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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Maricopa, Arizona » U.S. Arid Land Agricultural Research Center » Water Management and Conservation Research » Research » Research Project #441954

Research Project: MASTERS (Mentoring Agriculture Students through Training, Experiential Learning, and Research Skills) for the Future Agricultural Workforce

Location: Water Management and Conservation Research

Project Number: 2020-13000-004-011-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Oct 1, 2021
End Date: Aug 31, 2023

Objective:
Provide experiential learning opportunities for students while building capacity for agricultural science learning at Texas Tech.

Approach:
Texas is an area rich in agricultural history and ideal for year-round cultivation of crops. However, this area has a lower than average percentage of people with a bachelor’s degree or higher. This disproportionately affects students of Hispanic origin, with only 11% in Texas attaining a bachelor’s degree or higher. Furthermore, this area has a high poverty rate (over 17%) compared to the national average. Many of the college students entering Texas Tech (TTU) originate from this region, and in serving these underrepresented communities, TTU has earned the distinction of Hispanic Learning Institution (HSI). Recruiting and retaining undeserved students from diverse backgrounds has proved challenging. Providing students with updated technologies and hands-on learning experiences has been proven to increase student graduation rates which will not only aid the student retention by the university, but also provide students with work experience to help them find jobs after graduation. Practical experience with technical and analytical equipment that rarely available in classroom settings at TTU, and training in the proper use and methods involved in analysis of samples is vital for job readiness. The USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Arid-Land Agricultural Research Center (ALARC) is equipped with a number of modern analytical instruments (e.g. ion chromatograph, GC/MS, and LC/MS) and research facilities that could provide learning opportunities for students in their educational and research endeavors. Briefly, students from TAMUK will participate in water quality related research at ALARC and will receive experiential learning and exposure to USDA ARS.