Katlyn Dickerson, a Delta State graduate student in the Clinical and Mental Health Counseling Program, recently completed her unique community development project as one of the institution’s B.F. Smith scholars.
The highly competitive B.F. Smith graduate assistantship is awarded to a limited number of students with a proven record of undergraduate achievement. Participants demonstrate a commitment to the Delta region in pursuit of a degree related to community and economic development.
Dickerson’s project documents Cleveland businesses that offer free Wi-Fi hotspots, which have been mapped for public viewing at https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?mid=1DLajPtSZ8JmX8kDxFyDX1j1J5Ek&ll=33.74055561963571%2C-90.73450000000003&z=13.
Ideas for the project began to shape when Dickerson was an intern for the Cleveland-Bolivar Chamber of Commerce.
“Initially, my project started by surveying the student body of Delta State to understand their perceptions of Cleveland,” said Dickerson. “After receiving input from students, I came to the glaring conclusion that millennials are most effectively reached through social media and technology. After attending a meeting with Dr. Roberto Gallardo from the MSU Intelligent Community Institute, I realized that this would be a great bridge for connecting millennials with our community.”
“One of my primary tasks was to document local Wi-fi hotspots and create a Google Map to share,” she added. “We felt that by publicizing local businesses that offer free Wi-Fi, students would be more inclined to support those businesses. We are also working to establish free Wi-Fi hotspots downtown and in local parks. We hope that by creating a more tech-savvy community, students will be more inclined to stay in Cleveland.”
After meeting with Gallardo, Dickerson was convinced to pursue the Wi-Fi project.
“Today, technology has allowed people to work from anywhere,” said Dickerson. “We want to provide Cleveland residents with the tools needed to attract a contemporary workforce.”
Dickerson said the project has also motived her to be a stronger advocate for the city of Cleveland. She thanked Gallardo and Lisa Cooley, with the Chamber, for making the project a reality.
Dr. Beverly Moon, dean of Graduate & Continuing Studies and Research, is thrilled with the opportunities presented by the B.F. Smith scholars program.
“The program provides full tuition and stipends for high academic performers entering their first graduate program,” said Moon. “The students commit to working 20 hours per week under this program, on projects that benefit the Delta region in the broad field of economic development. We look for students who are intent on giving back to their communities, and who envision how their degrees and energy can be applied to help improve conditions in the Delta.”
Learn more about the program at http://www.deltastate.edu/graduate-and-continuing-studies/bfsmith.