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K-State Today

January 7, 2019

Updates from the College of Agriculture diversity programs office

Submitted by College of Agriculture diversity programs office

After a very productive 2018, the diversity programs office in the College of Agriculture is ready more than ever to serve you in the new year. The office is always here to support you so please come visit and use our resources. The staff hopes all had a wonderful holiday break. 

Congratulations to those who graduated in fall 2018, including Ivy Gichohi, grain sciences and industry major, who served as an undergraduate assistant in the diversity programs office. 

In October, Zelia Wiley, assistant dean for diversity and director of the diversity programs office, received the 2018 Alfred N. Poindexter award. The award, given by Prairie View A&M University, recognizes recipients for professional service in the field of agriculture and human sciences. Poindexter was one of the first Black veterinarians in Texas and a distinguished alumnus of K-State's College of Veterinary Medicine.

The "Diversity: Growing Our Mindset — III" forum took place on Nov. 27. This event was sponsored by Hormel Foods. Adonis Wooten-Herron, Hormel Foods' corporate recruiter and K-State alumnus, lead the dialogue. Wooten-Herron shared his personal experiences as a minority in the workforce and how diversity plays a big role in the workplace. Overall, this was a huge success. It is also worthy to note that "Growing Our Mindset" was the recipient of the 2018 Student Organization Outstanding Collaborative Event of the Year award sponsored by the Center for Student Involvement. 

K-State MANRRS had its last general body meeting on Nov. 28. The executive board reviewed the fall semester and began planning events for the spring semester, especially the 2019 National MANRRS Career Fair and Training Conference, April 4-7, in Overland Park. For a successful conference and to show the K-State family spirit, volunteers will be needed. The office will share additional details for your support soon.

The diversity programs office represented K-State at the Professional Agricultural Workers Conference Dec. 2-4 situated at Tuskegee University. The theme was "Beyond the Veil: Changing the World through Agricultural Transformations and Sustainable Partnerships, Practices and Policies." Participants were able to attend workshops, sessions and contests. The diversity programs office was recognized, along with a few students:

  • The office's work was recognized as a success story. The presentation, "Changing Agricultural Demographics in Kansas: Innovative Diversity Programming for Student Success and Recruitment" by Wiley; Tiffany Carter, graduate student in agronomy; and Lonnie Hobbs Jr., graduate student in agriculture economics, was acknowledged.
  • In the professional posters category, the diversity program office's "Inclusion & Diversity: A K-State Research & Extension Training Assessment" by Hobbs and Wiley received recognition.
  • In the Gamma Sigma Delta Honor Society Symposium, Hobbs placed third in the graduate oral category with his "Pet Food Customer Perceptions vs. Company Marketing" presentation.
  • In the undergraduate oral category, Kaci Merriwether-Hawkins, a 2018 K-State KSRE fellow, placed third with her presentation on "How Enzyme Phytase Can Reduce Phosphorus Runoff Traveling from Poultry Farms and Improve Production Economics." R. Scott Beyer, associate professor of animal sciences and industry, served as her mentor during the 2018 KSRE multicultural fellows program.

Carter also received the 2019 American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and Soil Science Society of America Future Leaders in Science Award. Out of the 50 applicants, Carter was chosen for this highly competitive award. She will represent K-State and the diversity programs office in the 2019 Congressional Visits Day in Washington, D.C. on March 4-5. 

James Jackson from the USDA's Farm Service Agency will be the speaker for the College of Agriculture's 15th annual Diversity Student Leader reception. The event will take place at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 28, in 137 Waters Hall. This annual event is part of the universitywide Dr. Martin L. King Jr. celebration of the slain civil rights leader's work. The event is sponsored by the College of Agriculture, K-State MANRRS and Ardent Mills.

Again, 2018 was a good year of diversity service and the office looks forward to even greater success in 2019.

For more information on future events, please contact Wiley at zwiley@k-state.edu or the diversity programs office at 785-532-5793.