Terrance West (Student)

Terrance West

"It's almost like discovering a new country. I never thought I would make it this far."

Terrance West is the first in his family to pursue higher education. Studying electrical and computer engineering, he again is charting new territory.

A second-year doctoral.student, he began exploring the possibilities of higher education while living in his hometown of Meridian.

"It was the summer before my senior year in high school, when I had an opportunity to take two classes through the Bagley College of Engineering's 'Summer Bridge' program," said West. "The experience introduced me to college life and to professors who would become my mentors."

Thanks to the college's "Increasing Minority Access to Graduate Education" program and encouragement from adviser Dr. Lori Bruce, West overcame the stumbling blocks that sometimes confront African-American young men.

"I lacked confidence in my ability. Plus, I didn't see many black role models working on that level. Dr. Bruce said, 'Well, Terrance, work with me and you'll see.'"

Currently, West is focusing on research for the Department of Homeland Security especially as it relates to food supply. He will graduate in 2009.