Black History Month begins with education fair

  • Published
  • By Kevin Gaddie
  • Team Eglin Public Affairs
The Black History Month committee partnered with the Education Center to hold an Education Fair at Luke’s Place here Feb. 2.

Representatives from 13 colleges located within a 50-mile radius were on hand to talk with community members and give out information.

Elisha Couch, Black History Month committee project officer, said the event was in keeping with this year’s theme, “The Crisis in Black Education.”

“Minorities are underrepresented in colleges and universities,” he said.  “We wanted to have an event to give everyone a way to get information from local colleges and get an education.”

Minority scholarship information was also available at each table.

“We have a lot of schools in this area, but many of our service members don’t know who to talk to or what to do about going to school,” Couch said.  “We want to see more minorities attend colleges and universities.”

Earl Faulkner, a 96th Test Wing an occupational safety and health specialist, brought his daughter Taylor, 20, to check out colleges.  She said she aspires to major in either vocal performance or in the culinary arts area.

“I’m looking at Northwest Florida College, as well as some other ones,” said Taylor, a 2014 graduate from Houston County High School in Warner-Robins, Ga.

She previously took courses at a private college in Georgia and hopes her credits will transfer successfully to the college she chooses.

“Most of the colleges at this event offer placement tests, so if my credits don’t transfer, I can test out of certain courses,” she said.  “So it’s not like I’m starting from scratch.”

Lisa Splinter, education services officer, said she was glad to help increase awareness about the educational opportunities available locally.

“This opportunity affords patrons a one-stop chance to meet with all the school representatives and make an informed decision about where they would like to go to school,” she said.

Splinter said a recent needs assessment showed active duty service members prefer face-to-face classes to distance or online learning.

Airman 1st Class Aundracus Stephens, 96th Logistics Readiness Squadron, said he wants to earn a master’s degree in business administration.

The Air Force really pushes education, said the 25-year-old.

“I work in vehicle operations, and my leadership is always encouraging us to take college classes,” he said.

The Valley, Ala. native plans to work toward a degree while in the military.

“Education plays a prominent role in today’s society,” he said.  “These days, you have to differentiate yourself from the people who are getting a bachelor’s degree.  You have to get at least a master’s degree if you want to stand out.”