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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Agriculture recruits Hispanic students

 
 

For students enrolled in high schools in the Rio Grande Valley to gain insight into the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, a new outreach program that has been created to increase diversity within the college.
The program, called the Undergraduate Educational Initiative Program, targets students and their parents to inform them why minorities should enroll here.
“We want to destroy the stereotype that agriculture means migrant labor, and I am unaware of any other program that has such an extensive outreach program like ours,” said Edward Romero, assistant dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “We have over 25 degree plans here at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and we want people to know that there is more than just ag production.”
According to a state mandated report from the office of Gov. Rick Perry, by the year 2040, 67 percent of college students will be Hispanic and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences wanted to find a way to reach out to this particular group.
“In our Abriendo Puertos (Opening Doors) Program, we can connect with the parents and empower them to support their children’s college access and participation efforts,” Romero said.
Romero is the co-creator of the initiative program along with Hector Aldape, who is in charge of student recruitment and works in the Valley.
The new program is supported by other programs such as Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS), which is aimed at implementing initiatives and advancements of members of ethical and minority groups under represented in the field of agriculture.
Last year, the A&M chapter of MANRRS was named national chapter of the year.
“We are really proud of that award because MANRRS is a national organization and it brings us a lot of recognition,” said Cindy Garza, the chapter president.
Because of the recognition the college is receiving, last year the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences saw a 14 percent increase in minority enrollment, which is proof that the outreach is paying off,Garza said.
An important program new to the initiative program is the Master Volunteer Program, centered in Hidalgo County. The program equips parents with skills to prepare their children for higher education.
“This program has validated me that I am doing the right thing. I learned that I must continue to do more to help my child to succeed and get ready for college,” said Cristina Alaniz of Mission-La Hoya, who will be among the first of 50 parents to graduate from the Master Volunteer Program.

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