Alcorn partners with the National Women in Agriculture Association

On August 27, Alcorn State University President, Dr. Alfred Rankins Jr., signed a memorandum of agreement with the National Women in Agriculture Association (NWIAA), a nonprofit organization based in Oklahoma.

There were Jefferson County High School, USDA/NRCS agents, and Alcorn students, faculty and staff gathered in the Ray Johnson Assembly Center, Extension and Research Building. Alcorn President Alfred Rankins Jr. said addressing the audience, “Today is a historic day at Alcorn State University as we embark on a new endeavor that will expand opportunities to our young people who are seeking careers in agriculture. We are thankful for a new partner and look forward to a long-lasting relationship.”

Alfred L. Galtney, J.D., director of Research and Sponsored Programs at Alcorn, said, "This partnership will build, maintain and promote a variety of agriculture outreach programs for our youth."

The program also included Dr. Tammy Gray Steele, NWIAA executive director, and Destiny Carson, NWIAA executive assistant, explaining the purpose and sharing about the activities of the organization.

“We are planning to start a chapter at Alcorn in an effort to continue our agriculture outreach, to involve local students and help them to branch out into the communities,” said Dr. Steele. “This partnership will also serve as a recruiting tool for the University and a model for other HBCUs to save and educate lives with agriculture.”

In an effort to educate the high school students and raise their interest in pursuing a career in agriculture, Dr. Ivory W. Lyles, dean and director of land-grant programs, School of Agriculture, Research, Extension and Applied Sciences, shared valuable information about various career paths in agriculture and the educational opportunities available at Alcorn.

“Alcorn’s School of Agriculture, Research, Extension and Applied Sciences has what it takes to set you on a path to a successful career. Our quality programs in agriculture, biotechnology, advanced technology and human sciences will equip you with the necessary knowledge and experience,” said Lyles.

Dr. Donzell Lee, executive vice president and provost, discussed admission requirements and scholarships at the University, and explained the importance of taking ACT and SAT exams early to achieve high scores.

“Admission to college is not automatic. You have to do your best in high school to earn your way to college. And now is the time to look into careers that interest you. In order to know what it takes to get where you want to be,” said Lee.

State Conservationist Kurt Readus, Natural Resources Conservation Service – United States Department of Agriculture, said, “Why is agriculture so important? Because it produces food, fiber and the energy to sustain the entire world in its existence. And yet, agriculture is a career that is not getting enough graduates to fulfill the open positions, so you have a job security there.”

After the program, students had a chance to tour agricultural research sites and have lunch at the Ecology and Natural Resources Building.

For more information on the partnership, contact Alfred Galtney at [email protected] or (601) 877-3965, and Carolyn Banks, director of the Small Farm Outreach, Training and Technical Assistance Project, Alcorn Extension Program, at [email protected] or 601-877-6260.

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