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An Undergraduate Summer Research and Mentorship Experience for Underrepresented Students in the Agricultural Sciences

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Abstract:

Women, Native Americans, and other minority groups have historically been underrepresented in the agricultural sciences. The objectives of this program were to: 1) create and administer an undergraduate student research internship and mentorship program in the agricultural sciences; 2) increase the number of underrepresented students in agricultural science majors at Little Big Horn College, Sheridan College, and the University of Wyoming; and 3) conduct pre- and post-survey evaluations for undergraduate student participants. Undergraduate students in Wyoming and Montana were recruited and hired by an advisory group of faculty from each institution and local agricultural industry representatives. Students were assigned faculty mentors to supervise and assist interns with an agricultural science research project. Mixed methods analysis was used for student and program assessment via collection of quantitative and qualitative survey data. After completing the program, students reported an increased knowledge of agricultural science and research. In addition, the research and internship program was successful in exposing underrepresented students to the world of agricultural science and research and in recruiting them into agricultural science academic programs.


Keywords:

minority groups, agricultural sciences, mentorship, internship, research projects, underrepresented groups

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