A class of 15 students in the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Associates program administered by Hinds Community College will be recognized in an achievement ceremony March 17 at Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport.

Organizers with the agency’s Office of Training & Development, Hinds officials and others will gather at 11:15 a.m. at the airport’s Community Room, Mezzanine Level. Media representatives are invited and are requested to rsvp at cchayden@hindscc.edu or danny.barrett@hindscc.edu by Wednesday, March 16.

The nine-credit program is part of an effort at community colleges nationwide, along with 240 partnering airports, to allow the agency’s workers to expand their education and develop their careers in Homeland Security. Mississippi’s program is the first to pilot a hybrid class of classroom and online students.

“I congratulate the officers that took advantage of the tremendous opportunity TSA provided to help develop their knowledge in Homeland Security. Their determination and willingness to complete the higher education courses is a testament to their vigilance to keep the traveling public safe,” said David Wynn, TSA Federal Security Director for Mississippi.

Partnering airports in Mississippi include Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport (JAN), Gulfport-Biloxi International (GPT), Golden Triangle Regional (GTR), Meridian Regional (MEI) and Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional (PIB). Honorees have completed three classes over three semesters at Hinds to earn the Certificate of Achievement.

“At Hinds Community College, we are committed to providing high quality educational opportunities and outstanding customer service,” said Sherry Franklin, associate vice president for Career and Technical Education. “Through our partnership with TSA, we were able to customize a special blend of course offerings to meet the needs of their employees. We are extremely proud of our students who have completed the program and looking forward to a continued partnership with TSA.”

Most program participants are Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) or staff, including those to be honored at JAN.

“I am most proud that I am inspiring my children, and being a role model for them. I am setting the expectation for them to go to college like Mommy,” said TSO Antoinette Path, of Pearl, a classroom student in the program and mother of two.

TSO Bryan Stringer, of Jackson, has a daughter who is a freshman at Hinds and plans to use the credits he earned in the program to pursue a degree from Hinds in Aviation Technology-Cyber Security, then continue that area of study at Jackson State or Mississippi State. Last semester, Stringer wrote a book review and gave an oral presentation on the “The U.S. Coast Guard’s War on Human Smuggling.”

“It made an impression on me,’ Stringer said. “It presented a perspective that you don’t often hear, one from those who enforce policy, like the U.S. Coast Guard. And it gave a picture of the many faces of victims,” said Stringer.

TSO Robert Weis, of Gulfport, is an honoree speaker for the ceremony and an online student in the program. He’s built a resume’ already, having supported security for the last presidential inauguration and visits by the Pope last year to the United States.

“I would like to improve my education and maybe move into the field of Cyber Security,” said Weis.

Classroom courses in the program were taught at Hinds’ Rankin Campus and include Introduction to Homeland Security, Intelligence Analysis and Security Management, and Transportation and Border Security. The nine credits earned in the program can be used toward an associate degree.

For more information on the TSA Associates program, contact Aviation Technology on the Rankin Campus, at 601.936.5575.

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