Chat with us! Chat
Black Belt Scholars Enrichment Camp hosted at Stillman College

Black Belt Scholars Enrichment Camp hosted at Stillman College

West AlabamaWorks! has partnered with Hale County, and Stillman College Tuesday July 12th, to bring TransfrVR headsets and Virtual WOW to over 190 students enrolled at Hale, Sumter, and Greene County Schools.

The Black Belt Scholars Summer STEM Camp started as a pilot program in 2021, sponsored by State Senator Bobby Singleton, to engage students in intensive Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math including financial literacy and entrepreneurship over the course of three weeks. 

The week-long inaugural Black Belt Scholars Camp is back for a second year with an added focus on Career opportunities through Dual Enrollment placement in community colleges. Under the direction of both, Dr. Charles C. Woods and Woods Promise, Inc., and Ms. Marshae Madison, founder of Glow Up Leadership Academy, middle and high school students in Hale, Greene, Sumter, and Tuscaloosa Counties can participate in the camp at no cost. The pilot program was such a success that the organizers are in the process of forming a tax-exempt non-profit entity, Alabama Blackbelt Scholars, Inc., to ensure this program and others like it can continue to serve students across the Black Belt region. 

“The jobs of the future are in STEM and innovation. As a public servant, I feel a responsibility to make sure the next generation of Black Belt leaders have the tools they need to thrive in these areas,” said Sen. Singleton. “Although we launched the three-week program, the long-term vision is for this to be an annual six-week summer program open to 300 Black Belt students across five counties.”

In addition to a rigorous curriculum, student participants will engage in field trips to various colleges including Wallace Community College of Selma, Alabama, Shelton State Community Colleges, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University Tallahassee, Florida. Additionally, a trip is planned to NASA, Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL. 

These types of experiences are critically important to student development, especially to those students who are attending from traditionally underserved school systems.

“Everyone involved in the development of this program has been inspired by the children’s excitement and enthusiasm for learning. Some of our students have had some tough breaks in life and this opportunity to travel and develop relationships with new friends and mentors can mark a real turning point in their trajectory,” explained Sen. Singleton.

“To that end, the willingness of corporate, nonprofit, and education leaders to engage with this initiative in a meaningful way is critical to our ability to scale the program and reach more students each year.”

The Camp is being held in the Wynne Center on Stillman's campus through Thursday. West AlabamaWorks! will bring its virtual platform of Virtual WOW, the immersive game-like experience will feature different “worlds” that highlight the major industry sectors in West Alabama: agriculture, construction, education, energy/utilities, engineering/environment, healthcare, hospitality/tourism, manufacturing/logistics, public safety, and transportation. As well as TransfrVR, a hands-on learning and gaming system that will introduce students to careers in high demand. Through the simulations, students receive a hands-on, real-world view of a variety of workplace settings in industries ranging from manufacturing, architecture and construction, transportation and logistics to hospitality and tourism.

For more information about how to support the Alabama Blackbelt Scholars, Inc. initiative, please contact Terri Reynolds at