Field trip to N.C. A&T event to provide a look into future for girls
Margo Dawson gives a group of Rochelle Middle School students a preview on Tuesday of what the girls will encounter during the Women in Science and Technology event they will be attending Friday at North Carolina A&T University. The students, part of a contingent of more than 35 young women from LCPS, were selected from Rochelle’s STEM Center classes. Submitted photo
Abria Brewer couldn’t have booked a more ideal trip if she’d used a travel agent.
A Kinston High School sophomore interested in engineering and curious about North Carolina A&T University, Abria will be among a group of about 40 young women from Lenoir County attending Friday’s annual Women in Science and Technology (WIST) event at the school.
This year’s WIST centers on a luncheon that will be keynoted by Dr. Tashni-Ann Dubroy, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Howard University. It will also give the hundreds of high school and middle school students in attendance a chance to visit the A&T campus and ask questions of administrators and professors in the university’s College of Science and Technology.
“The goal is to let these girls be able to be on a college campus,” Margo Dawson said. “They’re able to listen to female leaders in the fields of science and technology and engaged with these women as well.”
For years, Dawson has been active with her husband, Lin, in community and career development projects in Kinston through the Dawsons’ nonprofit J.H. Sampson Community Development Corp. For the last several years, she has accompanied a small group of girls from Kinston to WIST.
This year, LCPS allied with Dawson in the effort, quadrupled the number of student participants, agreed to provide transportation and coordinated preparations for the field trip through its Career and Technical Education (CTE) program.
This week, young women from Kinston, North Lenoir and South Lenoir high schools and Rochelle Middle School attended sessions designed to acquaint them with what the visit to A&T would entail. Dawson led the Rochelle session on Tuesday and Jessica Shimer, the district’s career development coordinator, talked to Abria and other KHS students a day earlier.
“It helped me to know what to look for in preparing for this field trip,” Abria said after the orientation session, which included segments on mode of dress and the luncheon agenda. “I’m looking forward to it. I always wanted to look into engineering — it’s between engineering and law — and I’m hoping this will help.”
LCPS students selected for the field trip are enrolled in math, science or engineering courses. The Lenoir County contingent also includes five girls from Girl Scout Troop 4186.
“This is the pulse of our young people,” Dawson said of science and technology. “The stakes are high in terms of reaching kids through what makes them tick. The jobs are there, the salaries are great. I feel it’s important to get them exposed at the high level and to let them see what it looks like if they do well in middle and high school.”
Dubroy, who will keynote the luncheon, earned her doctorate in physical organic chemistry from N.C. State and worked for a time as a research scientist with BASF, the world’s largest chemical company. She transitioned to education through a series of teaching and administrative positions at Shaw University, her alma mater, and in 2015 was named Shaw’s president. She began her duties at Howard University in October 2017.
“I really want these kids to think about the future — how they can serve society, be productive citizens and be independent,” Dawson said.