USDA grant to enhance student awareness of global ag opportunity

Texas State University

Texas State University has been awarded a $300,00 grant by the United States Department of Agriculture for the development of leadership and global competency of minority students.

In addition to instilling a broader understanding of international opportunities in the agricultural industry, the innovative program will also work to improve recruitment and retention of minority students in the undergraduate and graduate programs, focusing on those students already enrolled in the Department of Agriculture at Texas State.

“We’re trying to be innovative and bring an international dimension to our program. There are so many opportunities here and abroad,” said Madan Dey, chair of the Department of Agriculture and the principal investigator of the project. “There are tremendous opportunities in agriculture if you have a global understanding, but so many minority students lack that global understanding. We are trying trying to provide them the opportunity in that area.”

The initiative will provide global agriculture leadership training for participating students. The Department of Agriculture will bring in international experts for three weeks of lectures and working with the students. A study abroad component will take 10 students to Asia, where they will visit the International Rice Research Institutes in the Philippines and various national and international agricultural institutes in Bangladesh to learn first-hand about cutting-edge agricultural research and development activities. Another group of 10 students will be placed in internships across the U.S.

“Teaching students soft skills, social skills, that are necessary for agricultural jobs is a big part of this,” Dey said. “It’s not only the technical skills that they need.

“The goal is to increase awareness of global agricultural opportunities,” he said. “We expect this to improve the image of Texas State globally as an agricultural educator.”

            About Texas State University

Founded in 1899, Texas State University is among the largest universities in Texas with an enrollment of 38,694 students on campuses in San Marcos and Round Rock. Texas State’s 188,000-plus alumni are a powerful force in serving the economic workforce needs of Texas and throughout the world. Designated an Emerging Research University by the State of Texas, Texas State is classified under “Doctoral Universities: Higher Research Activity,” the second-highest designation for research institutions under the Carnegie classification system.