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USDA awards $20M grant to Texas A&M University-Kingsville

TAMUK receives national grant from Department of Homeland Security
Posted at 10:26 PM, Jun 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-23 23:26:28-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A university in the Coastal Bend was awarded a grant from the the United States Department of Agriculture in an effort to guide Hispanic students into agricultural related fields.

According to a release, Texas A&M University-Kingsville was awarded a $20 million grant to establish a collaborative, 5-year program aimed towards helping Hispanic students learn the skills needed in an agricultural-related career.

The grant award is part of a $262.5 million dollar investment in higher education institutions from President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act.

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture will oversee 33 project partners, which includes1,890 Land-grant universities, 1,994 tribal colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, Alaska Native-serving and Native Hawaiian-serving institutions.

“This is an incredible and historic achievement for Texas A&M-Kingsville and the students who will benefit from the program this grant funds,” TAMUK PresidentRobert Vela said. “It reflects the tremendous outreach work led by our faculty, who are dedicated to ensuring their students’ success through enhancing scientific and technical skills and creating networks of opportunity for students.

The university named the grant theLeading Hispanics to Federal Agency Employment, or LEADING: Leading and Enhancing Agricultural Development in the Next Generation.

The grant will fund a program at TAMUK and its partnering institutions to create a pathway for students from high school to undergraduate and graduate programs in food, agricultural, natural resources, and human sciences (FANH) careers.

Students will be offered mentorship, professional, personal and language development opportunities and the chance to develop bilingual skills, the release states.

The grant will also allow each institution to take turns hosting a symposium and career fair with USDA agencies on their campuses to interact with students and the community.

“We are honored by the confidence and trust the USDA places in our faculty at TAMUK and partnering Hispanic Serving Institutions as they have demonstrated how to prepare, train and lead an increasing number of students towards employment in agriculture-related careers,” Shad Nelson, dean of the Dick and Mary Lewis Kleberg College of Agriculture and Natural Resources said. “This grant is a game changer for South Texas in advancing the Next Generation of students towards graduate degrees that will result in making future great and positive differences in the workforce of higher education and federal agencies.”

Natasha Mast, an associate professor of animal science and ruminant nutrition is the project director for the grant, and TAMUK will partner with fellow Hispanic-Serving Institutions such as Texas State, New Mexico State University and University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez.

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