USDA/1890 National Scholars Program Scholarship Makes a Difference in the Lives of Sixteen UAPB Students – Deltaplex News
Sixteen University of Arkansas Pine Bluff (UAPB) students are graduating tuition-free through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)/1890 National Scholars Program, said Belinda Demmings, USDA Liaison for the UAPB.
“The USDA’s National Scholars Program of 1890 awards scholarships to students attending the nation’s 19 historically black land-grant universities,” she said. “The scholarship covers full annual student tuition, room and board, and books and fees.”
Demmings said 1,890 National Scholars benefit from internship experience at USDA agencies and are required to compete for USDA employment immediately upon graduation.
“Not only do scholars graduate debt-free, but they also leave with work experience and a foot in the door at USDA agencies,” she said. “The experience and professional connections they gain during internships often prepare them for a solid and promising career trajectory.”
Current UAPB USDA/1890 Fellows are Jaylon Robinson, Messhriya Harris, Justin Webb, Charlese Colen, Justice Walton, Jacqueline Price, Hezekiah Kirkwood, Jameka Harston, Courtney Miller Jr., Collin Branch, Jordan Robinson, James Quincy Robinson, Erikton Goodloe, Tyler Garlington, Joshua Holloway and Hallie Roby.
“I am very proud of our USDA/1890 Fellows – they all demonstrate extraordinary dedication to the field of agricultural science,” said Demmings. “I know their stories and successes can motivate other UAPB students, as well as students from other 1890 universities, to take advantage of this unique scholarship opportunity in the future.”
Meet some of UAPB’s USDA/1890 Fellows
Roby is a second year plant science student. Although she was born in Pine Bluff, she grew up and graduated from high school in Woodbury, Minnesota. She chose to major in plant science after participating in the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s AgDiscovery program, held annually at UAPB. During summer camp, soil and plant science piqued his interest the most.
She says, “I applied for the USDA/1890 National Scholarship Program because it offered me excellent opportunities to excel. I was confident that I would receive the scholarship after working two internships with the Resource Conservation Service Natural Resources (NRCS) of Georgia as a soil conservation specialist.
I was excited when I learned that I had been awarded the 2022 scholarship. Now I can continue to work with NRCS but in a different field – as a soil scientist within the soils division. My training experience with the NRCS was surveying/designing with the engineers on stacking shed works and entering conservation practice payments into the computer.
James “Quincy” Robinson
James “Quincy” Robinson is a computer science student from Marion, Arkansas. His love of computers started at an early age. In high school, he worked at a local tech store, and later enrolled in UAPB’s STEM Academy.
Robinson said he knew the USDA/1890 National Scholarship Program would help him get the degree and training that would help him be of service to people. Since joining the program, he has completed three internships with the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS). He was trained in web design and software development at the National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation in Fort Collins, Colorado. At the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, he gained experience running automation tests.
He said, “I was happy to start my next stage in life with the help of USDA and was extremely excited for my internship. I gained so much real-world experience working with them and I learned a lot about the agency and how it works.
My mentors were great in ensuring that I was familiar with the systems of not only ARS but also other USDA agencies and other federal departments. I hope to secure a career with the USDA ARS, helping them with systems and security updates.
Hezekiah Kirkwood is a sophomore in Nutrition and Food Science from Kansas City, Missouri. She will intern as a full-time assistant at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
Kirkwood said she chose to enroll in the Department of Humanities at UAPB because she wanted to help others in her community.
She says, “I decided to apply for the 1890 National Curriculum because, growing up, I had health problems. Now I can improve my health through proper education through this scholarship. It provides me with the financial and educational factors to succeed in my goal of not only helping myself, but also using my education to help my family and members of my community.
After being accepted as a scholarship holder, I feel relieved and accomplished as I only have to focus on completing my studies and getting a degree instead of worrying about money issues . I felt fulfilled because I had an opportunity that I was hoping for and praying for.
In addition to the full scholarship, I appreciate the opportunity to network with other 1890 researchers and other students in my field, and to receive mentorship from USDA staff, as well as my liaison with the USDA. I also appreciate the opportunity to change professional fields by contributing to diversity as a dietitian and naturopath or as an epidemiologist.
Erickton Goodloe is a recent agricultural business graduate from Rockford, Illinois. His parents first guided him towards an education and a career in agriculture.
He said, “I specifically chose to specialize in agricultural business to gain an understanding of the administrative side of the industry. Working on the business side of agriculture gave me the opportunity to gain hands-on experience helping farmers and ranchers manage their operations.
I was thrilled to learn that I was chosen for the USDA/1890 scholarship because it gives me the chance to do what I love without burdening my family financially.
Goodloe has been interning for the National Crop Insurance Services since his freshman year. He trained as an insurance specialist in Kansas City, Missouri.
The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff offers all of its outreach and research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion , age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer