Skip to Main Content

Mentoring program for minority graduate students receives national honor

Mentoring at Purdue (M@P), a mentoring program housed within Purdue University’s College of Agriculture, received The National Experiment Station Section’s inaugural Diversity and Inclusion Award. The Experiment Station Section is an arm of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, which is a research, policy and advocacy organization devoted to advancing the work of land-grant institutions. Levon Esters, a professor in the Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication Department (ASEC), and Neil Knobloch, an ASEC professor, founded the program to facilitate the successful growth of students academically, professionally and personally.  

Esters explains that the program was also established to increase diversity in the College of Agriculture.

“Within the STEM discipline there are not many students of color or women pursuing graduate degrees,” Esters said. “Students leave school for a few reasons. Often it’s that they don’t have enough financial support or they get inadequate mentoring.”

M@P is also a major recruiting tool for the College of Agriculture. As a student, graduate school can be difficult to navigate, so the concept of individual mentorship is often appealing.

“Mentoring may seem easy on first glance, but being inclusive and intentional in providing support and guidance is important to increasing diversity, equality and inclusion in graduate education,” Knobloch said.

On Oct. 3, Esters and Knobloch accepted the award in Lincoln, NE on behalf of every member of the M@P team. The award was presented by the Experiment Station Committee on Organization and Policy (ESCOP). A major role of ESCOP is to promote and recognize excellence in agricultural research and education. Esters said he hopes the recognition M@P received will prompt other institutions to consider similar programs. It’s imperative that universities give these students the building blocks to succeed.

“The M@P workshops and other activities are drawing not only students, but also faculty and staff members. M@P is making a real difference in our College’s conversations around diversity and inclusion,” said Karen Plaut, the Glenn W. Sample Dean of the College of Agriculture. “It is a model of an effective program and I am so glad it is getting the national recognition it deserves as well as the opportunity to help others develop similar programs.”

Zachary Brown, an ASEC graduate student, said the resources and support offered by M@P were a major reason he decided to pursue a degree at Purdue. The M@P program guided him through the application process and provided a support network when his studies began.

“It was great to establish connections ahead of time, before ever coming to campus,” Brown said. “It definitely facilitated my decision to come to Purdue.”

Featured Stories

Students gather at Purdue Summer Science Program on campus at Purdue
Donation takes Summer Science Program to the next level

If you’re on Purdue’s campus in the summer, you may notice a group of students...

Read More
Mary Strickland
Mary Strickland - Graduate Ag Research Spotlight

Mary Strickland is a lifelong animal lover — so much so that she admits to occasionally...

Read More
Julia Peterson in the mesas of Arizona.
Finding beauty in the mess—the perspective of a botany and art double major

A low, whirring hum fills your ears as you step into the building. As your eyes adjust to the...

Read More
Ismail Olaniyi flies a UAV up above the trees.
The crossroads between lemon trees and technology

In warmer southern and western states, citrus orchards are important for feeding and bringing...

Read More
Combined microbiome datasets yield accurate prediction of animal ages

An analysis combining the results of 14 studies from around the globe has uncovered some common...

Read More
A hand holding two eggs
Rehabilitation through agricultural skills with Purdue Farmer-to-Farmer Trinidad and Tobago

Gardening and poultry care are sometimes seen as trendy hobbies in the U.S., but in Trinidad and...

Read More
To Top