Crosby Hall

Thursday, March 10, 2022

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March 10, 2022 - 12:47pm
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Pearl River Community College is once again trending for the Spring 2022 semester. The 10th Day Report has arrived, and PRCC has maintained its place as fourth largest community college in Mississippi. The college has also seen 17 consecutive semesters of outperforming the state headcount average. When comparing Spring 2022 to Spring 2021, PRCC saw an increase of .9 percent to 4,580 students.  

“We are honored that a record number of students continue to choose Pearl River Community College,” said Dr. Adam Breerwood, PRCC President. “Our goal has always been to provide affordable and accessible educational opportunities. Our growth over the last 17 semesters is a result of a dedicated faculty who continue to work diligently to change the lives of our students daily.  

“We remain dedicated to removing the obstacles that impede student success and providing clear pathways for our students to succeed in whatever career field they choose. While we are pleased with our enrollment growth, I believe our best days are still ahead of us.” 

PRCC saw a slight 0.1 percent decrease in spring-to-spring credit hours at 59,340. 

ACADEMICS 

Providing a variety of courses for students with high caliber instructors is at the core of PRCC’s approach to academics. Whether you’re a student seeking an associate degree before matriculating into a four-year school or a student in Career Technical Education looking to directly enter the workforce, PRCC is constantly aiming to provide the best possible classroom experience. 

A big part of growing academics is the continued expansion of eLearning. Along with courses held exclusively online, instructors of traditional classes are embracing the digital. This includes building out their courses in Canvas and then using cameras in the classroom to record each class and allow students to remote into class when needed. They can receive training and assistance with Instructional Technology needs from eLearning. 

“Enrollment in eLearning continues to be robust,” said Senior Vice President for Instruction/Provost Martha Smith. “The college is committed to providing services for students choosing to take online classes. To this end, additional personnel have been hired to help with online advisement and test proctoring.  

“While there are courses that require hands-on learning, over time, instructors identified information that could be delivered via an online format thus allowing for smaller groups and social distancing during labs.” 

MAKING COLLEGE AFFORDABLE 

One of the tenets of Dr. Breerwood’s presidency is to ensure education at Pearl River Community College is accessible and affordable. As a result, PRCC has maintained the same tuition rate for the last five years while continuing to add services and opportunities for students.  

Making college affordable is done in part with scholarships for students in Academic, Allied Health, and Career Technical Education pathways to assist them with their educational goals. 

For the 2021-22 school year, PRCC has provided more than $4.5 million in institutional scholarships. This includes academic and service scholarships.  

Academic scholarships are based on either the student’s ACT score or successful completion of a CTE program at the high school level with at least a 3.0 GPA. The last four years has seen over 50% growth in the number of CTE scholarships awarded. 

Students are also eligible for a variety of service scholarships for students involved in athletic and service endeavors while in college. Service scholarships can be stacked with academic or CTE scholarships. Service endeavors include activities such as The Spirit of the River Band, PRCC Cheer, PRCC Singers, River Navigators, and Resident Assistant. 

Additionally, the PRCC Development Foundation has hundreds of scholarships students can qualify for through a simple application. These scholarships total over a million dollars each year and are made possible through the generosity of donors.  

“While scholarships play a vital role in recruitment, the funding provides support throughout the student’s time at PRCC and helps to ensure that retention and graduation are obtained,” said Executive Director of Development Foundation/Alumni Association Delana Harris. “The combination of scholarships, student services and diverse offerings including online, night and weekend courses continues to allow PRCC to serve our communities with training and educational opportunities.  

“This helps to ensure that our local economies grow and that our workforce needs are met.” 

PROVIDING EXCELLENT EXPERIENCES 

Along with good experiences in the classroom, the college has also engaged in forward thinking that improves the overall experience someone has from the moment they express interest in PRCC.  

Both the Business Office and Financial Aid Office have created processes that put student needs first and allow them to complete everything digitally. This includes the ability to view bills, set up payment plan options, and understand when their financial aid awards are readily available.  

“The college has made great strides across the institution to improve processes, increase technology for digital interactions and improve communications to students to enhance better service,” said Vice President for Enrollment Management & Business Services Candace Harper. “Moving to having more things online is just one example of the commitment all of our departments are making to put the student experience first.” 

Along with changes in the traditional administrative offices, PRCC recently opened The Wildcat Hub, a one stop shop for assistance. Their customer service agents are accessible through the chat feature of the PRCC website, from the mail phone number for the college, and from in person interactions in their newly created space inside Crosby Hall.  

