BOWIE — Bowie State University (BSU) thanked Northeast Maglev for their contribution of $19,085 to the school to allow 13 graduate psychology students the opportunity of presenting their original research in Tokyo, Japan.
“It’s such a huge opportunity, I’m so thankful for all of the sponsors,” said BSU student Quaneesha Bey. “It’s definitely going to be life-changing. I hope to learn a lot that I can bring back to Bowie State University and to Maryland.”
Under the guidance of their teacher Dr. Darla Scott, the students spent the semester studying the factors affecting how school psychologists in the United States support culturally diverse students and their families such as implicit bias, perceived school resources, and cultural competency.
During the brief presentation, Bowie State University President Aminta Breaux spoke about what an excellent opportunity this was for the students and the school followed by speeches from Northeast Maglev Chairman and CEO Wayne Rogers, students and faculty before a presentation of airplane tickets and pictures.
“I’m just elated,” said Breaux. “I’m very happy for them to have this opportunity and I’m very thankful to Northeast Maglev for making this possible.”
After attending a hearing with the school's Board of Visitors and learning of the need for funding that the school would have had to put together on their own, Northeast Maglev offered their donation which they hope will be the first of many after forming such a partnership with the school.
“With the technology of Maglev coming from Japan and the train being right here in the community, it fits together with donating to the school,” said Maglev Chairman and CEO Wayne Rogers.
Northeast Maglev, a Maryland-based firm committed to deploying the high-speed rail service SCMAGLEV to the Northeast Corridor, made their first-time donation to the school this year to help broaden the students’ horizons and assist with such a great opportunity.
“This is a life-changing opportunity,” Rogers said. “Most of these students may not have been outside of the United States before. To present their research in Japan is more than just a trip. It is an experience of learning, seeing and traveling.”
The students will travel to Tokyo to share their findings with school psychologists from around the world at the 2018 School Psychology Association Conference from July 25-28.
“I’m really excited to be able to explore,” said Renee Hall. “I wouldn’t be able to do this on my own. I want to get lots of experience and share my culture with different countries.”
The students stayed up many nights working hard and communicated with Scott in and out of school. They conducted surveys using Survey Monkey and used the statistical database SPSS to examine their findings of how the different variables interact.
“I hope the experience will cause them to be change agents,” Scott said. “I hope it allows them to see how other cultures deal with school psychology.”
"Their journey began in their first-year research class where they wrote proposals."
They then chose projects they wanted to work on and became very invested in the topic. She helped them find and apply for different opportunities to present and they were accepted into the School Psychology Association Conference.
“Through the leadership of Dr. Darla Scott who understands that part of our mission to prepare our students for the global community she wanted the students to have not just a research opportunity but one that uses that global experience as well and deepen their learning beyond their chosen discipline of psychology,” Breaux said.
In a rapidly changing world, Breaux hopes the experience will not only open their eyes to such a diverse global community but that they will touch other students as well sharing their expertise with their peers and younger students from the surrounding middle and high schools.
The opportunity very much aligns with the schools Racing to Excellence initiative which includes academic excellence, student success and viability of the school and much of that comes from helping students understand and be prepared for a world that is diverse and not just representative of the students on their campus.
“We want them to serve as role models so other young people can realize what is possible,” Breaux said. “I expect that the impact will be very much akin to the rippling on a pond where they will touch others, and those will reach out beyond those 13 students.”
After graduating from BSU, the students have aspirations of becoming school psychologists themselves. Hall said she wants to own a practice and a nonprofit as well as give back to Bowie State and her hometown of Youngstown, Ohio.
“Once I graduate, I want to become a school psychologist in either a D.C., Maryland or New York school,” Brey said. “Then I want to eventually go back to school for my doctorate and open my own practice.”