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New CofC program aims to improve workplace success for Black students

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Treasure Richardson wants to go to Mars and the Jupiter moon, Europa.

To get there, the Hopkins resident plans to major in astrophysics and minor in biomedical physics and biology on her trajectory to NASA. From there, fueled by her concern for climate change, her career goal is to help find another livable planet.

The sky is the limit for Richardson — but first, college.

As an incoming freshman at the College of Charleston, Richardson aims to become an empowered leader in the CofC community as one of 11 Black first-year students participating in the new 1967 Legacy Program, the college said in a news release. Of the scholars, 10 are from South Carolina, and one is from Mississippi.

The four-year program, named for the year the college integrated, focuses on supporting the academic and professional success of Black students who consider themselves trailblazers.  

To support students, the college offers each Legacy participant a $5,000 scholarship per year, plus support for study abroad and internship opportunities, CofC said.

Housed under the Office of Institutional Diversity, the 1967 Legacy Program offers students extended education support and professional preparation to improve recruitment, retention, graduation and workplace success.

The experience includes mentorships from members of College of Charleston’s Black Alumni Council. Additionally, students in the program will identify a community service project to collaborate on as part of their role to create a more engaged community, the release said.

Valerie Frazier, associate professor of English and 1967 Legacy Program director, has spent more than a year working on the program and preparing to welcome the inaugural class.

“The course will be an immersive experience as we figure out the history in and around 1967,” Frazier said. “We’ll explore how time and change bring about revelation.”

Each student will be required to research Black trailblazers that attended the college and to hold a Tedx-style talk on the figures. The talks will be open to the public.

Students will also be peer mentored by upperclassmen Legacy Ambassadors and participate in “decompression activities” that allow them time to explore Charleston in a less structured format, Frazier said.

Aaisha Haykal, manager of archival services for the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, will work with Frazier to create course assignments and support student research, the release said.

The course will offer a number of experiential learning opportunities, including a tasting of Gullah Geechee foods with Chef BJ Dennis. The former CofC student is now featured on the Netflix program, High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America.

Students will also have the opportunity to work with the University of Georgia’s Willson Center for Humanities & Arts to study restorative justice at Penn Center on St. Helena Island.

Additionally, students will participate in free professional seminars that helps them build resumes and skills to become a workforce leader. Mentors include College of Charleston and community leaders like Derrick Williams, a Columbia-based attorney and the first Black president of the College of Charleston Alumni Association, and Neysa Williams, community engagement director for Joint Base Charleston and president of the Black Alumni Council.

Reach Teri Errico Griffis at 843-849-3144.

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