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ULM President’s Academy honors students and community partners

Published June 26, 2015

The President’s Academy at the University of Louisiana at Monroe wrapped up its fourth year as a premier academic and career exploratory camp for scholars. The academy provides high-ability high school students with a week of university and career immersion.


“We are always proud to have these students come to our university to be a part of this academy,” said ULM President Dr. Nick J. Bruno. “I only hope that when they are considering their university in the future that they consider ULM. We would love to have them.”

President’s Academy partners with regional companies to give students real-world experiences, or “externships,” in their chosen career path. Career paths include law, computer science, health science, and physical science.

The partner list for the academy has grown over the years, and now includes some of the area’s top employers including: CenturyLink, ANGUS Chemical, University Health Conway, St. Francis Medical Center, Monroe Surgical Hospital, P&S Surgical Hospital, the Ouachita Council on Aging, and Escamilla and Poneck, LLC.

The academy model places students in university classrooms, with lessons taught by ULM professors. Students also enjoy other aspects of the university, including performances in the arts from ULM Visual and Performing Arts students and faculty, and themed dinners geared toward enriching the student academy experience.

Many students took away more than they expected.

“This was an experience, not a camp,” said Keith Myles Jr. of Vidalia. "It was unbelievable, and if I had the choice to go to ULM over anywhere else, I would choose ULM.”

Throughout the week, students gathered the information learned in the classroom, and the skills they obtained during their externships and applied them to develop a solution and action plan to combat a fictional “pandemic,” which was presented to them at the beginning of the academy.

Participants presented their findings as “X-teams”—which are made up of various students from each career path to create a balanced approach to the problem—to a panel of judges on the final day of the academy.

“X-team 1” was named the overall winner for their response to solving the pandemic. Each team member received a $250 scholarship to ULM and a first place medal.

“X-team 1” members include: Kyleigh Chevis; Benjamin Finch; Robert LeGrande; Snehil Tiwari; Michael Forte; Antonia Asher; Matt Ingram; Tucker Guilbeaux; Ferron Dollar; and Aryanna Darby.

This year, students were also given an additional task. Representatives from P&S Surgical Hospital asked the groups to come up with a name for their new MAKO robot, which the hospital debuted in May.

The device performs precision knee resurfacing and total hip replacement procedures. The five X-teams presented over 40 names.

“We always appreciate the opportunity to work with young students,” said P&S Surgical Hospital CEO Linda Holyfield. “The President’s Academy students are our future surgeons, lawyers, and IT professionals, and it is our privilege to engage their minds as they imagine their futures. Our robot’s new name is a result of their incredible teamwork, creativity, and innovation.”

Ultimately, “X-team 3” prevailed with the name, “Kneezy.” The team even came up with an accompanying tagline, “Kneezy does it!” The winning team was presented with iTunes gift cards.

“X-team 3” members include: Chadren Martin, Keith Myles, Jr., Kira Reney, Reginold Boudreaux, Joanna Calhoun, Mack McElveen, Brennen Murphy, Gabrielle Stokley, Aidan Reid, and Fatima Hussain.

In all, 49 participants attended the academy, hailing from Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, and Colorado. 

President’s Academy participants:

Destiny Porter of Monroe; Snehil Tiwari of Little Rock, Ark.; Andrew Moore of Monroe; Dawson Markham of Sarepta; Helen Casey Wilkinson of Alexandria; Robert LeGrande of Coushatta; Colby Jabari Brown of Monroe; Chadren Martin of Winnsboro; Keith Myles Jr. of Vidalia; Matt Ingram of Enterprise; Aryanna Darby of Lafayette; Reginold Boudreaux of Lafayette; Isiah Chavis of Lafayette; Markaylon Boyd of Lafayette; Aleya Domingue of Lafayette; Tucker Guilbeaux of Carencro; Kira Reney of Lafayette; Jared Crenshaw of Marksville; Alyssa Ducote of Pineville; Caroline Moeller of Monroe; Michael Forte of Monroe; Cassi McQuilling of Berwick; Nealy McCoy of Columbia; Maverick Grubbs of Oak Grove ; Ferron Dollar of West Monroe; Brennen Murphy of Stonewall; Taylor Prudhomme of Springfield; Gabrielle Stokley of Prairieville; McKayle Wilson of Elizabeth ; Anna Yakaboski of Farmerville; Antonia Asher of Prairieville; Amber Estep of Monroe; Aidan Reid of Gonzales; Clara Kolterman of Parker, Colo. ; Hannah Heyl of Detrehan; Tiona Harris of Winnsboro; Elizabeth Ball of Baton Rouge; Fatima Hussain of Monroe; Kyleigh Chevis of Beaumont; Tucker McCann of Marksville; Dylan Varnado of Covington; Anna Marie Latham of Monroe Sarah English of Mandeville; Adam Hoxeng of Little Rock, Ark.; Benjamin Finch of Leesville; Ruben Hatfield of Quitman; Joanna Calhoun of West Monroe; Mack McElveen of Franklington; and Alexus Scalia of Monroe.