Nestled on the campus of Alcorn State University (ASU) at the Biotechnology building is a new program called Talent Search 61 which is under T.R.I.O. (Upward Bound, Talent Search, Student Support Service). Dedicated to nurturing socially disadvantaged students, many of whom may become the first in their families to attend college, Talent Search 61 is making waves in the educational landscape.
“We prepare students for college readiness starting in the 6th grade. This program is really for students who don’t even have college on their minds,” stated Natalie Green, the Director of Talent Search 61 South. This program serves as a beacon of hope, assessing student’s academic progress and guiding them towards self-improvement. At its core, Talent Search 61 is a community-driven initiative with a resolute goal to empower students for success.
Talent Search 61 spans across the North and South regions, serving as a transformative force for students seeking an educational advantage. This initiative, generously funded by the Department of Education, is a staple in numerous colleges and universities. Alcorn State University and Jackson State University owe their participation to the visionary grant proposal penned by the distinguished Alcornite, Dr. Mitchell Shears.
In the North, Talent Search 61 encompasses Claiborne County, Warren County, and Sharkey County, under the leadership of Na’Keia Stewart. In the South, the program extends its reach to Jefferson, Adams, and Wilkinson Counties, all overseen by Green.
Stewart expressed her optimism for the program’s future by stating, “A lot of other universities have had the program for 40+ years, and Alcorn is just getting started with the first grant cycle but I believe in my heart of hearts that we will be abundantly successful.” The program envisions a thriving and successful future where a significant majority of its students proudly hold their Bachelor of Science degrees.
Green stated, “Our aim is to put back into the community, so we hope to have a lot of our students graduate with a degree.” Talent Search 61 aspires to be more than just an average program, it aims to transform lives and empower communities.
As Talent Search 61 embarks on this promising journey, Alcorn remains at the forefront of shaping the future for these students, making education a beacon of hope and success for all.
(L to R) Natalie Green, Na’Keia Stewart and Kogrecha Banks; Coordinator, Talent Search 61 North