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2002 Equal Employment Opportunity and Civil Rights Awards Announced / February 12, 2003 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service

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2002 Equal Employment Opportunity and Civil Rights Awards Announced

By Sharon Durham
February 12, 2003

BELTSVILLE, Md., Feb. 12—Microbiologist Peter S. Holt of Athens, Ga., and research biologist Michael E. Hume of College Station, Texas, are the winners of the Agricultural Research Service’s 2002 Administrator’s Equal Employment Opportunity and Civil Rights Awards. The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is the chief scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Holt and Hume will be recognized along with other award-winning ARS employees at a ceremony Feb. 12 at the agency’s Henry A. Wallace Beltsville (Md.) Agricultural Research Center. Holt works at the ARS Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory at Athens, and Hume is at the agency’s Food and Feed Safety Research Unit at College Station.

“Drs. Holt and Hume epitomize the spirit and dedication required in promoting equal employment opportunity and civil rights in the workplace,” said Edward B. Knipling, acting ARS administrator. “They have shown a commitment to workforce diversity through their numerous activities that exceed the responsibilities of their positions or assignments in ARS.”

Holt is being recognized for his contributions to enhanced cultural diversity within ARS and heightened awareness of the contributions and special needs of individuals with disabilities. Holt has collaborated with scientists from Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Ala., for more than seven years to establish an institutional collaboration between the Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory and the Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine. The collaboration matches scientific expertise between two institutions to foster possible research cooperative studies, training of students and scientists, and maximizing resources.

Holt also hired a person diagnosed with clinically documented reading/expression disability to serve in a technician position. The disability limited the employee’s capacity to understand many written instructions and record research results. Holt made accommodations in the laboratory to compensate for the disability, enabling the employee to successfully perform the duties.

Hume has served since 1989 in an ongoing capacity as a member of the College Station research unit’s Location Reach-Out Committee and, as a direct result of his commitment to and accomplishments in that program, is currently serving as Committee Chair.

He has been a mentor to eight elementary, middle and high school science teachers through the First Step Program co-sponsored by ARS and the Texas Alliance for Science, Technology and Mathematics Education of Texas A&M University. Hume has also been successful in recruiting several African-American university students as student laboratory workers. He serves on the graduate research committees of three African American students at Prairie View A&M University, a historically black university in Prairie View, Texas.

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Last Modified: 2/11/2003
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