For 55 students from throughout the Ark-La-Miss who have been selected to participate in the inaugural ULM President's Academy, the summer of 2012 will serve as a step towards careers in three scientific fields.
"One was health sciences, one was computer sciences, and the other is chemistry or toxicology," said Dr. Eric Pani, VP of Academic Affairs at ULM.
Under the watchful eye of ULM professors and local business professionals, students will receive lessons in problem solving and teamwork, working together to identify diseases and develop a plan to serve patients.
On top of that, they'll learn the soft skills needed to get a job.
"That includes how to be successful in a career. It includes their manners, their attire, how they seek a job, how they present themselves," Dr. Pani told NBC 10 News.
The academy will serve as an opportunity for companies like Centurylink and Dow Chemical to recruit future employees, And for ULM to bring in the most gifted of students.
"Part of the reason we're doing this is to provide a pipeline for students to get employed at Centurylink and other industries in the region."
After five days of activities, organizers hope students leave excited to learn with a greater appreciation for higher education and interest in attending a university that administration say is a gem on the Louisiana bayou.