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Smeal's BOSS program ensures diverse students can find a place at Penn State

August 7, 2017

By JAMIE CAMPBELL
Assistant Dean for Diversity Enhancement Programs 

The Office of Diversity Enhancement Programs’ (DEP) Business Opportunities Summer Session (BOSS) concluded its 10th program this summer. We call this an annual “program” and not camp because BOSS is not a two-week excursion for restless students to come and play at University Park during their summer break.  No, this is a program to show the strength of Smeal’s academic programs to a selected group of the most talented and brightest of Smeal’s possible next generation of students.

BOSS has served as program to ensure that diverse students can find a place at Penn State, where they may have heard that there isn’t a place for them here. BOSS is designed to show students that no matter your color, creed, or socio- economic background, there is a support system at Smeal that will enable a student to reach their very best. During these two weeks students are given a crash course on what it means to be a Smeal student. BOSS engages the cohort in everything from accounting to the Smeal Honor Code. Proper etiquette, working in teams, professional dress (down to tying a tie - there is a no clip-on policy), and business writing are also additional topics covered. On the last day of the program the participants present a business that they have created using the skills that they learned during their time at BOSS.

Penn State Smeal's BOSS celebrates 10-year anniversary

Audacious for two-weeks? You bet. We expect these BOSS students to be Smeal graduates, why would we expect any less?

Industry, business colleges, and most of society in general have realized that diversity in business is a strength, an opportunity, and needs to be supported. BOSS is able to view diversity from not only ethic background stance, but also from a geographic one as well. We have been fortunate enough to have students from commonwealths as far away as Puerto Rico to right here in State College complete the program.

Good business demands the best and brightest minds to remain a profitable and sustainable environment for the decades to come. A rigorous academic environment insists that colleges continue to evolve and grow. This can only be done by cultivating a strong diverse student population. BOSS provides an avenue for Smeal to do just that. In 10 years, more than 200 students have completed the BOSS Program. Of that number, 115 have applied, and 105 have been admitted to Penn State. It is important to note Penn State, and not just Smeal, because as “We are one university, geographically dispersed,” BOSS has had students admitted to seven different campuses. Students have also been admitted into various colleges with some students receiving the prestigious Bunton-Waller Fellowship. 

BOSS does not happen without a great deal of support from the faculty and staff in Smeal. Professors in the college have been enthusiastically engaged from the start and continue to provide outstanding and quality support to the program. The college continues to demonstrate a supportive academic and family environment to the young men and women who will be the future of Smeal. BOSS has also been fortunate to have the support of other diversity experts from the other academic units at Penn State. Our corporate partners have and continue to demonstrate, not only their commitment to diversity, but their bond to the college by actively engaging these prospective students in the classroom, and giving them the opportunity to see up close what the various professions can look like on a daily basis.

Diversity Enhancement Programs is grateful to all those who have contributed to make BOSS a reality and success for the past 10 years. DEP is looking forward to the next 10 years of working with the talented faculty and staff of the Smeal College of Business and our corporate partners.

About Diversity at Smeal
The Smeal College of Business is committed to encouraging a sense of community that welcomes, celebrates, and promotes diversity among all of its members. Through a number of services and opportunities, the college works with incoming, current, and international students to enrich the academic experience and to connect them with our many corporate partners. For more information on diversity enhancement efforts at Smeal, visit www.smeal.psu.edu/diversity/. 

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