91ߣƵ

Educating the Future Workforce of Underrepresented Students in International Agriculture

This grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will reduce barriers to traditionally under-recruited students and support education and training in diverse, climate-smart agricultural systems that span geographic, economic, business, cultural, linguistic, scientific arenas and disciplines, thus preparing students for the international agriculture workforce. Students have the choice to study in Brazil, Mexico or Guatemala. They will also have the opportunity to participate in several different international internships in the U.S. and overseas. 


About the Grant

The USDA and its associated agencies anticipate needing to fill thousands of jobs in the coming decade. As part of this goal, it is targeting Hispanic and other minority undergraduate and graduate students who have not been traditionally recruited or hired by the USDA.

The objective is to develop students’ international workforce knowledge and skills in the areas of Food, Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Human Sciences (FANH), with a broader objective of rewriting the narrative surrounding the USDA and the mission-critical careers available to underrepresented (URM) students in the international agricultural sector.

The grant will focus on providing financial and logistical support, experiential and project-based learning, and FANH-based knowledge to promote, retain and graduate underrepresented students, with advanced undergraduate and graduate students being the target population for participation.

The grant impacts approximately 36 students per year (26 undergraduate and 10 graduate), focuses on Latin America, and is administered by St. Mary’s University, Texas A&M – Kingsville, Texas A&M’s Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture and Development, and Texas A&M’s Center for International Business and Education (CIBE).


Program Details

This grant will provide for the administration and teaching of a COIL-based (Collaborative Online International Learning) and in-person curriculum over all three levels. It is available to students from all disciplines, but in particular those with an interest and curiosity in international agriculture and business as well as other cultures and languages. Students must be at least in their second semester of sophomore year and must be U.S. citizens or nationals to receive scholarships through the program.

Level I of the program includes the following:

  • Required virtual three-credit-hour class on International Agriculture Management. The class meets one time per week. The tuition is paid by the student.
  • The class will include cultural lectures and global consulting projects.
  • For students going to Brazil, they must take a three-credit-hour Portuguese for Spanish Speakers course. The tuition is paid by the student.
Level I details

Level II of the program includes the following:

  • For two to three weeks, students will visit either Brazil, Mexico or Guatemala.

Brazil Program

  • Two and a half weeks in Curitiba, Parana, Brazil at the Pontificia Universidade Catolica of Parana (PUC-PR).
  • Students stay in a hotel with fellow classmates and attend a three-credit-hour class.
  • Tuition is paid for by the student, but all expenses related to travel, including flight, room and board are covered.
  • Details include:
    • Analysis of ways to increase trade and logistical efficiencies in the ag sector.
    • Global cultural competency and language.
    • Lectures by professors and guest speakers, business visits and cultural visits.
    • Reflection papers and a summative case study.
    • Use of Portuguese in a variety of activities.
    • Working in teams with international students from PUC-PR.

Mexico Program

  • Two weeks in Merida, Mexico, at the Yucatan Research Consortium (SIIDETEY).
  • Students stay in international dormitories or with a local host family.
  • All expenses related to travel, including flight, room and board are covered.
  • Students will not receive course credit.
  • Spanish is not required but recommended.
  • Details include:
    • Utilization of the Scientific Method to address common agriculture and climate-related challenges – Texas and the Yucatan Peninsula.
    • Lectures on research, scientific method and development of research proposals.
    • Attending business visits and participate in cultural visits.
    • 91ߣƵing research laboratories for hands-on experience in the use of the scientific method to address a research problem.
    • Working in transdisciplinary, international teams to develop a research proposal.
    • Presenting research proposals via a poster competition at Texas A&M University.
    • Global and cultural competency reflection paper.

Guatemala Program

  • Two weeks in Guatemala City and surrounding regions at the Texas A&M’s Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture and Development and International Agriculture Education Fellowship Program (IAEFP).
  • Students stay in hotels or with a local host family.
  • All expenses related to travel, including flight, room and board are covered.
  • Students will not receive course credit.
  • Spanish is not required but recommended.
  • Details include:
    • Assisting in developing communities in establishing school-based agricultural education and youth extension programs.
    • Lectures, guest speakers and university or business visits while in Guatemala City.
    • Field-based work in local communities supporting graduate fellows.
    • Cultural visits and activities.
    • Reflection papers and a summative proposal on how to better address school-based agricultural education and youth extension programs in rural Guatemalan communities.
    • Working in international teams and with local community leaders and populations.
Level II details

Level III of the program includes the following:

  • Internship opportunities lasting from four weeks to a full year.
  • Internships may be paid or unpaid with the option of receiving up to six credit hours.
  • Possible internship areas of interest include:
    • Brazil
    • Mexico
    • Guatemala
    • Texas
    • Washington, D.C
    • USAID Foreign Agriculture Services
    • USDA Pathways
    • Texas A&M AgriLife and Research centers
    • US Commercial Services
    • International Agriculture Education Fellowship Program Guatemala
    • Other domestic or international locations
Level III details
  • Key Dates

    • Level I: Jan. to May 2024
    • Level II: May 2024
    • Level III: Summer 2024 and beyond

Partners



Faculty

St. Mary’s University

Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Texas A&M University


  • How to Apply


    Submit the online application and send an unofficial transcript to Mark Lokensgard, Ph.D., Chair of Modern Languages.

Back to top