A sophomore student-athlete at Alcorn State University took time this summer to enhance his skills in agricultural science.
Alvin Edney II, a general agriculture major and Braves football player from Brandon, Mississippi, is interning with The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Stoneville, Mississippi. While there, Edney has shadowed seasoned veterans who work in the USDA's Crop Genetics Research Unit. The lab consists of procedures such as analyzing soybeans to evaluate grain nutrition that includes protein, oil, fatty acids, sugars, and amino acids.
The internship has given Edney a glimpse into what can be his future career path. So far, he's enjoyed his time with the company.
"My experience has been incredible," said Edney. "I've had the privilege of meeting tons of inspiring people that help me to learn new things each day. For the past few months, I've been learning so many procedures that are followed by farmers and scientists to get products from crop fields to local grocery stores."
Spending the summer around professionals in agriculture has been enriching for Edney. He enjoys learning new skills that he can apply to his education and future career.
"We evaluate developed varieties of different traits to investigate their performance in yield and nutrition. The fieldwork focuses on field management. After learning to distinguish weeds from crops, my job is to remove them from our plots. Maintaining our fields also requires me to take soil and leaf samples for tests that will be conducted in the lab to evaluate the health of the crop."
One of Edney's most memorable highlights came when the company went to Promise Christian Academy to conduct science experiments for young students. Interacting with the children and seeing their interest in science inspires Edney to encourage students to pursue scientific careers in agriculture.
"It was a simple Coca-Cola and Mentos reaction, but you wouldn't have known that based off of the kids' excitement during our demonstration. It inspired me to see how excited they were when the Coke shot into the air. That moment made me realize that I could influence the students to be future technicians or scientists. I am forever thankful for this opportunity."
Edney credits this opportunity for growing his work ethic.
"Working and living in the Delta has taught me more about myself and my work ethic by being around people who don't stop until the job is done. Watching their consistent dedication had a positive impact on me. It has given me insight into the type of person I want to be."