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Grant provides scholarships for multicultural ag students

December 6, 2007

A grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture provides an opportunity for multicultural students to attend UW-River Falls to study agriculture.

The purpose of the grant is to encourage multicultural students to major in agriculture fields and become leaders in those fields, Don Taylor, project director for the multicultural scholars grant, said.

“We’re hoping that they will be good role models for others,” he said. “We really hope that they will be leaders.”

There is a big desire to have a multicultural dynamic in agriculture, he said.

The grant is able to provide up to five scholarships. Ted Cannady, a sophomore, is one recipient of the scholarship.

Cannady learned about the scholarship through a pre-college program the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES) offers to Milwaukee Vincent High School each summer, though the scholarship is not restricted to Vincent High School; the application is sent to other schools as well.

“I was encouraged by several professors such as Don Taylor, Bob Baker, and Dave Trechter,” Cannady said in an e-mail interview.

He switched his major from business administration to agricultural business because of the scholarship opportunity.

The program and the scholarship have been beneficial, and it urges multicultural students who might not have considered majoring in agriculture, and it provides an opportunity to explore and excel in agriculture, Cannady said.

The scholarship provides for activities and work experience, including internships.

“I hope that I will learn more about agriculture and build networks with valuable people,” Cannady said. “I hope to leave here with an adequate education and feeling prepared for the ‘real world.”

There are still some undecided areas of the program, Taylor said, including whether or not to attend a national meeting in the spring. There is a possibility of providing programs and activities, but they have not yet been decided.

Cannady would like to work with numbers for a food distribution company after graduating.

Opportunities still exist for the scholarship to be filled. It provides $4,500 per year, plus an additional $1,500 from a matching fund. There are currently only three multi-cultural agriculture scholarships filled.