Students visit FVSU to explore agriculture through AgDiscovery

July 16, 2013– Leaving home and getting a chance to live on a college campus can be an enlightening experience, especially for a teenager. This summer, a select group of prep students from across the U.S. made Fort Valley State University their home away from home to learn about agriculture.
From June 17 to June 28, 16 students explored the world of agriculture by participating in theU.S. Department of Agriculture’sAgDiscovery Program. Its focus is to recruit high school students interested in agriculture.
Students from Idaho, Puerto Rico, Illinois, South Carolina and Georgia composed this year’s group of campers at FVSU. During their two-week stay, students toured campus facilities, conducted various experiments with plants, animals and livestock.
Students also traveled to the Agrirama in Tifton, Wild Adventures in Valdosta and the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta.
“My experience here was amazing,” said 15-year-old Emma Gough of Atlanta, Ga. “I [learned] about the main facets of both plant and animal science. There is more to those fields of science than I ever thought was possible,” she added.
Arthur Fleming, 16, of Locust Grove, Ga., said one of his favorite experiments entailed clipping a plant and watching it grow in a test tube. Fleming said he is eager to tell his friends about his AgDiscovery experience when he returns home. Since participating in the program, the rising high school junior is considering to study veterinary science when he attends college.
Dr. Nirmal Joshee, coordinator of the biotechnology graduate program and associate professor of plant science, supervised the program this year. He said this summer’s participants concentrated on agricultural biotechnology.
“We have many labs that are dedicated to biotechnology research,” said Joshee. “The idea is to invite all of these students through a national selection process to our university and make them aware of the kind of work we are doing.” According toJoshee, the department wanted to show campers how agriculture has regional, national and international relevance.
Students were selected based on the submission of a two-page essay and three personal letters of reference. In all, FVSU received 22 applications.
Joshee said the students were highly motivated, requested more hands-on training and liked FVSU’s focus on agricultural biotechnology.
Sponsored by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and hosted at 17 U.S. institutions, AgDiscovery was initiated in 2002. This is FVSU’s third year hosting the event.
For more information about AgDiscovery, contact Joshee at (478) 825-6807
Contact:FVSU Agricultural Communications Department
(478) 825-6345