Beginning Thursday, July 7, the Pamplin College of Business Office for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) will host a group of more than two dozen high school students for the inaugural Pamplin’s Inspiring Possibilities (PIP) Academy. The academy will kick off Thursday at 6 p.m. with a dinner featuring guest of honor Sherman P. Lea Sr., mayor of the City of Roanoke.

The PIP Academy is a 10-day residential program designed to introduce high school students from diverse backgrounds to the dynamic world of business and business careers. Students selected to participate in the academy will explore the seven academic disciplines within Pamplin College of Business: accounting and information systems, business information technology, finance, hospitality and tourism management, management, marketing, and real estate.

“The purpose of the PIP Academy is to enhance access and create pathways for diverse high school students to gain hands-on knowledge and experience into the many possibilities the business world has to offer,” said Janice Branch Hall, assistant dean for Pamplin College of Business DEIB.

This program also aims to prepare students for life and success as college students.”

The students will be immersed in the whole Virginia Tech campus experience. Participants will engage with Pamplin faculty, alumni, and corporate partners and interact with current Pamplin students. They will tour campus facilities and attend special sessions in professional development, admissions, financial aid, study abroad, and wellness. Academy students will also be able to explore Blacksburg and the surrounding areas, such as the City of Roanoke.

At the conclusion of the academy, the students will participate in the presentation of a team project.

According to Hall, this program is about shaping the future of business. “We are living in a pluralistic world, one that requires a diverse workforce to enhance innovation and tackle complex business matters,” Hall added. “This program serves to cultivate and inspire the next generation of diverse leaders to challenge the status quo and bring forth solutions that will address the business and social needs of the 21st century.”

The inaugural class of the PIP Academy is made up of 27 rising high school seniors, many of whom come from underrepresented and underserved communities. All students have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 out of 4.0 (or its equivalent grading scale), and all submitted a statement of interest to participate. Students in the academy have all costs of attendance covered, including room and board.

The success of the PIP academy will be indicated if the participants' interest, curiosity, and understanding of business, business careers, and college as a whole increase as a result of their academy experience, said Hall. Another long-term measure of success will be the achievement of some form of post-secondary education.

“Of course, we would love for PIP students to choose Pamplin and Virginia Tech as their destination for higher education and we hope this is a reality for many participants,” Hall added. “Our goal is to inspire students to be excellent in whatever fields they are destined for, and to make lasting contributions that positively impact their communities.”