PRCC The Wildcat Hub logo

“We are excited to offer so many ways for the public, students, and future wildcats to connect with us and we are optimistic for what the future will bring” said Amanda Brumfield, co-director of the Wildcat Hub.  

Since January, they have answered more than 1400 chats and during February handled over 700 phone calls. Their operational hours are expanding to be 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. for Monday through Thursday and then until 4 p.m. on Fridays. Any email inquiries and chat tickets are being answered within 24 hours. 

“We are seeing an increase in attempted interactions with PRCC, compared to last year.  We are proud to offer several different ways to communicate with PRCC and hope that having multiple contact options helps those who need us feel more comfortable reaching out,” said Hannah Miller, co-director of the Wildcat Hub. 

REACHING OUT TO PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS 

PRCC Recruiters are back out in the community more often to make connections with students that may find The River a good fit for their career goals. In February, three days were spent with over 800 students visiting either Allied Health or Career Technical Education programs on the Forrest County and Poplarville campuses. 

They are also spending more time on school visits, bringing information about the college to local high schools. This included a big “Pathway to PRCC” day held last November at Hancock High School where students learned about the County Tuition Assistance Program available for all Hancock County residents. 

Prospective Students at CTE Day 2022 in Poplarville

“In addition to on campus events, Recruiters have been able to once again personally guide students through the enrollment process on their ‘home turf’ with the re-opening of local schools,” said Coordinator of Recruitment and Marketing Kari Eve Valence. “We’ve engaged through Senior Information Sessions, Application Days, CTE & Allied Health Class Presentations, College Fairs, and attending several athletic events and awards days all in the hopes of helping prospective Wildcats seamlessly join the Wildcat Family.” 

The next big event for prospective students is the second Wildcat Experience to be held on Tuesday, April 12 from 1 – 3 p.m. on The Green of the Centennial Courtyard on the Poplarville Campus. This free event allows juniors and seniors from across south Mississippi to get a taste of life at The River. Tickets to the home baseball game against Hinds that afternoon and the PRCC Wind Ensemble Concert Band performance that evening will be given out to attendees. Interested students need to register at prcc.edu/wildcatexperience. 

For the latest news on Pearl River Community College, visit PRCC.edu and follow us on Twitter (@PRCC_Wildcats), Instagram (PRCCWILDCATS), and Facebook (@PRCCMKTG). 

 
March 10, 2022 - 3:47pm
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Pearl River Community College saw middle and high school students along with their teachers and parents enjoy a day of science fun at the annual regional Science Olympiad. PRCC has been hosting the Gulf South Regional Science Olympiad since 2015 with the 2021 competition done virtually. 

“We were really excited to have all these young scientists on campus again,” said PRCC Instructor of Biology and Gulf South Regional Director Robert Maynard. “This collaborative effort showcases the best of science and technology, working with others as a team to achieve a common goal.  

“It is also an excellent opportunity for students to visit our campus, so it is also a good marketing tool.” 

Eight schools brought a total of 10 teams for the event. Middle school teams came from Pearl River County Middle School in Carriere, Oak Grove Middle School in Hattiesburg and St. Patrick Catholic High School in Biloxi. High school teams came from Northwest Rankin High School in Flowood, Parklane Academy in McComb, Pearl River Central High School in Carriere, Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg and St. Patrick Catholic High School in Biloxi. 

Each team could consist of up to 15 participants who compete in a variety of events in multiple science disciplines: Life, personal, and social sciences; Earth and space science; Physical Science and Chemistry; Technology and Engineering; and Inquire and Nature of Science. The focus of the events changes each year so that each annual competition is unique.  

Some events require core knowledge that is judged through written tests, while others require participants to perform tasks on-site. This year’s non-spectator events for both levels included Anatomy, Disease Detectives, Green Generations, Ornithology, and Write It/Do It. Middle school students could also compete in Crime Busters, Food Science, and Solar System. High school students had the additional options of Astronomy, Chem Lab, and Forensics. 

Abby Hammons was a team captain for Oak Grove High School this year and one of the only students from that school who participated in last year’s virtual competition. 

“Doing the event virtually last year was really hard,” said Hammons. “This year’s Write It/Do It was also difficult. But being in person is so much better.” 

SPECTATOR EVENTS  

Spectator events incorporated the need for students to build a device ahead of time and bring it on-site for testing. 

