GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - An academic career path just got better for more than 2,200 students at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.
MGCCC has formalized an agreement with Mississippi State University to allow a way for applied science and culinary students to get a full four-year degree.
The culinary program at MGCCC is tough, but a newly expanded program is about to send it to a whole new level.
“Up until now, it’s been kind of what you can do inside a restaurant,” said instructor chef Todd Reilly. “But this is growing outside of that and growing into food science, into production, into making things shelf stable.”
Reilly has been working with Mississippi State University for about two years to bring the Bachelor of Science degree program of Culinology to his school.
“They sat down and looked at our curriculum and we sat down and looked at theirs, and we figured out where we could meet in the middle and make this work. They’re taking chemistry, food chemistry,” he added. “So, there’s a lot more science and a lot more math and a lot more technical stuff involved outside of just making a sauce.”
The agreement signed on Thursday by MGCCC President Mary Graham and MSU President Mark Keenum also includes a four-year path for all 2,000 applied science students as well.
“Many of our students - although they have wonderful technical degree programs and technical skills - this now gives them the opportunity to give them additional majors, additional coursework and, in many cases, move up in management,” Graham said.
“We think this is a wonderful new pathway for students, who, before this, might not be able to continue their education without starting all the way over, going back to being a freshman," Keenum said.
Culinary student Aaliyah Brown is one of many students now considering a new academic path in the profession she loves.
“Well, a lot of times the two years - it kind of cuts it short,” she said. “But you also learn all your basics, but when you go into a four-year, it allows you to exceed those basics and to really show what your star power is.”
Both new academic pathways will begin in the fall.