SC State's 1890 Research & Extension Program to host USDA's AgDiscovery

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Selected teens from South Carolina, and the neighboring states of Georgia and North Carolina, will spend their summer exploring agricultural-related careers as participants in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) AgDiscovery. The 1890 Research & Extension Program at SC State will host the program on campus, June 6-19.


New to SC State this year, the outreach program helps teenagers learn about careers in plant and animal science and wildlife management. Specific to SC State, AgDiscovery participants will gain knowledge of the business aspects of protecting plants and animals. AgDiscovery is sponsored through the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the USDA division that protects and promotes the health and value of American agriculture and natural resources.


“AgDiscovery is a great way to introduce careers in agriculture to those who are interested in pursuing the profession,” said Dr. Christopher C. Mathis Jr., the coordinator for AgDiscovery at SC State and research associate for 1890 Research. “It is a unique opportunity to expose students to the many career paths in the agricultural sciences, such as veterinary medicine, plant pathology and physiology, chemistry, agribusiness and marketing, public affairs, computer science and criminal justice,”  continued Mathis, who also serves as an adjunct faculty for the College of Education, Humanities and Social Sciences.


Students selected to participate in AgDiscovery will gain experience through hands-on labs, field trips and workshops, led by university professors, staff and agriculture employees. Scheduled field trips include a visit to Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens, South Carolina Aquarium, Port of Charleston, visits to local farms and more. The program also offers a boarding experience in which students will live on the SC State campus during the two-week camp.


Eligible ages for the AgDiscovery program admission are 14 through 17 years old. To apply to the program, interested students must complete and submit an application package postmarked no later than April 17 to: Beatrice Jacobs, USDA-APHIS Office of the Administrator, Civil Rights Enforcement and Compliance, 4700 River Road, Unit 92, Riverdale, Md. 20737-1234.


A complete application packet will include a two-page typed essay entitled “Why I Want to Attend the AgDiscovery Program at SC State University and What I Want to Learn,” three character references from persons who are not related to the prospective participant (at least one from a teacher or counselor) and a completed application form. To access the form and obtain additional details, visit www.aphis.usda.gov, then click on the AgDiscovery Program hotlink. There is no cost for the program; however, chosen participants will be responsible for transportation costs - to get from home to the campus for the start of the session and back again at the end of the session.


As an outreach program, AgDiscovery helps to ensure SC State remains committed to fulfilling its mission as a land-grant institution, one that improves the quality of life through research, teaching and service.


“We are delighted to have been selected as one of the land-grant institutions in the nation to provide this learning experience to youth. Through our efforts, SC State will be instrumental in nurturing the aspirations of teenagers who want to make a difference in the world as a professional in agriculture,” said Dr. G. Dale Wesson, vice president of the Division of Research, Economic Development and Public Service and executive director of 1890 Research & Extension.


For more information on AgDiscovery at SC State, contact the University’s coordinator, Dr. Christopher C. Mathis Jr. at cmathis@scsu.edu or (803) 536-8974.