Summer programs keep students and educators engaged and learning
While students in many countries go to school year-round, most U.S. students enjoy a summer holiday. Some students, however, attend summer science camps or internships that help them excel when they return to school.
NIFA funds many summer education programs like the Higher Education Multicultural Scholars Program (MSP) and Women and Minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Fields Grant Program (WAMS) that keep students engaged all summer long.
The Multicultural Scholars Program supports undergraduate scholarships to foster a more diverse food and agricultural workforce. North Carolina State University offered students an immersion opportunity in animal sciences at foreign agricultural institutions. This summer, three MSP scholars traveled to Adelaide, South Australia, to participate in university animal research and cultural experiences. The scholars started with a four-day University of Adelaide aboriginal tour experience designed to teach the history and culture of Australia’s first people. They learned about native Australian animals with a stay at Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park, and closed the trip with a 12-day stay at the University of Adelaide Animal Science campus in Roseworthy, South Australia. Back at university, these scholars will report on the Australian food and animal industry and how it compares to the structure and demands of the industry in the United States.
The University of Tennessee used a WAMS grant to host Cultivating aGIRLculture, a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) camp this July, for 55 high school girls from rural areas of eastern Tennessee. The camp introduced young women to the university’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources programs and helped recruit female students to STEM disciplines that will prepare them for careers in agricultural and natural resource management. The camp featured a wide range of STEM activities, including a workshop on agricultural water use and conservation issues, and a late-night firefly hike.
Heritage University is a nonprofit higher education institution on the Yakama Indian Reservation in Toppenish, Washington. Twice a year the university provides 65 at-risk students with the opportunity to attend Camp S.E.E.D. (Social Economic Environmental Development), a summer learning program. NIFA’s Hispanic-Serving Institution grant has helped expand the program so more youth can discover their potential by learning about agriculture in their community. The camp targets middle school students whose families are migrant workers or attend the Yakama Nation Tribal School (YNTS). At camp, youth get hands-on learning in business, conservation, and agriculture. In 2015, a project called “Birth of a Taco” helped NTS students learn how a favorite food traveled from field to fork through interviews with local wheat and tomato farmers. Other Camp S.E.E.D. learning opportunities include conservation classes at the Cowiche Canyon Conservancy in Yakima, Washington, and business and financial skills training.
Teachers often benefit from professional development over the summer as well. NIFA’s Division of Community and Education offers a new program for K-12 educators: Professional Development for Secondary School Teachers and Educational Professionals. This grant program can support summer training opportunities for high school educators, to help them return to school as inspired as their students.
For more NIFA impacts, visit nifa.usda.gov/impacts or the Land-Grant University Impacts website. Send us your NIFA-funded impacts at email@example.com or share them with USDA_NIFA on Twitter #NIFAimpacts.
NIFA invests in and advances agricultural research, education and extension and seeks to make transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges.