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K-State Today

March 10, 2017

Agronomy graduate student accepted for thesis competition as USDA fellow

Submitted by Steve Watson

Johanie Rivera-Zayas

Johanie Rivera-Zayas, doctoral student in agronomy, was accepted as one of 13 students in the Caminos Thesis Competition in Food and Agricultural Sciences as a U.S. Department of Agriculture fellow. She will participate in the sixth annual Career Preparation Institute from the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education, USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and Texas State University.

Rivera-Zayas was selected for her master's thesis, having received her master's degree in agro-environmental sciences from the University of Puerto Rico. Her graduate thesis focused on the effects of fertilizer-nitrogen and cover crops on inbred maize yields.

The goal of the Caminos Project is to identify young Hispanic scholars primed to pursue a career in the food and agricultural sciences by creating a Master's Thesis Award Program in Agriculture, Natural Sciences and Technology, recruiting students for USDA internships/employment, and implementing a Career Preparation Institute designed to nurture individuals from the master's degree program to the doctoral program and/or workplace.

USDA graduate fellows were identified through an outstanding thesis award competition and by faculty in the food and agricultural sciences. Fellows participate in a leadership development program, network with peers and nationally recognized faculty researchers and USDA agency representatives and create a leadership plan focused on developing human capital relevant to meeting the USDA labor force needs. 

Through working on her doctorate at K-State, Rivera-Zayas aims to enhance her understanding of the agricultural system through various perspectives. Her interest in agriculture includes public policy in regards to the management of agricultural systems.