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MOST Conference Prepares Students for Collegiate Success

By Edwin B. Smith

University of Mississippi

Norris ‘EJ’ Edney, UM director of inclusion and cross cultural engagement, moderates a panel discussion during the 2019 MOST Conference. Because of COVID-19 concerns, this year’s conference will be virtual. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

Organized with the goal of giving high school students an insight into college life, the Mississippi Outreach to Scholastic Talent, or MOST, Conference at the University of Mississippi returns this year with a virtual format showcasing leadership activities, academic offerings, campus resources and more.

This year’s virtual event, scheduled for July 18-20, offers pre-college experiences for rising high school seniors. The goal of the summer conference is to present prospective African American students in Mississippi with leadership activities, academic offerings, campus resources, and faculty, staff and student leaders. 

The meeting, which is being shifted to a virtual format to adhere to social distancing and health guidelines, is free, and all materials and curriculum will be provided to participants.

“MOST participants will have the opportunity to engage with current undergraduate students who will serve as MOST mentors and shed light on their experiences at the University of Mississippi,” said Karrye Tynes, assistant director of access and recruiting initiatives in the Center for Inclusion and Cross-Cultural Engagement. “There will also be panel discussions and sessions related to admissions, scholarships, special programs and student organizations.”

The MOST Conference has earned a statewide and regional reputation for being an immersive experience. Students know to expect a lot of high-energy and interactive opportunities.

“Despite (the conference) being virtual, (MOST participants) will benefit hearing about the opportunities that they can experience and what it is like to be an African American student at the University of Mississippi,” said Cameron Evans, a junior broadcast journalism major from Starkville who served as a MOST mentor last year.

While some portions of the conference simply can’t be replicated virtually, Tynes said the conference still features many of the signature programs of the in-person editions.

“This year we’ve chosen to livestream many of the virtual events that were pre-recorded last year,” she said. “We chose this interactive and entertaining format to keep participants engaged throughout the conference. 

“We are looking forward to welcoming all of our registered students back for the MOST Reunion on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021; this will give students a glimpse of what it really feels like to be a student on campus.”

Tynes said she hopes participants in the virtual conference will emerge with a sense of the university’s support.

“We want them to be successful, proud, bold, courageous, scholarly Black students at the University of Mississippi,” she said. “Our students are the leaders and innovators of tomorrow, and the Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement and UM are committed to their success.”

A partnership among the Office of Admissions, Center for Inclusion and Cross-Cultural Engagement, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Community Engagement, the conference is made possible through the support of Fed Ex, the Office of the Provost, Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and other campus partners.

For more information about the 2021 MOST Conference, click here.

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