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Education

Selected Results and Impacts

The following represents results and impacts for the Hispanic-Serving Institutions Educational Grant Program from activities that occurred from January 2003 through June 2005.

California State University - Fresno

California State University-Fresno is improving the instructional capability of its interdisciplinary dairy science and technology program. It is also maximizing student learning by integrating theory with experimentation and application. It has updated its 50-year-old equipment for pasteurization and homogenization of milk and milk products. Former equipment was manually operated and required constant attention, while the new equipment is computerized with touch pads requiring minimum attention once the process has been initiated. Also, the noise level at the laboratory has been significantly reduced, making the plant safer and allowing for clearer communication. Previously, students and instructors had to leave the processing room to communicate because of the excessively high noise levels. Neighboring industries have contacted the dairy department to conduct workshops using the automated equipment. The grant allows the department to synthesize the learning experience to include both technology and conceptual design.

California State University - Monterey Bay

California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) and Hartnell Community College, also in California, have partnered in a long-term commitment to design and initiated a seamless four-year agribusiness management degree program; final approval is expected by the end of the year. Students may pursue either an agricultural sciences or a business administration career path at Hartnell or another community college and then go on to earn a baccalaureate degree in business administration with a concentration in agribusiness management. The project has built relationships with key community stakeholders (including representatives of industry, labor, government, and the general public) for the design and approval of the curriculum on this program. Local industries have agreed to support internships and other hands-on work experiences, a central part of the curriculum. Recruitment of students for the program has begun.

CSUMB is also partnering with Hartnell College to provide student/parent field-based agriculture and watershed workshops and curriculum, hold a student/parent University Science Day, and provide tutoring/mentoring to underrepresented students from local area high schools. Collaboration between these two institutions is expected to result in a coordinated transfer system between Hartnell and CSUMB and a support mechanism that assures successful transitions between institutions. Finally, students from CSUMB, Hartnell, and other collaborating community colleges will enjoy internship opportunities at local and regional agriculture and watershed agencies and organizations. Fourteen underrepresented students have been placed in community-based agriculture and watershed-related internships this year. More than 30 students will be placed in similar internships during the upcoming year. The project has emphasized connecting these students to their internship sites and to their academic paths through increased mentoring and academic advising. As a result, these students are: 1) improving their academic skills to successfully complete a four-year university program, 2) interested in pursuing careers in similar fields as their internship, and 3) interested in continuing their education at the graduate school level.

California State University - San Bernardino

California State University at San Bernardino is addressing the shortage of environmental health professionals entering into the work force by recruitment and retention of bilingual pre-professionals in environmental health science. The project supports paid internships, tuition, and science supplemental education for deserving students.

Coastal Bend Community College

Coastal Bend Community College in Texas has expanded and strengthened its agricultural curriculum to increase student recruitment and retention. It also has been providing scholarship and internship opportunities, offering dual-credit courses at rural high schools via videoconferencing, and recruiting at high schools and agriculture-related organizations. Through the grant, this community college has provided release time for faculty to recruit and mentor students and to write curriculum. It also has increased the number of articulation agreements with area universities and conducted career workshops.

Columbia Basin College

A community college in the state of Washington, Columbia Basin College (CBC), has targeted high school seniors and college freshmen wishing to pursue a four-year degree in agricultural sciences. The students will earn an associate degree at CBC and transfer to Washington State University for the completion of a bachelor's of science in agriculture. The program has successfully established an educational relationship with CBC's math and science faculty, WSU academic advisor for the agricultural sciences careers, and the WSU faculty in the entomology department. Students have developed a better understanding of the curriculum, expectations, and requirements for careers in agriculture and related fields.

Glendale Community College

Glendale Community College in California , a two-year institution, has amended three of its certificate programs to allow a seamless transfer of students to four-year food and nutrition programs. It also has created a new two-year degree and articulated courses with a four-year institution to coordinate student transfer. Fifteen of the 25 students to be funded by the grant have been recruited.

Long Beach City College

Long Beach City College in California has installed equipment and developed curriculum to teach the skills needed for success in the horticulture industry. It has familiarized students with equipment that is up to industry standards while providing innovative instruction using computers and a variety of learning tools. Most important, the project provides educational and career options for students and ultimately leads them toward transfer to a four-year university.

New Mexico State University

A project at New Mexico State University has provided opportunities for underrepresented students to increase their technology skills, develop long-term integration of technology in the classroom, progress toward the use of electronic portfolios (e-portfolios), and apply innovative technology in the classroom. Faculty, staff, and students within the college of agricultural sciences have benefited from technology awareness workshops.

