Paving the way: program helps minority students find their niche in agriculture
By Nneka Madus
Purdue University's College of Agriculture offers programs for high school students before they even come to campus. One program designed for minority students interested in studying agriculture is Junior MANRRS (Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences) organization.
Photo provided by Nicole Gale
Nicole Gale (left) and the MANRRS program help minority students make an easy transition into Purdue. Here, Gale is working with students on homework during a study table session.
In this program, Purdue undergraduate and graduate students along with agriculture professionals work together with high school students by offering networking opportunities and career development in agriculture and related areas.
Nissa Majors, a senior in the College of Agriculture, was a member of Junior MANRRS throughout high school, and she had many opportunities to experience career options in the agriculture industry. "When I was in high school, we visited several places such as the Chicago Board of Trade, prospective agriculture businesses, events at Purdue and regional and national MANRRS meetings around the world," Majors said.
The activities that Majors participated in helped her decide that she wanted to major as an agriculture student at Purdue. Majors said being exposed to the agriculture industry in high school gave her the chance to learn the advantages of agriculture and all of the possibilities it offers. Not only did Junior MANRRS help Majors decide what she wanted to study at Purdue, it also helped her land prestigious internships during the summers.
When Majors came to Purdue, she was able to continue her involvement with this program through the collegiate MANRRS organization. Nicole Gale, coordinator of multicultural programs in Purdue's College of Agriculture, is the advisor of MANRRS.
When high school students are admitted into Purdue, Gale helps them acclimate to the new environment. One way she does this is by holding study tables where students can do homework while enjoying food and getting to know one another. "We have a good time there," Gale said.
Other than Gale's help with acclimating to a new environment, students like Majors look to friends to help them out. "I keep up with people from other universities that were in my Junior MANNRS chapter and those who I met at the national and regional MANRRS meetings," Majors said.