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Purdue MANRRS receives chapter of the year award at national conference, making history

For the first time since its founding in 1990, the Purdue University College of Agriculture’s Minorities in Agricultural, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) organization received the coveted Chapter of the Year Award. They accepted the award during the MANRRS 38th Annual Training Conference and Career Expo in Chicago, Illinois last month.  

The mission of MANRRS is to promote academic and professional advancement by empowering minorities in agriculture, natural resources and related sciences across the U.S. The national conference offer members the chance to network with industry leaders, attend small-group breakout sessions and engage in a career expo with companies like John Deere and Syngenta.

“I was emotional at the conference thinking about how far we’ve come since I joined. My fellow peers are passionate and great leaders,” says Amirah Haweit, undergraduate president of Purdue MANRRS. Haweit will graduate this May with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry.

Andrew Parker, chapter member and undergraduate vice president of the National Society of MANRRS, says, “On top of the professional experiences, the greatest thing about the conference is that it feels like a family reunion.”

Parker is a sophomore studying agricultural business and management with a double minor in farm management and crop science. “Connecting with students across the country who are involved in agriculture and the friendships you create as a result is amazing,” he adds. Parker will be inducted as the undergraduate president of the National Society of MANRRS later this spring.

Having established professional relationships with John Deere at previous national conferences, Haweit and Parker will join the company this summer as a marketing representative and customer and product support intern, respectively.

Morgan Murff, public relations coordinator of Purdue MANRRS and a junior studying plant science, says, “Being a part of MANRRS has been instrumental in my success as a Black woman entering the agricultural space. Experiences like the national conference have given me the tools to face adversity, become a good leader and speak up for myself.”

In addition to the Chapter of the Year Award, Purdue MANRRS received eight awards, including:

  • Election of the 2024-2025 undergraduate student president, National Society of MANRRS, Andrew Parker (departments of agricultural economics and agronomy)
  • Election of the 2024-2025 Region V Graduate Vice President, National Society of MANRRS, Favour Ojike (department of agricultural sciences education and communication)
  • Election of the 2024-2025 Region V Undergraduate Vice President, National Society of MANRRS, Aminata Diagana (department of animal sciences)
  • 2nd Place, graduate business pitch contest, William Walls and Jenisis Moreland (department of agricultural economics) and Ariana Lazo (interdisciplinary ecological sciences and engineering)
  • 3rd Place, graduate business pitch contest, Shivika Aggrawal (interdisciplinary ecological sciences and engineering)
  • 1st Place, graduate research discussion contest, Ayooluwa Ojo (department of animal sciences)

Pamala Morris, Purdue MANRRS chapter advisor and associate dean and director of the Office of Multicultural Programs (OMP), was recognized for her membership on the advisory board of the National Society of MANRRS. Zachary Brown, Purdue MANRRS chapter advisor and assistant director for student recruitment and retention for OMP, was also recognized for completing his term as the 2022-2024 secretary of the National Society of MANRRS.

Morris and Brown share in their students’ triumphs.

“This accomplishment has been a long time coming and a vision of mine since 2005, which was my first year of advising this great group of very talented students. Our executive board has set high goals and standards over the past few years and, with this recognition, it is obvious that we have arrived,” Morris says.

Brown says, “I’m proud. Our students have worked tremendously hard this year from fundraising to community development, and we have nearly doubled student membership to 83 in just one year.”

Brown aims to continue growing the chapter. “MANNRS is friendly and easy-to-access. All you have do is show up and we’ll do what we can to support you,” he says.

To support Purdue MANRRS, visit online for more information.

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