Ryan Regan and Ryan Chavis, senior business majors at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, attended the prestigious Pioneer Student Leadership Academy in Washington, D.C., thanks to scholarships from DuPont Fayetteville Works.
In Washington, they attended a 10-day leadership and executive training conference with representatives of some of the nation's largest corporations.
"Networking is something that was emphasized at the academy," said Regan, who is from Lumberton, N.C. "We were with people from large corporations like Siemens and small start-up IT (information technology) companies."
Chavis, who is from Pembroke, N.C., said it was a heady atmosphere.
"We had breakfast one morning in the Bank of America building overlooking the Washington Monument and the Treasury Building," Chavis said. "It was interesting to see the nation's capital waking up.
Chavis and Regan are Mazda Scholars, an elite four-year scholarship program in the School of Business. Chavis is focusing in marketing and finance with a minor in writing, and Regan wants to go to graduate school for a Master's in Public Administration degree and work for the federal government.
The pair sat in on 100 hours of programs on public speaking, networking, job-seeking skills, business ethics and more. The UNCP pair received $1,000 scholarships through DuPont Fayetteville Works facility, which funded the $5,000 tuition per student.
One of the most challenging projects was a business plan development and presentation.
"We worked with a team to develop a business plan for a new or existing product and present it to a panel of corporate executives," Regan said. "They gave us some good pointers, and our team won the competition."
Chavis said the exposure to the corporate atmosphere was beneficial.
"It is a blessing to have an opportunity to do something like this," Chavis said. "Meeting with real world executives and having them share their experience with us was a great experience." Each participant in the Pioneer Student Leadership Academy was paired with an executive for continued mentorship.
It is the third year that DuPont sponsored UNCP business students to the academy. Barbara Knight, senior human resources specialist for DuPont Fayetteville Works, coordinated the community outreach project with UNCP and instructed a class in behavior-based interviewing at the academy.
"This is the third year that we have partnered with UNCP in sending students to the academy," Knight said. "One of our key initiatives is partnering with education and preparing our students for the world of work. The academy gives students an opportunity to strengthen their leadership skills and prepare for a competitive job market."
DuPont is a world leader in producing a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture, nutrition, electronics, communications, safety and protection, home and construction, transportation and apparel. The company is a corporate sponsor of the Pioneer Student Leadership Academy.
The academy is sponsored by the Pioneers in Education Alliance and is a public-private education consortium dedicated to preparing underserved and underrepresented college students to lead the 21st century work force. Its goal is to create a pipeline of skilled workers and high-quality leaders ready to face the challenges of the new millennium.
The academy offered the UNCP pair a look at their futures, said Cammie Oxendine, assistant dean of UNCP's School of Business.
"This program is valuable for our students because they receive training and have an opportunity to look into the larger world of business," Oxendine said. "I would like to thank DuPont for supporting our future business leaders."
For more information about the DuPont scholars program at UNCP or about the School of Business, please phone (910) 521-6214 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.