Dr. Guochen Yang of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Design chaperoned three students in the SAES Multicultural Scholars Program (MSP) to Washington in late August for a meeting of project directors for MSPs and USDA’s National Needs Fellows Program. Both programs provide USDA funding for scholarships that will boost multicultural diversity in the agricultural and food sciences, and natural resource management. Yang’s topic for a presentation at the meeting was “Enhancing undergraduate training of underrepresented ethnic populations in natural resources and environmental sciences”— a discussion of ways in which the training he and other members of the SAES faculty are providing MSP scholars in plant sciences and horticulture have applications for urban and community food production, biotechnology and conservation and renewable resource management.
One of the SAES’s current MSP scholars, Hannah Talton, also had an oral presentation at the meeting. Her focus was on how her “Journey as a Multicultural Scholar” has led her to extracurricular activities as a volunteer as well as introductions to research into plant propagation, tissue culture, and Integrated Pest Management (IPM). MSP scholars James Martin and Trequan McGee had poster presentations at the late-August gathering of MSP and National Needs Fellows project directors. Martin’s poster presentation included plans for research into high tunnel production and rooftop gardening that will augment urban horticulture and community gardens. McGee’s poster presentation included research, internship, leadership development and networking opportunities that have come his way — in addition to high-level classroom and laboratory experiences — through the MSP.