Jun 6th, 2012 by dayoung
How are we doing? What are you doing?
These are the kinds of questions participants asked at a recent significant conference hosted by UTPA last week – significant because it brought together students and researchers from America’s Hispanic colleges and universities. Significant in that ninety one faculty members and seventy one students attended, all of whom participate in the National Institute for Food and Agriculture’s Education Grant Program for Hispanic Serving Institutions.
After a welcome by UTPA President Dr. Robert S. Nelsen, and Dr. John Trant, Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics, conference chair Dr. Michael Persans introduced presentations by researchers and pointed out the numerous poster sessions offered by students.
The dispersion of schools was wide, with students representing schools from as far east as Puerto Rico and as far west as California – a total of nine states or commonwealths. Some were community colleges and others were research intensive universities. All had programs funded by the U. S. Department of Agriculture.
Poster sessions concentrated on individual projects. Student Elysia Jennel from South Mountain Community College of Phoenix, Arizona, was happy to discuss her Advanced Undergrad Bioscience Education Track with onlookers from other schools.
Likewise, many of the faculty researchers shared their results with the conference. Dr. Mahadev Bhat of Florida International University in Miami explained a multi-institutional effort involving Miami-Dade Community College, FIU and St. Thomas University to bring more people into agricultural education.
Conferences like this are important because they bring together researchers and students with shared interests. With the
Rio Grande Valley’s strong ties to agriculture, the conference had even higher importance as it shed light on a area for further research by other schools.
The successful conference concluded with a visit to UTPA Coastal Studies Laboratory on Saturday, June 2nd.