The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture announced $8.8 million in grants to support agricultural science education at Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). Colleges and universities in eight states and Puerto Rico will use these grants to support the future workforce need of educated and able food and agriculture sector professionals through programs that serve underrepresented students. “The Hispanic population in the United States is growing, as is interest and emphasis on research, education, and extension services in higher education across the country,” said Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA director. “Programs at Hispanic Serving Institutions that focus on climate change and variability, food safety and security, water, childhood obesity, and sustainable bioenergy create opportunities to train and educate these students, allowing them to excel in higher education and in the workforce.”
NIFA made the awards through the HSI Education Grants Program, which encourages innovative teaching or educational projects that will prepare students to enter the agricultural workforce. An education or teaching activity is formal classroom instruction, laboratory instruction, and practicum experience in the food and agricultural sciences and other related matters. Project activities include student recruitment and services, curriculum development, instructional materials and equipment, and innovative teaching methodologies.
Fiscal year 2015 grants have been awarded to:
Central Arizona College, Coolidge, Ariz., $274,692
Pima Community College, Tucson, Ariz., $274,997
Arizona Western College, Yuma, Ariz., $250,000
University of California, Riverside, Calif., $249,963
California State University, San Bernardino, Calif., $500,000
Florida International University, Miami, Fla., $250,000
Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, Ill., $275,000
University of Illinois, Chicago, Ill., $275,000
New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, N.M., $500,000
Eastern New Mexico University, Portales, N.M., $249,980
The City College of the City University of New York, New York, N.Y., $274,996
Universidad del Turabo, Gurabo, Puerto Rico, $275,000
University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, $274,435
St. Edward’s University, Austin, Texas, $275,000
Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi, Texas, $52,344
University of Texas, Edinburg, Texas, $250,000
University of Texas, Edinburg, Texas, $500,000
University of Texas, El Paso, Texas, $500,000
University of Houston, Houston, Texas, $248,116
University of Houston, Houston, Texas, $250,000
University of Incarnate Word, San Antonio, Texas, $249,997
University of Texas, San Antonio, Texas, $250,000
Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas, $250,000
Texas Lutheran University, Seguin, Texas, $274,790
Heritage University, Toppenish, Wash., $270,000
The grants include a project from St. Edward’s University that aims to establish the “Agriculture-STEM Pipeline” project across high schools and 2- and 4-year college levels in order to recruit and retain underrepresented students and facilitate their progression into a career that addresses climate variability and change. Another project from Heritage University focuses on improving the long-term outlook for agriculture in South-Central Washington through enhanced education of students from middle school through college by creating partnerships with the region’s Hispanic Serving Institutions. It will pay particular attention to the better use of scarce water sources in agricultural production.
More information about FY2015 grantees can be found here.
Currently, more than 400 HSIs are dedicated to meeting the educational needs of the Hispanic community. These institutions are located in 17 states and Puerto Rico, serving more than 2 million students in areas with the largest growing Hispanic communities in the country.
NIFA invests in and advances agricultural research, education, and extension and seeks to make transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges. To learn more about NIFA’s impact on agricultural science, visit nifa.usda.gov/impacts or follow us on Twitter @usda_nifa(link is external), #NIFAimpacts(link is external).
You can also listen to Dr. Edward W. Romero speak on the state of Latinos/Hispanics in agriculture at our podcast series