Staff profiles: Carmellia Davis-King
Navigating college without resources or guidance can sometimes be an emotional and traumatic experience, Carmellia Davis-King said. Her own undergraduate experience was like that. But for students in MSU's College of Engineering, Davis-King wants to make sure that it doesn't happen under her watch.
"We try and bring all the resources that our students will need – mentorship, connecting them to the curriculum, and helping them to see what they need to be accepted to the college itself," Davis-King said.
Davis-King is the co-curricular director of the Engineering Residential Experience in the College of Engineering. She connects what first-year engineering students learn in the classroom to interactive learning experiences. ERE students living in Wilson Hall have access to tutoring, mentoring, engineering themed presentations, conversations with executives and practitioners, student success seminars, academic advising and more.
"If we have a first-year student who is taking a physics course, if they're taking a statics course, what I want to do is expose them to tension and forces," she said. "So I work with our sponsors to bring programs that will touch on key aspects of what they're doing."
The current sponsors of the Engineering Residential Experience are General Electric and Consumers Energy. Representatives from the companies serve as role models by speaking to students about what their jobs are and helping provide a glimpse into what a student’s future could look like if they chose to work at those companies.
Much of the programming is organized around issues that the National Academy of Engineering has outlined as "the Grand Challenges of the 21st century," which includes transportation, sustainability and energy.
"We brought GE here to talk more about the profession, to talk about what exactly you would do as an engineer when it comes to transportation. Consumers Energy is here to talk to us more about energy," she said.
Davis-King also organizes field trips to help students become more engaged in the engineering profession. She has organized structural tours of old and new buildings in Chicago, as well as visits to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit to talk to professionals there.
The programming helps foster an engineering identity in the students, and the advising and other support provided through the ERE program helps let students know that others truly care about their success.
"We take a huge campus and make it into a small campus experience," Davis-King said. "I find it rewarding when you hear a parent say, 'Well, I sent you my son two years ago, and now here comes my daughter.' They really want their students to be a part of this environment."