by Web on January 14, 2015
Millsaps College geology major Jeremi Simmons is getting a firsthand look this semester at the day-to-day operations of the environmental health and safety division of Ergon, Inc. thanks to a newly established co-op experience between Millsaps and Ergon. “It’s such a well respected company,” Simmons said. “I’m grateful for the opportunity. It will be hands-on, real life experience. It’s one thing to learn something in class but another to be in the field and apply what you’ve learned.”Simmons’ co-op experience will include three semesters of work that will alternate with a semester of classes on campus until he graduates in December 2016. He will be paid for 40 hours of work each week while he co-ops at Ergon.
A 2009 graduate of Brandon High School, Simmons attended Holmes Community College in Ridgeland for a year and worked at Hyatt Place Jackson and then on an oil rig in Gluckstadt. “All of the people I worked with told me, ‘If you have a chance to go back to school you need to go back,’” he said.
He took their advice to heart and attended East Mississippi Community College in Mayhew. After completing two and a half years there, he had planned to attend a large state university but changed his mind after his mentor, Milton Sundbeck, owner of Southern Ionics Inc. in West Point, Mississippi told him that “Millsaps has the most respected geology program in Mississippi.”
Simmons met with Stephen Smith, the Millsaps College admissions counselor who works with transfer students, and Dr. Stan Galicki, associate professor of geology at Millsaps, and was impressed by their willingness to assist him even before he was enrolled as a student.
“I’ve always been intrigued by the oil industry, I’ve always loved being outside, and I don’t want to work in an office all day,” he said. “I’ve had a rock collection since I was a kid. I have experience working around drilling rigs, and this co-op will take me to the downstream end of the petroleum industry and provide me with insight into plant operations and what happens to crude oil in the refinery.”
Simmons credits Galicki; Dr. Keith Dunn, senior vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College; Janet Langley, director of academic support services; and Tonya Nations, director of the Millsaps Center for Career Education, with providing assistance to secure the co-op. “Dr. Galicki went out of his way to help this become a reality,” he said.
Galicki said the co-op experience will pay off with a firsthand look at the day-to-day operations of the workplace and provide networking opportunities.
“I can’t help but think that the co-op will favorably shape the balance of his education. There is no substitute for knowledge gained through on-the-job training.”