Two White Hall High School students had a chance to learn about family and consumer sciences and network with industry professionals recently at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

Caylin Mack and NyAsia Johnson, 10th grade students, attended the annual breakfast of the AM&N/UAPB Human Sciences Alumni Association in October.

The two were invited to the breakfast after they expressed an interest in pursuing careers in family and consumer sciences. Both are members of the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America Club (FCCLA) and study family and consumer sciences at White Hall school.

“We at the Department of Human Sciences wanted to reach out to talented youth who might want to pursue higher education and career opportunities in the industry,” said Marilyn Bailey, interim assistant dean for academics at the UAPB School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences. “The Alumni Association breakfast was a perfect opportunity for Caylin and NyAsia to learn a little about the human sciences degree program at UAPB, as well as the wide range of career options in the field.”

Bailey said Mack and Johnson met with professors, graduates and current students of human sciences and asked questions.

ShaRhonda Freeman Hamilton, a 2019 alumna of human development and family studies at UAPB, served as the students’ mentor during the breakfast.

“I eased Caylin’s and NyAsia’s doubts about transitioning to a university setting and answered any questions about attending UAPB,” Hamilton said. “They both said they felt welcomed by our alumni and were excited by the prospect of joining our department.”

Mack said she became interested in sewing and interior design after enrolling in the family and consumer sciences class at White Hall High School. In addition to teaching her how to sew and decorate, she credits her teacher, Tracie Herring, with imparting invaluable life skills.

Johnson said she has become more confident, thanks to an education in family and consumer sciences and Herring’s encouragement.

“At one point I was shy, but now I like to help people who may feel embarrassed asking for help,” she said.

Outside of school, both Mack and Johnson enjoy reading and cooking for their families and friends. Both are specifically interested in pursuing degrees in nutrition and food science at UAPB.

Hamilton said she thinks more local youth should consider an education and career in human sciences because of the life skills the discipline instills.

“By studying human sciences, you learn critical thinking skills that relate to family roles and nutrition and health,” she said. “These are skills people can use throughout their lives.”

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without discrimination.

— Will Hehemann is a writer/editor at the UAPB School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences.