Fireside Chat


Joining President LaForge is Dr. Glendscene Williams, a professor in the Delta State business school who developed the curriculum for the Summer Youth Entrepreneurship Program.

Delta State continues to be a leader in the Delta region in a large number of outreach efforts that range from nursing and music to business and science. One such program is the Summer Youth Entrepreneurship Program, which teaches young men in our region the opportunities and risks of running their own business. Sponsored by the College of Business’ Center for Business and Entrepreneurial Research and the Delta Health Alliance’s Indianola Promise Community, the program enrolled 40 participants this year, and is looking to expand its reach even further in the coming year.

The curriculum for the program is designed to encourage the development of business plans based on the participants’ ideas, and to give them opportunities to “job shadow” at community businesses for two weeks. Participants engage in discussions on economic conditions and business related topics, and learn the importance of networking, communication skills, community involvement, and strategies for being accepted to college. Following the program, some of the young men obtained after-school jobs in the businesses in which they spent time, while others continue to volunteer in their community. And, there has been an increased interest in college attendance by most of the participants, which is always a goal for us here at Delta State.

Fireside Chat


Joining President LaForge is Christie Rocconi, Director of the Delta State’s Financial Assistance office.

At Delta State, college affordability and accessibility are primary tenets of our mission. We want every student in Mississippi to have the opportunity to attend college, and we recognize that a higher percentage of college graduates in Mississippi translates into a bright future for everyone in the state. Earlier this year, a consortium of Mississippi education leaders announced a new effort – College Countdown MS – that is designed to help more students apply for and enroll in college after high school.

This program is part of a national effort — called the American College Application Campaign — that shares the goal of easing the admissions, financial aid, and enrollment processes for students, particularly first-generation and low-income students. The goal is for every high school graduate to apply to a postsecondary school. This academic year, the target areas for College Countdown MS include Jackson Public Schools and the Delta. Some of the activities planned for students include Application Day, Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Day, and College Signing Day, which is designed to replicate the excitement of athletic signing days. Many of the activities will occur during the school day and will focus on students who might not otherwise apply to college.

We encourage all of the Delta high schools to participate and for all parents, government leaders and community organizations to get onboard and support this important campaign. Delta State will lend its support by having representatives from the Office of Admissions and Office of Financial Assistance at as many of these events as possible to help students complete these applications for college and financial aid—no matter which college they plan to attend.