Carol Sanders | School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences
Fifteen junior and senior high school students from five states spent two weeks on the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) campus as part of the AgDiscovery residential career exploration program.
Eight students from Arkansas participated in AgDiscovery including three from Pine Bluff – Jasmin Preston, sophomore, Watson Chapel; Paris Anderson, senior, Dollarway; and Brent Thomas, senior, Pine Bluff High School.
Daytime hours were spent interacting with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) professionals at their respective work places and with UAPB professors as the teens learned about careers with USDA and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the college courses necessary to qualify for those careers.
The teens learned about diseases in migratory birds and banded geese at the Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Pine Bluff and visited the Mike Huckabee Delta Rivers Nature Center, where learned archery and canoed. They also learned of regulations fish farmers must follow in farming fish at the Keo Fish Farm and dissected fish to learn about fish diseases and pathology at the UAPB Aquaculture Research Station.
They visited the Little Rock Air Force Base to learn about wildlife management at airports and visited Simons Brothers Dairy to see how milk is prepared for the market and the regulations farmers follow to ensure the safety of milk. The students received also received tips on using Phorid Flies as a biocontrol for fire any populations in Arkansas.
They toured the Clinton Presidential Library and Heifer Village headquarters in Little Rock. They left the comforts of their dorm to spend a night at the Heifer Education Ranch in Perryville, Arkansas, to get a taste of life in developing countries and gain a new appreciation for life in the United States.
“Usually, students take a few days to warm up to each other, but this year’s group came together immediately. I knew then that this was a perfect start to another great program with another great group of students, just as I had expected,” said Willie Columbus, program coordinator. “I was right!”
AgDiscovery began as an APHIS Veterinary Sciences pilot program in 2002 and has since expanded to 22 universities in the continental United States, Hawaii and the Virgin Islands. There is no charge for the two-week program, but participants are responsible for transportation to and from campus. For more information about AgDiscovery, visit www. aphis.usda.gov/agdiscovery.
UAPB has been one of the host universities since 2008 and was the first university west of the Mississippi to host AgDiscovery.