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Hundreds of Wiregrass students attend Troy U business summit

Updated: May. 3, 2018 at 5:09 PM CDT
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Roughly 200 students from area Wiregrass schools attended the 2nd annual Youth Business Summit....
Roughly 200 students from area Wiregrass schools attended the 2nd annual Youth Business Summit. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

DOTHAN, AL (WSFA) - Students milling around Troy University's Dothan campus Thursday were a little younger. Roughly 200 students from area Wiregrass schools attended the 2nd annual Youth Business Summit.

Students spent Thursday attending business-focused workshops and business model competitions.

"Essentially, we're taking those big areas in business – accounting, finance, marketing, HR, information systems- all of those different disciplines in business and bringing them to life," said Troy University-Dothan Associate Dean of Non-Residential Students  Dr. Carmen Lewis.

The workshops were geared toward teaching students things like managing money, how to dress for the job they want, entrepreneurship. The sessions were led by local business professionals.

"We've integrated our community and business partners in this so students can get an idea of, 'Here's somebody who is a role model for me and I can look and see what they did,'" said Lewis.

Jessica Cortes is a junior at Geneva County High School and hopes to become a lawyer. During one of the sessions, she was able to ask questions of lawyers from the Wiregrass – a networking opportunity she hopes could help her later in life.

"Coming to these things, like youth summits or business trips, and going to state competitions for Future Business Leaders of America and colleges, you learn more about people. You make connections," Cortes said.

Providing students with those connections and exposure to opportunities in the business field was the goal of the summit.

"Hopefully students can use this as a catalyst to learn where their interests lie," said Lewis.

"There's so much available to students. We talk about business and they might not understand that could be a career in finance, marketing, accounting, or whatever. We're really just trying to open up the world for them and see what's available," said Geneva County School System Superintendent Becky Birdsong.

Students from her district competed and won the business model competition and will split a $1,000 scholarship to Troy.

Students say the project helped them master a business skill set better than any lecture could.

"Learning about it you could easily forget about it. If you actually experience something it means something. It sits with you and goes with you," said Geneva County High School junior Anna Sullivan.

Organizers say the summit was also an opportunity to expose students to the Troy University-Dothan campus and the educational opportunities available in the Wiregrass.

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