AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES EDUCATION AND COMMUNICATION

ASEC professor awarded Fulbright to conduct research project in rural Australia

By: Emma Ea Ambrose

May 27, 2020

Levon Esters, Agricultural Sciences Education and Communications (ASEC) professor, will spend the first half of 2021 traveling across Australia on a recently awarded Fulbright grant.

Esters will be stationed out of the University of Southern Queensland in Toowoomba, Queensland on the East coast of Australia. Working with the country’s Regional Universities Network (RUN), Esters plans to conduct a study in regional, rural, and remote (RRR) Australian communities looking at the intersection of agricultural career education and the role it plays in enhancing the postsecondary education and career prospects of youth and adults in the RRR areas. With his Queensland partners, Esters will develop a demographic profile of the RRR areas in regional Australia; assess the knowledge and attitudes regarding agriculture among youth and adults enrolled in the secondary, senior secondary, and tertiary grade levels of education; develop employability and labor opportunity profiles of the agricultural industry in regional Australia; and identify the barriers and opportunities for Ag Career Education in the RRR areas of Australia.

“I will be interviewing students and educators across different grade levels, parents, business owners, school administrators and university professionals,” Esters said. “I want to be fully immersed in these communities.”

Esters will be utilizing a mixed-methods approach in his project. He conducted similar research projects in New Zealand and Brazil and also conducted studies with students in Iowa to better understand the importance of educational opportunities related to agriculture in rural communities. Additionally, Esters believes his work as co-founder of the Mentoring@Purdue program, which encourages the development of quality mentoring relationships for underrepresented students at the graduate level, will be vital to his Fulbright research.

Esters also knows the research he will conduct in Australia will prove useful in his work in the United States.

“I can use the knowledge and experience I gain there to bring more attention to agricultural careers and education in Indiana and beyond,” Esters said. “

Levon Esters
Levon Esters

Esters’ planned research schedule will take him to RRR communities around Australia and ideally, he will spend several weeks in each. With the complications of COVID-19 and the aftershocks that come with any global pandemic, Esters said he is remaining flexible and open to changes, always good advice for working in a foreign country.

“When you work internationally you want to have an open mind. Not everyone works the same way we do in this country,” Esters added. “I’m going to remain nimble.”

Juntos 4-H brings together community and resources for new audiences served by Purdue Extension

In Indiana, Latinx and other multiracial and multicultural students are three times more likely to attend a school with a D or F grade than a white student. Over 35 percent of Hoosier Latinx students did not complete high school and the graduation rate for Latinx students is nine percent lower than that of their non-Latinx peers.

Read Full Story >>>

MESA director wins national award for farmworker advocacy

Kimber Nicoletti-Martinez, director of Multicultural Efforts to End Sexual Assault (MESA), recently received the 2021 Jefferson Award Presented by Multiplying Good.

Read Full Story >>>

Purdue expert warned of coffee rust threat, part of FFAR project to protect Hawaii’s coffee trees

With looming threats of coffee leaf rust to farmers’ yields, Purdue University mycologist Catherine Aime is working to protect this staple of daily lives and the economies of areas throughout the world.

Aime and colleagues warned of the potential threat to the coffee industry in June. She now is part of a team supported by the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) and led by the Synergistic Hawaii Agriculture Council to investigate the fungus that causes the disease and to develop tactics to counter it.

Read Full Story >>>