Associate Administrator and Acting Deputy Undersecretary Alston Speaks to Students, Careers in USDA

“Take academics serious; study hard,” advises Michael Alston, associate administrator, United States Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency, and acting deputy undersecretary, of USDA Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services.

Alston, spoke to students in the School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences on April 11, in the Assembly Room of the Jesse Morris, Sr/W.C. Boykin Agricultural Science Building. The event sought to expose students to the many careers in USDA, as well as encourage them to explore federal career options.

Visiting Alcorn for the third time, Alston gave students insight on his 32-year career as an African-American. He spoke on the importance of managing social media, and preparing for interviews and careers with the USDA, as well as encouraging them to apply for federal jobs.

From his presentation, students understood the importance of what happens today has an impact on the rest of their lives, in addition, to the challenges that lie ahead.

Alston, also, informed students that a positive behavior guarantees success in any career.

“Wake up every day, get up, get started, treat people fairly and justly, and never give in and never give up. As a minority, work hard to where that agency wants to hire you. Be willing to try something different and step out of your comfort zone.”

Following Alston’s presentation, students were given the opportunity to ask questions, many of which dealt with minority and female successes in USDA.

Joy Knox, senior, veterinary science major, expresses, “From this event, I learned that to succeed, I have to work hard and dress presentable. If I want a job, I have to be willing to work for it and step out of my comfort zone.”

Michael Coleman, senior, animal science major, adds, “Out of this meeting, I learned that hard work and dedication are the main steps of achieving in the USDA as a minority.”

Alcorn State University alumnus Roddric L. Bell, director of the Jackson, Mississippi regional office of USDA/RMA, opened the session by introducing Alston. Michael Trusclair, USDA/1890 Program Liaison, gave closing remarks and presented Bell and Alston with gifts of appreciation.

According to Trusclair, “the purpose of this event was for students to meet and get exposure to USDA Acting Deputy Undersecretary, Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, Michael Alston, so that he can offer encouragement to students at Alcorn State University, and how they should navigate in corporate America.”

For more information on this event, contact Michael Trusclair at 601-877-6820, or [email protected].