ORANGEBURG, S.C. (WIS) - On Wednesday morning, Allen Taste took some notes from his college professor.
Pretty soon, Taste, a senior at Claflin University, will be the one standing in front of the classroom.
"Maybe I can be that person who I needed when I was younger,” Taste said, “for somebody else."
Taste wants to be a middle school teacher when he graduates. He is a part of the Call Me MISTER program at Claflin University. Taste said he learned about the program in high school.
"Being surrounded by a group of people with the same passion, same mindset as you was definitely something I needed considering where I came from," Taste said.
The Call Me MISTER program started at Clemson University in 2000 and expanded to other universities and colleges in the state. The program recruits minority males to become teachers in South Carolina.
Dr. Anthony Broughton, an assistant professor and site coordinator for the Call Me MISTER program at Claflin University, said minority male teachers can make an impact in the classroom.
"It is essential that we connect to the realities of children's lives and we make learning meaningful and relevant to them. So, they can connect and apply the concepts to their lives," he said.
Claflin University is also taking part in the Project Pipeline Repair program. They're the only school in South Carolina offering the program. The goal is to create a highly qualified pool of minority male teachers to meet the needs of racially diverse classrooms.
Demeturia Kelly is an educational technologist at Claflin University. He said the Project Pipeline Repair program recruits students in high school to get them interested in becoming an educator. The program is also attempting to change the mindset surrounding male teachers.
"People always see us as disciplinarians,” Kelly said. “We need to have minority male teachers that can bring a different perspective to what's being done in the classroom."
Taste said he can't wait to begin inspiring the next generation of teachers.
“Having that role model is definitely what we need,” he said.