The Junior Seahawk Academy began in November, 2005 at the University of North Carolina Wilmington in the Mathematics and Statistics Department spearheaded by Dr. Denise Terry Johnson, Dr. Angelia Reid-Griffin and the late LaVerne Whitted. The team wanted to create a platform for students from underrepresented and economically deprived groups to develop an interest in STEM careers as well as develop a positive community connection with students and families in southeastern North Carolina. In September, 2007, Dr. Angelia Reid-Griffin, took on the role as program coordinator and with the support of Dr. Cathy Barlow, brought the Junior Seahawk Academy under the Watson College of Education where it continues to grow and strengthen the ties between the university and its surrounding communities.
The vision of the academy continues to expand and we have found that it has positively influenced students’ interests, attitudes, and achievements in schools. The Junior Seahawk Academy’s mission is to provide a platform for middle school aged students from economically disadvantaged and underrepresented populations to develop interests in STEM, health and education careers while participating in various fun, hands-on activities that promote learning; provide a supportive environment for youth to showcase their talents as they learn about STEM concepts and careers in health and education; aid in the implementation of literacy skill for all participants, including support for students with learning disabilities through the integration of science, mathematics and technology experiences; and to increase access of information for students, parents, and the community regarding benefits and accessibility of post-secondary education Junior Seahawk Academy allows underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students to experience a college atmosphere that stimulates an interest in higher education, novel technology, teacher education, health education and other STEM fields.