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Dillard University's Educational Talent Search

Dillard University's Educational Talent Search Interview
Author: Lauren R.D. Fox, Communications Specialist 

Photographer: Sabree Hill, University Photographer 

Dillard University’s Educational Talent Search is celebrating 51 years of servicing New Orleans students. 

Educational Talent Search (ETS)  is a federally funded, national TRiO program that is committed to prepare and motivate first generation junior high and high school students for success in postsecondary education. Since 1968, Dillard University’s ETS has exposed students to the performing arts, helped them to gain etiquette skills and receive an equitable education. In an interview with the Office of Communications and Marketing, former ETS liaison Christopher Stewart and high school guidance counselor Carmen Stewart- Davis share why the program is still important in 2019. 

Christopher Stewart, Dillard University’s Associate Director of Recruitment, Admissions and Programming

Dillard University (DU):In what capacity did you work for ETS? 

Christopher Stewart (CS):I worked with the Educational Talent Search program, as well as Upward Bound, not as an employee but as a liaison between their program and the office of admissions. Over the course of the last 11 years I have assisted in various capacities ranging from following the ETS staff to their respective high schools to do admissions presentations, participating in panels hosted by ETS to help guide students to college. I’ve also hosted college readiness seminars for the ETS students, financial aid and scholarships workshops.

DU:You're currently the Associate Director of Recruitment, Admissions and Programming; how has ETS helped you in your career? 

CS:ETS has helped me in my career because it has given me the opportunity to continuously work with a demographic of students that I am passionate about and who I want to see succeed. By working with ETS [I’ve been] able to directly recruit their students to Dillard University and it has helped Enrollment Management meets its respective goals.

DU:Why should more middle/high school students apply for the ETS program?

CS:More students from New Orleans should participate in the ETS program because it is designed specifically for them. This program not only get these students into college, but it helps get them throughout their college career with other support programs offered by TRiO. Of all of the ETS students that I know have been successful in their collegiate journeys and that is due to the ETS staff at Dillard University. Many of them have been parents, confidants and great supporters of the students they work with.

Camren Stewart-Davis, L.W. Higgins High School’s Guidance Counselor 

DU: How have you recruited students for the Educational Talent Search program? 

Carmen Stewart-Davis (CSD): I have recruited students for the Educational Talent Search program by explaining to them the functionality of the program, its goals and how they can benefit from being a part of the program.

DU:How has the ETS program benefited your students? 

CSD: Students have benefited from the ETS program by having access to ACT remediation, tutorial programs, college tours and college admissions assistance with the  FAFSA form and completion of college admissions applications.

DU:How have your students grown since participating in the program?

CSD:Students have grown  by realizing that they have access to post secondary education  and college is not just for "other" students. They have [also] learned that the process is not an arduous one.

DU:Why should parents send their children to ETS? 

CSD:Parents should send their children to ETS because there are people in place to assist them with the process of getting through  high school and college. [I’ve observed] parents who went to college may [not have the knowledge] to assist and certainly those who have not attended a post secondary institution struggle with the process and consequently discourage their children from attending as well. [ETS helps overcome all of these barriers]. 

For more information about Educational Talent Search, please contact Dr. Kevin Bastian (

These interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity. 

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