South Mountain Community College

A two-year institution in Arizona , South Mountain Community College (SMCC), has expanded student opportunities in biosciences careers. It has developed a comprehensive biotechnology curriculum and the laboratory facilities necessary to promote student success in biosciences in the context of a high-school-to-college transfer and another transfer to either university or the employment pipeline. The project has focused on establishing a highly interactive comprehensive learning environment that includes experiential learning and internships. As a result of enrollment growth in biosciences (from 53 to 230 students), South Mountain Community College is adding one fulltime biology faculty in 2005 (increasing the number of biology faculty from three to four), one fulltime chemistry faculty in 2005 (increasing the number of chemistry faculty from one to two), and one environmental science faculty in 2005 (the first faculty for a new interdisciplinary program starting at this institution). High school and college students have produced 15 research projects. In addition, the bioscience students have delivered both local and regional oral presentations of their work. Northern Arizona University (NAU) and SMCC are forming a 2+2+2 partnership to increase the number of Hispanic and other minority students enrolling in NAU's environmental science program to earn Baccalaureate of Science and advanced degrees. The NAU/SMCC partnership was precipitated by support from USDA /NIFA and by SMCC Bioscience successes that resulted from USDA grant funds.

St. Augustine Community College

St. Augustine Community College in Illinois has improved the facilities of its culinary laboratory to meet industry standards and developed a rigorous internship that places students in the industry. Scholarships have been used successfully as recruitment and retention tools.

Sul Ross State University and Texas A&M University

The Department of Natural Resource Management at Sul Ross State University (SRSU) in Texas has partnered with the Institute of Renewable Natural Resources at Texas A&M University to develop a cooperative doctoral program in natural resources; facilitate educational exchange via shared courses, conferences, and meetings using “smart” class/conference rooms; initiate a team-taught summer course to promote cultural exchange and awareness between students and faculty at SRSU and TAMU; enhance experiential learning opportunities for minorities through internships; and strengthen linkages with other HSIs with agriculture programs. These two institutions have formalized the cooperative doctoral program by forming an advisory board, reciprocating adjunct faculty status for cooperating faculty at partnering universities, and formalizing a memorandum of agreement for the cooperative doctoral degree. Each graduate student in the program is mentored (co-chaired) by faculty at both institutions. Additionally, the program has two outstanding doctoral students an additional four master's students who are being groomed for the program, and has identified four baccalaureate students to be recruited; they have already been hired as interns.

Texas A&M University - Kingsville

Texas A&M University in Kingsville (TAMUK) is enjoying 100 percent retention on a project that teaches and mentors south Texas students who commonly would have lacked the opportunity to improve their skills to compete in a science-oriented job market. Fourteen undergraduate students and four graduate students would receive two-year research assistantships and trained in a hands-on laboratory that incorporates the most recent advances in several areas of agricultural research. Students have gained experience through individual research projects under the supervision of TAMUK faculty mentors. They have been presented the opportunity to solve complex problems applicable to real-world needs, consequently increasing their vision regarding career choice, life direction, and achieving their professional goals. Participant students recently won first, second, and third place in regional animal science research competition.

Trinidad Community College

Trinidad Community College in Colorado is creating career pathways and innovative training in aquaculture for underrepresented students in its aquaculture technician program. In collaboration with the Colorado Division of Wildlife and local aquatic resources owners, more than 16 students have been placed in internships that will lead to technical positions with jobs starting at $30,000 with an associate degree.

Universidad Del Turabo

Universidad del Turabo in Puerto Rico is strengthening recruitment and retention of underrepresented students in their baccalaureate nutrition/dietetics degree while providing them the necessary skills to overcome obstacles during college. Twenty-six students, 65% of the total projected, have been recruited during the first six months of the project. Parent and student focus groups were held to validate perceived needs. A Saturday Academy Enrichment Program has been started, two nutrition courses have been developed, and the mentoring system has been established.

University of Puerto Rico

This project is a collaboration among three departments at the University of Puerto Rico: Food Science and Technology, Agronomy and Soils, and Chemistry. The goal is to create a state-of-the-art instrumentation liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry laboratory which can be used for teaching and research. Acquired equipment has enhanced the educational experiences and allowed faculty and students to pursue advanced research problems, respond to the specific needs of government and industry, and expanded the analytical and educational capabilities. The project has enhanced the institution's ability to serve as a strong partner in multi-institutional research programs and to compete for funds designated for undergraduate and graduate programs in food, soils, and environmental sciences.

Ventura College and Allan Hancock College

Two institutions in California, Ventura College in collaboration with Allan Hancock College, are training and supporting underrepresented students in integrated sensor technologies, Global Information System/Global Positioning System (GIS/GPS) and data management to assist farmers in using precision agriculture techniques during farm operation to increase yields and decrease or hold costs steady. This project is training agricultural supervisors to master data collection, data analysis, decision making, and variable application of treatments using GIS/GPS.

West Hills Community College

A two-year institution in California , West Hills Community College has assembled resources to increase participation and retention of Hispanic and other underrepresented students in the agricultural science instructional programs. This project has attracted the support and participation of 14 faculty and administrators who will implement the new program in the fall of 2005. Students will begin studies in all of the Learning Communities courses at that time. The program has already begun to disseminate information about the new approach to ag science instruction through regional consortia.

 

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