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Experiential Learning Program At Two Hispanic Serving Institutions On Water For Agriculture, Food Safety and Childhood Obesity & Prevention

Keniry, M. E.
University of Texas - Pan American
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End date
HSI Education Grants Program Goals and ObjectivesOur program will engage students in experiential learning in research labs which study areas related to USDA goals. Our recruitment base (UTRGV) is composed of approximately 90% underrepresented students. Furthermore, our students are often financially challenged and the stipend support will go a long way to help the students complete their degrees and prepare them for careers in USDA focus areas. This program is an integral part of a larger UTRGV initiative to transform undergraduate studies to include experiential learning opportunities. Our program was one of the first experiential learning initiatives on campus with our model being adopted and expanded to have included hundreds of students in experiential learning on campus through subsequent USDA, NSF and NIH funded programs.This program will support students with Internships at USDA facilities, travel funds, materials, and supplies that will enhance their experiential learning experience. We also have incorporated a GRE preparation course that will aid the students to perform better on the GRE exam, thus enhancing their chances of entering graduate school. To gain greater visibility we will institute a USDA seminar series that will allow faculty and USDA scientists to present their work and to ignite interest in many UTRGV students outside of the core program.In this proposal we set the stage for underrepresented students to gain the necessary training and skills to be competitive in the food, agricultural, natural resources and human nutrition fields through experiential learning. We further enhance this principle by providing external 8 week summer internships at USDA facilities, where students can get experience in the operations of USDA labs which they can translate into applying for permanent jobs within the USDA. We are very fortunate to have a USDA representative on our campus, Ms. Ruby De La Garza, who is the Regional Director for South Texas from the Hispanic Serving Institutions National Program Office. She will help the students navigate the USDA Jobs website and direct them where and how to apply for USDA-related jobs. This proposal contains a continuation of our 13 year record of serving the needs of the students of the region. This program started in 2003 and over the course of 13 years has had a transformational influence on undergraduate training opportunities at UTPA (which is now part of UTRGV). With the previous grants we have helped support a high school summer internship program in cooperation with the Rio Grande Valley Science Association. Many of our undergraduate students come from the local community colleges, South Texas College (STC) and Texas State Technical College (TSTC). Finally, this proposal continues the strong collaboration that has existed between UTRGV and the Texas A&M Kingsville Citrus Center for the past 13 years. This program has USDA internships in place to ensure that all students in the program have an opportunity to obtain hands-on training experience and USDA career networking.
Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
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Natural Toxins
Viruses and Prions
Bacterial Pathogens
Chemical Contaminants
Education and Training