The Bridge Building Event had student-built bridges put to the test with up to 15kg of weight being placed into an attached bucket. Instead of focusing on the sturdiest bridge, the final judgement was tied to the best weight to performance ratio. This meant that a bridge that was lighter but broke before reaching the maximum added weight could be declared the winner. 

Connor McElroy and David Merrell represented St. Patrick’s with their well-constructed bridge. They had the only bridge that did not break under the added weight but placed second as they did not have the best weight to performance ratio.  

David Merrel and Connor McElroy from St. Patrick team with their bridge

“We made a great team and had a lot of fun,” said Merrell. “We hope to ‘upgrade’ our efforts this next year.” 

Trajectory (high school) and Storm the Castle (middle school) were events focused on the science behind catapults that relies upon the transfer of energy from one item to another. 

Vehicles constructed out of items such as CDs for wheels were entered into Mousetrap Vehicles (middle school) and Gravity Vehicle (high school.) The mousetrap vehicles relied upon the release of kinetic energy from the snap of attached mousetraps. The gravity vehicles needed to be released from a tethered spot on a ramp that was also constructed by the teams.  

Shivers Gymnasium hosted three different events related to flight. The Wright Stuff and Electric Wright Stuff had students building flying devices within certain parameters that were then launched across the gym floor by the student. Ping Pong Parachute used compressed air to propel the ping pong and attached parachute towards the roof of the gym before it drifted down to the floor. All three competitions had a focus on time aloft. 

AWARD WINNERS 

After a long day of events, attendees gathered for the awards ceremony where the top three students or partner teams for each event were announced. This was followed by the announcement of the overall winners. 

For B Division (middle school), third place went to team B-8 from Oak Grove Middle School, second place went to team B-6 from Pearl River County Middle School, and first place went to team B-4 from St. Patrick. 

Gulf South Regional B Division Third Place Team from Oak Grove Middle School
Gulf South Regional B Division Third Place Team from Oak Grove Middle School

Gulf South Regional B Division Second Place Team from Pearl River County Middle School
Gulf South Regional B Division Second Place Team from Pearl River County Middle School

Gulf South Regional B Division First Place Team from St Patrick

Gulf South Regional B Division First Place Team from St Patrick

For C Division (high school), third place went to team C-5 from Oak Grove High School, second place went to team C-4 from Parkland Academy, and first place went to team C-3 from Northwest Rankin. 

Gulf South Regional C Division Third Place Team from Oak Grove High School

Gulf South Regional C Division Third Place Team from Oak Grove High School

Gulf South Regional C Division Second Place Team from Parklane Academy

Gulf South Regional C Division Second Place Team from Parklane Academy

Gulf South Regional C Division First Place Team from Northwest Rankin High School

Gulf South Regional C Division First Place Team from Northwest Rankin High School

Northwest Rankin Team Captain Ben Curry was happy they could come to PRCC for the competition. They normally attend the Southwest Regional one at Copiah-Lincoln Community College which was cancelled for this year. 

“Science Olympiad really pushes me to learn new things I like such as astronomy,” said Curry. “It felt good to have the regional experience this year. Everyone here has been so nice, and we’ve enjoyed the beautiful campus.” 

The top teams from the regional events qualify to compete at the State Tournament at the University of Southern Mississippi in April. The winners at State are invited to attend the National Science Olympiad. 

One of the science teachers had a special surprise of a complimentary ticket to the Mississippi Science Teachers Association Conference to be held in Biloxi this April. Erin Seal from Pearl River County Middle School is in her first year of teaching and was thrilled to receive the ticket. 

ABOUT SCIENCE OLYMPIAD 

Science Olympiad tournaments have a variety of events that test knowledge of science facts, concepts, processes, skills, and science applications. The main goal of the event is to elevate science education and learning to a level of enthusiasm and support that is normally reserved only for varsity sports programs. 

In Mississippi, the regional tournaments allow as many teams from any individual school as the coach wishes to bring. At the state tournament only one team per school may advance. This can be an exact duplicate of a regional team, or a mix/match of the best competitors from the school's regional teams. 

The Mississippi Science Olympiad is an official chapter of Science Olympiad, Inc. 

For the latest news on Pearl River Community College, visit PRCC.edu and follow us on Twitter (@PRCC_Wildcats), Instagram (PRCCWILDCATS), and Facebook (@PRCCMKTG)

 
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