A Head Start for Alabama Students

minority students

For many talented first-generation and minority high school students here in Alabama, successfully attending college is not always a given. Sometimes it’s due to a lack of monetary resources, other times it’s because the student has not received the encouragement and emotional support needed to make a successful go at navigating college itself.

Thanks to a gift from Protective Life Corporation in Birmingham, a new initiative at The University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Business aims to address that issue head on for those students. Unique to the college, the Diversity in Business Bridge Program will help them get a head start on finding their potential path to a business college experience.

Representing The Underrepresented

The program will recruit and prepare about 25 high school juniors annually from underrepresented populations in Alabama for academic success across all business disciplines at UA via a summer residential experience and a robust college prep protocol. Students who decide to attend UA will be invited back for a second summer that will focus on easing the transition to college and getting off to a strong start. Furthermore, scholarships, financial assistance and ongoing development support and opportunities will be available for participants who choose to study business at UA. Rising seniors in high school throughout Alabama are encouraged to apply to the program, especially those from historically marginalized groups who are underrepresented in business (i.e., African American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American), who are interested in learning about a career in business.

The Diversity in Business Bridge Program

This comprehensive program is overseen by Dr. James King Jr., Culverhouse associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion, professor of management and the Minnie Caddell Miles-Frank A. Rose Memorial Endowed C&BA Professorship of Leadership. “Our holistic approach is designed to help students, who have been identified as having great potential to succeed in college and contribute to our state and society, overcome obstacles and become their best selves,” King said. “Our expectation with this new initiative is that those students who participate will be better prepared for college life and learning.” The Diversity in Business Bridge Program will feature content that includes professional development, an introduction to business areas such as accounting, finance and marketing that track closely with Culverhouse’s degree offerings, and competency-building instruction in the areas of ethics and social responsibility, critical thinking, college skills, and diversity, equity and inclusion. “When we talk about making Culverhouse an inclusive and welcoming environment that prepares students to become innovators and leaders in business, we do so knowing that we have a team that helps make it so, a team that includes our faculty, staff, and community and corporate partners,” said Dr. Kay Palan, Culverhouse dean.

More information about the Diversity in Business Bridge Program, including how to apply, is available on its website at

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