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January 31, 2013

ULM President's Academy announces new corporate partner

Today, the international law firm Escamilla, Poneck & Cruz, LLP signed a Memorandum of Understanding with ULM as the newest company to join the innovative President's Academy—a five-day residential college preparatory program exclusive to academically motivated high school students.

The academy—now in its second year—allows qualifying students to choose a career path and an externship with one of four corporate partners in exchange for one college credit.

Wesley Johnson, an associate from Escamilla, Poneck & Cruz LLP, expressed her gratitude and talked about the role of her law firm during the academy, which will be held at ULM from
July 7-12, 2013.

"We are so excited for this opportunity," she said. "We want to give students the idea that work in a law firm is so much more than they can imagine. Each of the areas that the students will be exploring has a significant need for solid legal development and compliance from the ground floor, to the top.”

The firm will work closely with the ULM College of Business to develop a rich and rigorous career path that helps academy participants navigate the legal and ethical dilemmas associated with a pandemic.

"The fourth career path, law, will supply students with the necessary tools for success in various legal careers," said ULM President, Dr. Nick J. Bruno.

"The purpose of the academy is to provide students with experiences beyond the classroom that will help prepare them for college and the job market. This new concentration is indicative of what the academy strives to accomplish."

The university also welcomed back returning corporate partners ANGUS Chemical Company, which will offer students a career path in physical science; CenturyLink, which will offer a path in computer science; and E.A. Conway Medical Center, which will offer a path in health sciences.

Odell Riley, (B.B.A '83) Vice President of Human Resources and Chief Diversity Officer for CenturyLink, said, "I think as a technology and communications company, it is important for us to understand that the world is getting smaller. I cannot say enough about the efforts of the university to make sure that we, as part of our community, understand that notion. We can interact with students from many different nations and be able to have something in common with them and create that excitement about learning."

The academy has fostered excitement in the business community, and during last year's academy, the local academy partners witnessed it first-hand with their employees.

"For us it is important to interest kids in science and technology," said Ernest Green, site leader for Angus Chemical Company, a subsidiary of DOW Chemical. "We got a lot of excitement from our people. When you bring those kinds of students in, our employees get excited to tell them and show them what they do."

Also in attendance was Aryon McGuire, Hospital Administrator for E.A. Conway Medical Center. "We are excited to participate in this effort again," he said. "Education is one of the core missions of E.A. Conway, and any time we get a chance to show our facility to those interested in medical careers, we welcome the opportunity."

In addition to corporate and community partners, students will work with professors from the colleges of Business, Arts and Sciences, Health Sciences, Education and Human Development, and Pharmacy.

"Part of what makes this program so special is that all courses are taught by ULM faculty," said Dr. Lynn Clark, associate professor for the College of Education and Human Development and director of the President's Academy.

"We have professors representing every college on campus, as well as the Schools of Science, Visual and Performing Arts, and Nursing."

Parent feedback from last year's academy was overwhelmingly positive. Terry Wakefield of Alexandria sent her twin daughters. "They had a wonderful experience at the President's Academy," she said. "In fact, it was the highlight of their summer. "I know of many interested families looking for an opportunity like this."  

Clark continued, "The university and our amazing business partners are looking forward to the 2013 President's Academy. We have some new and exciting additions in store for the coming year."

Stats on last year's academy participants:

Students from five states were represented in last year's academy.

There were 31 students from Louisiana; six from Arkansas; one from Texas; eight from Mississippi; and two from Colorado.

The median ACT of the 48 participants was 29.

Ninety-three percent of the participants who were surveyed said they would recommend the faculty and facilities of ULM to a friend or family member.

Parents also found the academy to be strong in its inaugural year.

Of the parents who were surveyed, 100 percent said they would recommend the President's Academy to a friend or colleague.

The academy also received a positive 100 percent response from parents who felt the academy provided positive examples of ULM programs and facilities, which impacted the way they thought about ULM.

Of the 30 seniors who attended the President's Academy in 2012, six are currently enrolled in dual enrollment, and six will be attending ULM as freshman in fall 2013.

For more information about the President's Academy—which is limited to 65 students—or how to apply, visit

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