, Thee Aristocrats STEM & Health Science Program; Aleesha Hudson, committee chairwoman of HBCU for Life: A Call to Action; Chelsea Crittle, Ph.D., vice president Rho Lambda Omega Chapter; Dr. Mitchell Shears, associate vice president of Student Success & Executive Director of Title III; Kimberly Conerly, Building Your Economic Legacy Committee Chairman; Tara Johnson, director, TRIO Student Support Services; Chantill Williams-Smith, Ph.D., director, TRIO STEM Student Support Service

Pictured (l-r): Noel Gardner, Ph.D., director, Thee Aristocrats STEM & Health Science Program; Aleesha Hudson, committee chairwoman of HBCU for Life: A Call to Action; Chelsea Crittle, Ph.D., vice president Rho Lambda Omega Chapter; Dr. Mitchell Shears, associate vice president of Student Success & Executive Director of Title III; Kimberly Conerly, Building Your Economic Legacy Committee Chairman; Tara Johnson, director, TRIO Student Support Services; Chantill Williams-Smith, Ph.D., director, TRIO STEM Student Support Service

Jackson State University’s freshmen first-generation students received test-taking survival kits from the Rho Lambda Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. in efforts to help mitigate test anxiety.

Research indicates that an estimated 15-22 percent of students have high levels of test anxiety which can be associated with greater academic stress and poorer educational performance. First-generation students (where neither parent has completed post-secondary education) are a critical group of students that are at a higher risk for poorer educational attainment and being unsuccessful at the post-secondary level.

“Students at all levels have a destiny,” said Gloria Salters, president, Rho Lambda Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., who also shared that, “Rho Lambda Omega is committed to supporting them in realizing their destiny and providing them with tools and resources that will help them in focusing on success and not failure.”

In April, members of the sorority delivered the kits to the JSU freshmen first-generation students who are members of TRIO Student Support Services, TRIO STEM Student Support Services and Thee Aristocrat STEM and Health Sciences program.

Through the initiative, the sorority combined the purposes of two of its five international program targets, HBCU for Life and Building Your Economic Legacy, to provide first-generation students at JSU with nutritional food and school supplies such as note cards and highlighters to help them get through final exams.

“We applaud the ladies of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc., for thinking about our first-generation college students at Jackson State University who can sometimes feel less supported, unmotivated and full of anxiety during final exams,” said Mitchell Shears, Ph.D., associate vice president for student success and executive director of Title III.

“In most cases, first-generation college students’ families do not understand the anxiety of final exams or they are financially challenged and can’t afford to send their college student a nice survival kit. Organizations such as the AKAs are always willing to step in at the right time to fill that support gap.”

The initiative also included providing kits to students at Brinkley Middle School and Jim Hill High School where they received nutritional food, school supplies and HBCU awareness materials as they prepare for their end-of-year exams and continue to foster their educational future.