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USDA announces $12 million investment to institutions serving Hispanic students

OCTOBER 28, 2021

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack and Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh announced a $12 million investment to Hispanic-serving Institutions of higher education.

This announcement was part of a launch of the first in a series of virtual roundtable engagement sessions with Minority-serving Institutions and Land-grant Universities serving underrepresented students.

“We recognize and value the multifaceted contributions of our nation’s Hispanic-serving Institutions, which educate more than 3.2 million students every year across the country. USDA has the great privilege of partnering with Hispanic-serving Institutions, and Minority-serving Institutions as a whole, to advance scientific research, develop future agricultural leaders and, we hope, cultivate the next generation of USDA employees,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

USDA leaders say they are committed to advancing investments in innovative research and partnerships with academic institutions critical to building an agricultural workforce and research infrastructure that meet the needs of the diverse populations they serve.

The announcement includes investments in institutions located in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Puerto Rico and Texas.

The $12 million investment to Hispanic-serving Institutions will help strengthen their ability to attract, retain and graduate underrepresented students pursuing careers in agriculture, natural resources and human sciences.

Project examples include:

  • California State University (Long Beach) will use its $975,314 grant to strengthen its “Leveraging Interdisciplinary Nutritional Knowledge (LINK)” Program that’s aimed at supporting undergraduate and graduate students in the food and human sciences professional and scientific workforce.
  • Others include Florida International University will use its $975,314 grant to enhance its “Broadening Agriculture Science Education program for Hispanic Students” through its Florida-Texas-New-Mexico Consortium, The Research Foundation of the City University of New York will use its $250,000 grant to invest in “Project SEMBRAR: Diversifying the next generation of urban agricultural STEM leaders.” Ana G. Mendez University (Puerto Rico) will use its $275,000 grant to develop and implement the Agriculture Diverse Learning Program to enhance the teaching skills and abilities of graduate-level teachers (grades 9-12) in agricultural-related sciences. Texas A&M (Kingsville) will use its $975,314 grant to support its “GO START NOW” (Getting Occupational Student Training in Agricultural Research Through Novel Workshops) project. Through this project, students are exposed to experiential-based learning and partnerships with USDA researchers.

The full list of funded Hispanic-serving Institutions Education Grants projects can be viewed on the NIFA website.