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Posts Tagged ‘The John C. Stennis Institute of Government’

The Wonderful Adventures of the Intern: Part 2

In The Black Man on June 4, 2010 at 7:28 am

Dexter McKinney is a man of many talents: a singer, artist, musician, budding politician, perhaps a Renaissance Man (???), but Dexter can do it all. Dexter is the Stennis Institute’s (SIG) most recent intern and we are very fortunate that he literally “fell” into a position in our organization.

See, Dexter is enrolled in the Master of Public Policy and Administration program at Mississippi State. But toward the end of his spring semester, Dexter did not have an internship lined up, as required before graduating. Like many, Dexter was being bruised in the wide world of internship seeking, which can be cutthroat in its own right. Although SIG does not have a minority (racial/ethnic minority and women) fellowship or internship program, Dante Lee acknowledges that “It is more and more common to see a company, organization or government agency that has an internship program that is specifically for women and minority students. Companies such as IBM, Nationwide Insurance, NASCAR, and even Google were amongst the first to do so. Such minority internships were created for two reasons: To help a company diversify their staff, and to offset the effects of years and years of racial and gender discrimination.”

Dexter is challenging the statistics, the status quo: unfortunately it is increasingly becoming the status quo that African American males are perhaps much more likely to have been arrested or in prison than on a college campus. In his book chapter “The Diminution of African American Males in Higher Education,” Michael Cuyjet finds that “while there is unfortunate attrition of all kinds of students–of different racial/ethnic groups and different genders–the percentages of the losses among African American males are higher than for other identifiable groups.”

The wonderful adventures for one Dexter McKinney (who is scheduled to graduate in December) involves defying the odds, but as he has often said to me, “the ultimate is to redefine, to educate, to inspire, and to reclaim many of my peers, one step at a time.”

Michael Cuyjet’s chapter appears in Diversity in Higher Education Vol. 6. “Black American Males in Higher Education: Diminishing Proportions.” Editors Henry T. Frierson et al. (2009).

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