Alumni Use Decades of Industry Experience to Teach Younger Generations
Two Prairie View A&M University alumni are making an impact in PVAMU’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Horace St. Julian (’71) and Vewiser “VJ” Turner (’80) are instructors who came out of retirement to teach. St. Julian has over four decades of experience from working at companies like AT&T, IBM, Cooper Industries, and Raytheon. Prior to his time in corporate America, St. Julian taught classes at PVAMU.
“Saint actually taught me a class in electrical engineering when I was a student at PV,” said Turner. “He also taught Dr. Kelvin Kirby, who serves as a department head now, Roy G. Perry, the college’s namesake, and Annette Moore, who is the chief information officer at Johnson Space Center. They were a few years ahead of me, but it was a magical time and a great collection of students. There were also many others who all went on to be very successful professionals.”
After graduating from Prairie View, Turner worked at ExxonMobil for 35 years before retiring at an executive level. Like St. Julian, he knew he had to come back to “The Hill” to share his skillsets in engineering and corporate professionalism to help future generations.
“I bring back real-world examples of how our classroom topics are being used in industry,” said Turner. “Plus, as alumni, it’s even more critical that we give back. We all have some knowledge, some lessons learned, and experiences that could be very helpful to our students. If we all stopped for just a little bit to help build some bridges, it would help those students coming behind us to be more prepared once they graduate.”
“Teaching is probably the most rewarding career of all time,” said St. Julian. “Having students enter my classroom and exit at the end of the semester at a higher level is exciting. The icing on the cake is knowing that I am teaching fellow Panthers. It doesn’t get any better than that.”
-This story by Marchita Shilo originally appeared in Academic Insights.