SU students make a statement at Ag career fair competition


Southern University participants in the Ag STARS (Shaping Tomorrow's Agricultural Research Scientists) Mentoring Program received first- and second-place awards in undergraduate oral research competitions at the Minorities in Agriculture Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) 30th Annual Career Fair and Training Conference held recently in Houston.

For the 2014-2015 academic year, undergraduate participants developed research papers as teams. Two of the teams made oral presentations. A third team made a poster presentation at the Sustainability Conference held on the Baton Rouge campus in April.

At the MANRRS Conference, participants made presentations in the Undergraduate Oral Research Division II (Education, Social Sciences, and Business) and in the Graduate Oral Research Division I (Biological, Chemical, and Physical Sciences). Team 1 was comprised of Perez Pickney, Donzel Lee, and Megan Thomas. Their first-place paper was titled, "An Economic Analysis of U.S. Consumption of Broccoli, Carrots, and Tomatoes."

Team 2 received the second-place award for its paper titled, "An Exploratory Study of Undergraduate Students' Consumption Patterns and Nutritional Knowledge." The paper was co-authored by Megan Thomas, Brandi Suel, and Melanie Williams.

DeLarian Dyson, a graduate student in Urban Forestry, received a certificate of participation for his paper titled, "A Comparative Study on Physiological Response of Three Oak Species to Elevated CO2 and Flooding."

Team 3 consisted of Aramis Harris, Jerome Wilson, and Jeremy Thomas. They presented a poster titled, "An Economic Examination of Factors Influencing U.S. Demand for Apples, Oranges, and Watermelons from 1970-2013" at the Sustainability Conference and received a certificate of participation.

The 2015 MANRRS Career Fair was also a resounding success for Ag STARS participants. All three of the May 2015 graduates received job offers from contacts they made at the MANRRS Conference. Three other participants accepted internships for summer.

Funding for the Ag STARS Mentoring Program ends on August 31, 2015. The program was funded under the U.S. Department of Agriculture-National Institute for Food and Agriculture's Capacity Building Grant Program. The project is titled: "Global Food and Agricultural Challenges: Strategies for Recruiting and Training Students in the Food and Agricultural Sciences."

Dr. Patricia McLean-Meyinsse is the principal investigator for the project, and was also the faculty advisor for the participants' research projects.


Pictured, from left, Aramis Harris, Senior, Agricultural Economics; Jeremy Thomas, Senior, Agricultural Economics; Jerome Wilson, Senior, Agricultural Economics; Brandi Suel, Junior, Agricultural Economics; DeLarian Dyson, Senior, Urban Forestry; Melanie Williams, Junior, Agricultural Economics, Donzel Lee, Senior, Plant and Soil Sciences; Megan Thomas, Junior, Agricultural Economics; Alex Ward; Senior, Agricultural Economics; and Perez Pickney, Senior, Agricultural Economics.