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FAMU Students Gain Insight During IOBSE Conference
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.— Seven Florida A&M University students from the College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities were recently selected to attend an all-expenses paid trip to the International Organization of Black Security Executives Conference in Columbus, Ohio.  
The International Organization of Black Security Executives (IOBSE) is a non-profit organization that provides a culture of education, mentorship and international networking among minority, security professionals. For several years the IOBSE has played a key role in helping support minorities in the security field.

“It was an honor and humbling moment to be at the convention,” said Gregory F. George, a senior political science student from Miami, Fla. “To be vetted by executives and chosen to attend the trip was a confidence booster. It was great to know that people who are at the top of their field saw enough potential in me to offer me the opportunity to network and rub shoulders with their peers. I felt as though I was getting a head start in my career by being in a place where I could ask all the questions I had and get honest and candid feedback that could take me to the next level.”

Along with George, the students who participated in the conference were:

• Kenneth Dukes, a senior political science/criminal justice student from Lake City, Fla.
• Faith Grant, a senior criminal justice student from Miami, Fla.
• Martella Moore, a senior criminal justice/psychology student from Lawtey, Fla.
• Carolyn Pompilus, a graduate sociology student from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
• Brittany Richardson, a graduate criminal justice student from Tampa, Fla.; and
• Jashae Smith, a senior criminal justice student from Washington DC.

“There was no greater feeling than seeing so many black professionals in a single room and willing to mentor, hire and support black students,” Richardson said. "To hear the stories of these professionals who grew up in impoverished neighborhoods and became a success story gave me the fire I have now to continue pursuing my goals and dreams.”

Jacqueline Perkins, internship director for the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, assisted the students with the event. She said the lessons taken from the conference were very beneficial to the group.

“The students were afforded an opportunity to interact with high ranking corporate executives who were seeking new talent,” she said. “They were also able to cultivate relationships with corporate leaders who may ultimately become long-term mentors during their professional careers.”

FAMU has worked with IOSBE for 16 years. This year, the university had the largest number of students selected to attend the conference than any other college or university.

"Our students were great ambassadors for the college and the university,” said Valencia Matthews, dean of the College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities.  “This experience afforded them the opportunity to interact in a professional environment and to learn about the varied career options in the security industry.  The seminars on panels on mentoring and leadership were appropriate for all participants.   As an administrator, to witness the care and concern for the students demonstrated by IOBSE was very comforting.”
Moore said it is important that FAMU students get exposed to events such as this.

“It allows students to learn more about making it and attaining a successful career,” said Moore, who received two scholarships during the conference. “It provides FAMU with an opportunity to build professional relationships with organizations.”
George agreed.

“It was good getting insight about fields that most people don’t think about, and to know that there is much more we can do with our degrees,” he said. “If we market ourselves accordingly, the sky is the limit.”

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