High School Students Create Fun Memories and Priceless Experience During UAPB’s AgDiscovery Program

Nineteen high school students from 10 states spent two weeks on the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff (UAPB) campus as part of AgDiscovery’s Enrichment Residential Career Exploration Program. Dr. Christopher C. Mathis Jr., program director, said attendees got first-hand insight into agricultural science career opportunities through hands-on labs, field trips, and group and reinforcement activities. of team.

“AgDiscovery at UAPB has been a success thanks to ‘boots in the field’, with Mr. Dameion White, who served as program coordinator, and the dynamic staff he has assembled this year,” said Dr. Mathis. “It was through the collaboration with Mr. White and Mrs. Karen Tate of the United States Department of Agriculture – Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Wildlife Services that each day the students spent time learning and interacting with APHIS professionals, college professors, and other career professionals who opened their labs and hosted field trips for participating students and staff.

Dr. Mathis said AgDiscovery is a special program that provides middle and high school students with invaluable experience and insight into careers in agriculture. Those who participated in the 2022 program can now say they have electrofished, extracted strawberry DNA and participated in mock animal and plant health investigations.

Field trips are always a highlight of the program, he said. Students archery and canoe the Arkansas River during a visit to the Delta Rivers Nature Center, learned the ins and outs of wildlife management at airports at Little Air Force Base Rock and visited a fish farm.

Dr. Mathis said five of the attendees at AgDiscovery 2022 shared takeaways from their experience.

Blake LaPean – junior from Garner, Kansas

LaPean said he discovered AgDiscovery when he was searching the Internet for agriculture-related summer programs.

He said, “I love farming, so AgDiscovery seemed like the perfect fit. I saw I had the opportunity to attend Kansas, but chose to come to Pine Bluff to learn and experience something new. and different. I wanted to get a sense of what people are doing in Arkansas, because that’s the heart of agriculture.

I learned so much about agriculture that I didn’t know – for example, I learned about the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Above all, I loved learning and participating in fun activities with my friends.

I want to become an agricultural education teacher because I love Future Farmers of America. I hope to become an advisor and teach others who want to learn more about farming.

Xandria Reyes – 2022 High School Graduate from Kauai, Hawaii

While planning her summer vacation, Reyes said she wanted to attend a camp outside of Hawaii.

She says, “My pastor was helping me research programs that might help me get a foothold in becoming a veterinarian. I saw there was a program in Arkansas and I have a cousin who lives there.

I loved everything about the experience. I came thinking it would be more veterinary services, but discovered the many other opportunities in agriculture. If my veterinary science related plans don’t work out, I have plenty of other fields to choose from.

Emberlyn “Lyn” Grimstead- first-year student from Fort Worth, TX

Grimstead said she signed up for AgDiscovery because of the range of exciting activities planned, such as field trips to Little Rock Air Force Base and the University of Washington’s ecotoxicology facility. State of Arkansas.

She says, “There were a lot of cool events, but I mostly liked doing activities with other people. I feel like this experience will help me choose a college. Now I’m interested in participating in the UAPB It seems like a very good school with lots of practical opportunities.

Paxton Herndon – senior from Brandon, Mississippi

Herndon said a family friend who works for the USDA suggested he enroll in the program.

He said, “I really think AgDiscovery has helped me broaden my view of farming. I learned that there is a lot more to farming than I originally thought. industry contacts.

One of my favorite parts of the program was the trip to Keo Fish Farm. I enjoyed handling fish, snakes and crayfish. It was interesting to see how they run the farm.

Jamiya Coffey – first-year student from Dermott, Arkansas

Coffey said she applied to the program because she wanted to learn how to grow plants and crops like her grandparents did.

She says, “We had an animal farm with chickens, geese and a baby calf. Thanks to AgDiscovery, I learned more about agriculture and animal husbandry. I feel like I can now grow my own plants and raise more animals.

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff offers all of its outreach and research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion , age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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