Tania D. Burgos-Hernández, a graduate student under the direction of Brian Slater, a professor in the School of Environment and Natural Resources at The Ohio State University has been selected to participate in CULTIVAR (Connecting Underrepresented Latinos To Integrate Values and Academic Resources), a project funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), which recognizes outstanding graduate students in the Food and Agricultural Sciences. CULTIVAR is intended to nurture and develop more than 50 outstanding young Hispanic scholars over the course of three years with an emphasis on preparing them for professional and/or academic careers in the food and agricultural sciences.
Burgos-Hernández attended the Career Preparation Institute (CPI) over four days in March which is held in conjunction with the annual American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE) meeting in Costa Mesa, California. The objective of the CPI is to showcase, promote, nurture, network and prepare the scholars for doctoral programs and/or workforce in the food and agricultural sciences. At the Institute, the scholars engaged in a variety of experiences from learning about developing and shaping policy to communicating science. They had the opportunity to interact with notable researchers in their field and network with federal agency representatives in the USDA or related agencies.
Reflecting on the opportunity, Burgos-Hernández noted, "The program was an excellent experience and opportunity to meet Latinos in MS or PhD programs in agriculture-related fields across the nation. The career institute helps us prepare for a career as a scientist or researcher. Mentors from different disciplines were with us the whole time and participated in all the activities, including developing the tools to explain our research with metaphors so those without backgrounds in our scientific area can understand our research and the impact of our research." She also noted a key message of the Institute is to pay forward. "Each one of us needs to spread the word and find Hispanic students in higher education so they too can also have the opportunity to benefit from this experience."
Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi, the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE) and the USDA-NIFA are the sponsors of the four-day Institute.
Photo caption: Tania Burgos-Hernández receiving her Career Preparation Institute certificate in March. Also shown are JoAnn Canales, PhD (Institute coordinator) and Jaime Chahin, PhD (dean and professor of the College of Applied Arts, Texas State University).