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Fletcher Technical Community College held an open house for its new Institute of Coastal Studies program recently in its college atrium at 1407 La. Highway 311 in Schriever.

The ceremony opened with remarks by Fletcher Chancellor Dr. Kristine Strickland. When she first came to Fletcher in 2016, there was a “resounding cry” for more education, training and community awareness around coastal issues facing the community, she said.

“One of the things that I’ve heard time and time again was the role that Fletcher needed to play in ensuring that we would have a workforce of tomorrow to be able to provide opportunities for us to both protect and restore our coastline,” she continued.

Next, Dr. Clint Coleman, dean of Fletcher’s Department of Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM), detailed the new programs coming to the institute, acknowledged new hires and showcased some of the state-of-the-art equipment, such as drones, students will be able to use.

Coleman introduced Jacqueline Richard, science department head and geologist, who gave an outline of the new geology program coming to Fletcher, once officially approved by the Louisiana Board of Regents.

Hamline University professors Tracy Fredin and John Shepard traveled from Minnesota to discuss their partnership with Fletcher at the ceremony. Fletcher will house a Hamline Mississippi Multimedia Gallery — a 55-inch, 4K touchscreen kiosk that displays the Mississippi River from its headquarters until its end in the Gulf of Mexico. The gallery contains high-definition video, photo galleries, maps and immersive panorama photography. Shepard showcased several videos and photos the gallery contains to the audience. 

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