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Levon T Esters

Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication 

  • Professor Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication
765.494.8439
765.496.1152
Lilly Room 3-226
915 W State Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2054

 General Information

Faculty Profile
Dr. Levon Esters is Director of the Mentoring@Purdue (M@P) program, which is designed to increase the representation of students from marginalized and minoritized backgrounds receiving advanced post-secondary STEM-based agricultural and life sciences degrees in Purdue’s College of Agriculture. 

Dr. Esters is a nationally recognized scholar on mentoring, equity, and diversity in the STEM-based agricultural and life sciences disciplines. Dr. Esters’ research focuses on issues of educational equity and access of marginalized and minoritized students with a concentration on the mentoring needs of Black graduate students; STEM career development of students attending Historically Black Land-grant Colleges and Universities; and educational and professional mobility and development of Black graduate students and faculty. 

Dr. Esters is among a few Black scholars in the United States conducting research in these areas, and has been able to serve as a role model for Black graduate students who are committed to broadening participation of marginalized and minoritized students in the Ag+STEM disciplines..

Mentoring Philosophy
Dr. Esters has established himself nationally and internationally as a leader-scholar of mentoring. As a graduate advisor, Dr. Esters’ approach to mentoring focuses on three key areas: 1) empowering individuals; 2) expecting excellence; and 3) cultivating professional dispositions. Dr. Esters strives to develop students’ aptitudes for success that enrich their academic and professional careers.

Education Degree
Ph.D, Agricultural and Extension Education, Pennsylvania State University, 2003
M.S., Agricultural Education, North Carolina A&T State University, 2000
B.S., Agricultural Business, Florida A&M University,1995

Research Interests 
Dr. Esters examines: educational equity and access of URM students with a concentration on the mentoring needs of Black graduate students; STEM career development of students attending Historically Black Land-grant Colleges and Universities; and educational and professional mobility and development of Black graduate students and faculty.

Courses Taught
ASEC 58200 (Introduction to Basic Applied Data Analysis)
ASEC 59000 (Critical Perspectives in Agriculture)
ASEC 63000 (Theories of Learning and Development)
ASEC 64400 (Graduate Seminar)
ASEC 68100 (Research Design for Social Scientists)

Selected Grant Projects
Project Director, (2018), Developing faculty leadership teams to implement inclusive and intentional mentoring programs at 1862 and 1890 land-grant institutions. Proposal funded by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture Higher Education Challenge Grants (HEC) Program. $748,684.

Project Director, (2018), Building Empowered Leader-Scholars through Intentional mEntoring for InclusiVe Excellence in Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources (B.E.L.I.E.V.E). Proposal funded by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture National Needs Graduate and Postgraduate Fellowship (NNF) Grants Program. $79,500.

Project Director, (2016), Enhancing minority middle school student knowledge, literacy, and motivation in STEM using contextualized agricultural life science learning experiences. Proposal funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) Grants Program. $1,147,381.

Project Director, (2016), Building a pipeline of women and underrepresented minority graduate students for stem careers in agricultural and life sciences at 1862 land-grant universities through partnerships with minority-serving institutions. Proposal funded by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture Secondary Education, Women and Minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Fields Program (WAMS) Grants Program. $92,538. (2016)

Project Director, (2012), Developing human capacity through mentoring of women and underrepresented minority graduate students for STEM careers in agricultural and life sciences. Proposal funded by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture Secondary Education, Women and Minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Fields Program (WAMS) Grants Program. $150,000. 


Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication, 915 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2061 USA, (765) 494-8423

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