PVAMU Reach Success at ARD
April 15 – Prairie View A&M University’s College of Agriculture and Human Sciences researchers, faculty members, and their students represented well at the 19th Biennial Association of 1890 Research Directors (ARD) Research Symposium held in Jacksonville, Florida. Faculty, staff and students from the 19, 1890 land-grant universities shared research in more than 800 oral and poster presentations that focused on food safety and security, nutrition, public health, small farm production and marketing, natural resource stewardship, the bioeconomy and job growth and economic health. The meeting’s theme was “Making Critical Contributions to Rural Prosperity and Solving Challenges in Food and Agriculture.”
There were nearly 1,000 registered attendees at this year’s symposium, the largest number to date, and more than 800 poster and oral presentation competitors. The 19th ARD symposium marked the 40th anniversary of ARD. During a breakfast session, a commemorative video highlighted 40 years of research, and the important work being done by the 1890 land-grant universities. In addition, U.S. Rep. Alma Adams, D-N.C. gave the first Evans-Allen Memorial Lecture. Adams, is Vice Chairwoman of the House Agriculture Committee, founder of the Congressional Bipartisan HBCU Caucus and Progressive Education Caucus, among others.
PVAMU students participated in various oral and poster competitions, which is one of the most important aspects of this symposium according to PVAMU’s Director of Research, Dr. Parks. “The students, that’s the part that excites me because that’s the next generation. We’re training up the next generation. I know some of our researchers they’ve been here and done that, but for our students, to see them get motivated, it shows our future is bright.”
PVAMU graduate student Opeyemi Opeseitan was excited to participate in the symposium, “I’ve been able to learn a lot from the experts in this field. It has helped me to do more and to see that I can achieve more, thanks to this experience so far.” She’s not alone, another student, senior chemistry major Tony Green experienced great success at this year’s symposium. His research covered developing a green biosynthesis method that could neutralize salmonella particles. Green placed first in the undergraduate category of Plant Health and Production and Plant Products. “I was kind of shocked and in disbelief. I had to wait until they said ‘Prairie View’ to make sure it was me. This was my first time winning a first-place award by myself. It was a great experience and I’m very excited.” Green added, “The opportunities that have come my way as far as talking to professors about grad school as well as seeing what other research is out there, since I want to get into research in the future.”
Dr. Laura Carson, Research Scientist for the Cooperative Agriculture Research Center, agreed with Green and noted that ARD can be vital to a student’s success. “They have the opportunity to speak to representatives from other schools, especially if they plan to go on to graduate school. She goes on to say, “Also, talking to the different agencies to see if there’s any employment opportunities and talking to the people that are just like them and are in the same place in life as them. Sharing experiences and see what everyone else is involved with and see if they’re doing research that the student may be involved in.”
On the heels of this year’s success, Dr. Parks said, he’s hoping that PVAMU student’s success will lead to an increase in the number of students who attend the symposium in the future. “When we take this back and share with other students, we can get more students motivated and interested in the research process. I’d like to establish some perimeters for next time to start a meeting event where we work toward getting more students here (ARD) next time.” In the meantime, the PVAMU delegation returned to campus with both hardware and memories to share.
The 1890 land-grant universities are institutions that were established under the Second Morrill Act of 1890. These historically black institutions share the land-grant mission of teaching, research and Cooperative Extension. The agricultural research at these institutions is designed to improve communities in the food and agricultural sector.
Symposium sponsors include the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Southern Regional Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education, AgFirst Farm Credit Bank, USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service and National Crop Insurance Services.
PVAMU Student Winners:
- Opeyemi Opeseitan – Second Place in Plant Health & Production and Plant Products Graduate category
- Robert Douglas – First Place in Food Safety, Nutrition, and Health Undergraduate category
- Tony Green – First Place in Plant Health & Production and Plant Products Undergraduate category
- Kedisti Teshome – Second Place in Plant Health & Production and Plant Products Undergraduate category
- Ferdidnand Nkot – Third Place in Plant Health & Production and Plant Products Undergraduate category
PVAMU Faculty Judges, Moderators, Presenters, and Attendees include:
- Alfred Parks – Interim Associate Director of Research
- Eric Risch – Research Scientist Leader (Natural Resources and Environmental Systems)
- Laura Carson – Research Scientist
- Richard Griffin – Research Scientist
- Peter Ampim – Research Scientist
- Paul Johnson – Research Scientist/ Interim Director of IIC
- Rahmat Attaie – Research Scientist
- Adela Mora-Gutierrez – Research Scientist
- Maryuri Núñez de González – Postdoctoral Researcher
- Aruna Weerasooryia – Research Scientist
- Ram Ray – Research Scientist
- Yoonsung Jung – Research Scientist
- Eric Obeng – Postdoctoral Researcher
- Almoutaz Elhassan – Postdoctoral Researcher
- Hamideh Habibi – Postdoctoral Researcher
- Ripendra Awal – Research Scientist
This work was supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Evans-Allen 1890 Research Formula Program projects under Section 1445.