A group of 70 freshman students from the Jones Futures Academy traveled to the campus of Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) on June 25 to learn first-hand what it takes to become future construction, architecture and nursing students.
During their visit, the students were divided into two groups, touring learning environments within both the School of Architecture and the School of Nursing. The students also sat in on an hour-long presentation to learn more about the academic programs and life as an incoming PVAMU student. The tour was arranged by Dan Bankhead, HISD general manager of facilities design and a current faculty member in the university’s School of Architecture.
Prairie View A&M Pre-Nursing Program Coordinator Flora Thomas told the group of visiting HISD students that discipline and determination are essential for success as in the nursing program.
“Nursing is a service profession,” said Thomas. “As a nurse, you first have to know who you are, and you have to be confidant in what your abilities are.”
Dr. Bruce Bockhorn, associate professor and director of construction science in the School of Architecture, spoke about the high demand in Texas for architects and contractors, specifically in management roles.
“We need your talent,” said Bockhorn. “To be prepared, you’re going to need to have that degree.”
According to Bockhorn, PVAMU students and graduates have worked on major construction and architecture projects in cities across Texas, including Houston, Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio. Currently, a total of 12 Prairie View alumni are working on HISD Bond projects as well.
Jones freshman Kayla Melendez says she is interested in both architecture and acting, but after the site visit, she is leaning more towards a future in architecture.
“I like how the tour was set up and presented,” said Melendez. “It makes me feel like I want to study architecture in the near future. At first, I didn’t know what I wanted to be, and now, I believe I can do it.”
Students at the Jones Futures Academy are able to fulfill high school graduation requirements while working towards earning industry certifications, college credits from Houston Community College, and an associate’s degree. Graduates of the program will have already earned half of the credits needed to complete their prospective academic program by the time they enter Prairie View.
Thomas encouraged the students not to be discouraged by difficult personal circumstances.
“Wherever you are, just know you can get to where you need to be right here at Prairie View,” said Thomas. “If I can do it, so can you.”