TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Kenyetta Siplin, 15, a rising junior at Florida A&M University Developmental Research School (FAMU-DRS) attended the International Affairs Summer Enrichment program at Howard University, Washington, D.C.
The two-week long program gives high school students, this year the ages ranged from 14 to 17, hands on experience in regards to the U.S. International Affairs with an emphasis on the African Union, whose members include Nigeria, Botswana and Ethiopia, to name a few.
“Getting to learn about the different issues facing Africa, from an African standpoint is an experience that I’ll never forget,” said Siplin. “Learning Swahili was interesting and I had the most fun embracing a new culture.”
Siplin and other students participated in an Africa Union simulation meeting, where they discussed possible resolutions to the genocide in Darfur; visited the U.S. Department of State and Nigerian embassy; and engaged in panel discussions concerning Africa.
Keith Simmonds, Ph.D., associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, led the effort to help Siplin participate in the program, along with DeAnna M. Burney, Ph.D., assistant professor and program director of the graduate psychology program.
Burney made the initial contact with Howard concerning the program and assisted Siplin with completing her application for the program.
“This is significant because we want our student to have that globalized and international experience, which is in-line with FAMU’s and FAMU-DRS’ strategic plan” said Burney. “This is the first time a student from DRS was able to participate in a program like this, but it is the first of many chances both students and faculty will get to partake in a globalized experience.”
Simmonds echoed Burney’s sentiments, and believes a wide-spectrum education is necessary to the development of a well-rounded student.
“There are those of us who strongly believe that our middle and high school students can participate in activities that might seem more appropriate for college students,” said Simmonds. “We also believe that learning about the world beyond our shores cannot, and must not wait until the college years. Our nation's needs, knowledge of its strengths and shortcomings, its leadership accomplishments and challenges are to be learned and appreciated as early as possible.”
Although this was her first time away from home for such an extended period, Kenyatta Siplin, Kenyetta’s father, said he knew the program would be perfect for his daughter.
“I was excited to hear that she would be going,” he said. “She’s a brilliant girl, and this will be something great to add to her resume. They definitely selected the right child to attend.”
Siplin plans to go onto to college after graduating from FAMU-DRS and major into electrical or computer engineering.
- 30 -
Posted: June 25, 2008